How Humidifiers Make CPAP More Comfortable
  • 14 Jun 2022
  • 4 Minutes to read
  • Contributors
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How Humidifiers Make CPAP More Comfortable

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When you are new to CPAP

After you’re first diagnosed with sleep apnea and begin to use a CPAP machine, it may take a little while to adjust to the device. 

Depending on whether you’re a mouth or nose breather and what type of CPAP device you’re using, you may experience such symptoms as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Dry and cracked lips
  • Dry or irritated nasal passages
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • At times, even bleeding nostrils. 

Don’t despair. These symptoms can be greatly alleviated or even eliminated completely by using a CPAP humidifier.

How do humidifiers make CPAP more comfortable?

A common question is whether a CPAP humidifier is necessary. Let us explain. 

CPAP, or “continuous positive airway pressure,” sends pressurized air through a tube and into a mask, keeping your throat open so that you breathe through the night steadily and comfortably. 

However, the pressurized air from a CPAP machine is cold and dry, which can be uncomfortable for many people. You might also be someone who breathes through their mouth when you sleep, which adds to the problem of dry mouth. 

Using a CPAP machine with a built-in or attached humidifier can greatly help, especially if it’s a heated humidifier.

In a CPAP humidifier, a water chamber adds heat and moisture to the air coming from your CPAP machine, so that the air you breathe from your mask is warm, moist and comfortable. 

Dry air can worsen nasal congestion, so using a humidifier can also make it easier to breathe at night with the CPAP device, especially for someone who has a cold or suffers from seasonal allergies. This is especially true if they use a nasal mask or nasal pillow mask. 

These are the great benefits of CPAP humidifiers.

Types of CPAP Humidifiers

At Respshop, you’ll find a wide selection of high-quality CPAP humidifiers with advanced features from the world’s leading manufacturers of CPAP equipment for sleep apnea. 

This includes models with greater capacity water chambers, protection from rainout (a problem that can occur due to condensation) and adjustable settings. We have premium heated humidifiers from top companies like DeVilbiss, ResMed, Apex, Transcend and Philips Respironics.

If you want to learn more about how humidifiers work and whether one can improve your CPAP therapy, read this article here.

CPAP Humidifier FAQ

Q: How to make distilled water for CPAP?

A: It is best to buy distilled water from a pharmacy/department/drug store to ensure it is well distilled. If you have a professional distiller installed at home, this would be efficient, as well.

Q: Is there travel size distilled water for CPAP?

A: When traveling, especially on a plane, you are only allowed to bring 100ml/3.4oz of distilled water. For this reason, most people try to purchase distilled water at their destination. For medical reasons, more water can be taken if you take your prescription for Airport security or if you check your bag.

Q: How much water does a CPAP machine use?

A: It depends on how much the reservoir for the specific device you are using requires. There is a max water line which you should follow, never overfilling.

Q: What are the pros and cons of using a CPAP humidifier?

A: Humidification is recommended to protect the airways from drying and discomfort due to air pressure.  Keeping distilled water on hand and cleaning the water chamber are small disadvantages of comfortable therapy.

Q: What are the types of CPAP humidifiers?

A: All CPAPs have heated humidifiers except travel CPAPs.

Q: What humidity should CPAP be set at?

A: Always start at the default of mid range. If you experience dryness, turn it up. If you experience too much moisture, turn it down.

Q: Can you have too much humidity in a CPAP?

A: Yes, and this will cause moisture build-up in the tube and mask cushion. Moisture fosters bacteria, so it is important to adjust humidification. Using a heated tube will help, too.

Q: I get dry mouth with a CPAP humidifier. What do I do?

A: Try turning up the humidifier settings and using a heated tube.

Q: What is a CPAP external humidifier?

A: It is a humidifier you can buy separately to connect to your current CPAP set up that doesn't have a humidifier. This is only available for the Airmini in our store.

Q: What are optimal CPAP humidifier settings?

A: Each CPAP has a different range of settings.

Q: Can I add anything to my CPAP humidifier?

A: Only distilled water needs to be used in the water chamber. Refill or top up every day.

Q: Can anything be added to CPAP water, such as Vicks, menthol, or hydrogen peroxide?

A: No, as it will affect your warranty.

Q: Is there a CPAP additive for congestion?

A: Most devices come with a humidifier option, which may help with congestion.

Q: What is the best CPAP machine with a humidifier?

A: ResMed AirSense 11.

Q: What are optimal CPAP humidifier settings in the winter?

A: Colder temperatures and indoor heating result in dryer air, so you will want to turn it up. Start mid range and go up.

Q: How do I use my CPAP machine without the humidifier?

A: Turn off the humidifier.

Q: Do you need to change CPAP water every day?

A: Yes.

Q: How do you turn off the humidifier on my machine?

A: Find the settings for humidification on the main page and choose OFF. You can also change the setting by entering the clinical menu and turning the humidity setting to 0. 

Q: Which of the machines can or cannot be used without the humidifier attached?

A: ResPlus. In most machines, the humidifier is built in.

Q: How do I change the humidifier on my CPAP machine?

A: Most devices come with an integrated or removable humidifier. If removable, then you do have the option to replace it if no longer repairable.

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