A CPAP humidifier can be the key to sleep therapy success, making your airflow more comfortable and eliminating symptoms like dry mouth and sore throat– but always having to keep distilled water around is a bit of a pain. Is bottled water just as good? What would happen if you used tap water anyway? Is your doctor just in the pocket of Big Water?
In truth, the answer to these questions can have a big impact on your health and on your wallet. Read on to learn about what kinds of water you can use in your CPAP machine, how the right kind of water can save you money, and even how to make your own distilled water!
IN THIS ARTICLE:
- What Kind Of Water Is Best For CPAP?
- Is Boiled Water the Same As Distilled Water?
- What Can I Use Instead Of Distilled Water In My CPAP Machine?
- Can I Use My CPAP Without Water?
- How Do I Make Distilled Water For My CPAP?
- Can I Clean My Humidifier Water Chamber With Tap Water?
- How Can Using Distilled Water Save Me Money?
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What Kind Of Water Is Best For CPAP?
According to doctors, CPAP manufacturers, and even insurance companies: Distilled water is the best choice for your CPAP machine. That’s because the distillation process guarantees that the water is free from microbes, chemical contaminants, and minerals that cause buildup.
For that exact same reason all of those experts also agree you should avoid using tap water in your CPAP water tank.
Think about how humidification works. There are lots of different types of CPAP humidifiers, but they all effectively do the same thing: They vaporize your water and send it into the air you breathe– along with anything that happens to be in the water. That includes any germs, bacteria, or trace chemicals and minerals.
This is especially true if you live in or travel to a location where the local water isn’t safe to drink. If you can’t drink it, you probably don’t want it in your lungs either.
But even if your tap water is safe to drink, it can be bad news for your CPAP equipment. Over time, contaminants in your water can lead to mineral deposits in your CPAP device. This can reduce the lifespan of your machine and the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy. And some manufacturers won’t cover this kind of damage under your warranty.
On the flipside, using distilled water can help to prolong the life of your CPAP supplies, saving you money and hassle.
Is Boiled Water The Same As Distilled Water?
No, boiled water is not the same as distilled water. Boiling your water may kill any microbes, but it won’t remove chemical or mineral contaminants.
Unlike boiled water, distilled water has actually been physically separated from these contaminants!
Distilled water may be the best choice, but it’s not your only choice. Any clean water that is purified of both microbes and minerals should be safe to use. So which types of water count as purified?
Can I Use Bottled Water In My CPAP?
Using bottled spring water or mineral water in your CPAP may be fine to do once or twice if you’re in a pinch, but it’s a bad habit to get into.
Many kinds of bottled water have a high mineral content which can lead to buildup over time, potentially damaging your motor, CPAP tubing, and water chamber.
What Can I Use Instead Of Distilled Water In My CPAP Machine?
Can I Use Filtered Water In My CPAP?
A home water filter, such as a Brita pitcher, typically uses carbon filters to remove impurities like chlorine or calcium, but it’s not the same as purified water. These kinds of filters are less effective at removing both bacteria and dissolved contaminants, which can still cause buildup in your CPAP device. CPAP users should avoid using most kinds of filtered tap water, with the exception of RO water.
Can I Use RO Water In My CPAP?
Water that has been filtered by reverse osmosis, or RO Water, is a safe alternative for your CPAP machine! The RO process physically separates the water from both microbes and mineral contaminants, leaving it 90 to 99% purified.
If you’re using water from your own RO filter, be sure to change your filters as often as recommended or the water may not be as pure as advertised.
Can I Use My CPAP Without Water?
You can absolutely use your CPAP without water, just be sure to turn your humidification settings off! Some CPAP machines that have built-in heated humidifiers, like the ResMed AirSense 10, may also require you to insert a cover where your humidifier water chamber would otherwise be.
Humidifiers are an optional comfort feature, and they can be a huge help in relieving symptoms like dryness, irritation, and sinus or nasal infections– but they may not be needed if the natural humidity level of your room is already ideal.
- 1 Large Cooking Pot
- 1 Large Pot Lid
- 1 Smaller Cooking Pot
- Clean Water
The basic concept is simple: When you heat water past its boiling point it turns into a vapor, physically separating it from impurities like minerals. The heating process also kills any nasties, like bacteria or viruses. When cooled, the vapor condenses back into liquid and– voila!– you have purified, distilled water.
How Do I Make Distilled Water For My CPAP?
Distilled water is readily available at most grocery stores, and usually only costs around a dollar for a whole gallon jug– but if you’re in a pinch, it’s also very easy to make your own!
Warning: Both the water and the equipment will become very hot. Handle with care and always use oven mitts. Allow the distilled water to cool to room temperature before using.
- Place the large cooking pot on the stove.
- Place the smaller pot inside the larger pot. Choose a pot that leaves plenty of space between the two pots for steam to rise.
- Place the large lid upside down on the large pot.
- Fill the large pot with your starting volume of water. (Leave the small pot empty.) Remember that you want to leave plenty of space between the pots for steam to rise.
- Set your stove between medium to medium-high heat. You’ll want the water to begin to steam, but not to reach a boil.
- When steam begins to rise, fill the inverted lid with ice cubes.
- Allow steam to condense and drip into the smaller pot. Be patient and resist the urge to “help” the water drip. Only water that condenses and drips into the smaller pot is distilled. Also, make sure not to let the water completely boil off or you can damage your cooking pots!
- You’ll end up with less distilled water than your starting volume, so plan accordingly.
- Be sure that there’s plenty of space between the pots for steam to rise.
- Be patient. Distillation takes time, and cranking the temperature higher won’t make much of a difference in speed, but it will make your equipment hotter!
- Replace the ice after it melts to keep the distillation process moving.
- Remember that only the water that collects in the small pot is distilled.
Can I Clean My Humidifier Water Chamber With Tap Water?
It is fine to clean your water chamber with tap water. Simply fill a water tub with warm, soapy water and toss it in along with your CPAP mask and tubing.
Just be sure to choose a mild detergent, like Dawn dish soap! You should never clean your water chamber with bleach, ammonia, alcohol, or antibacterial soaps. These could leave a chemical residue that can end up in your airflow.
How Can Using Distilled Water Save Me Money?
By preventing mineral deposits, using distilled water stops you from having to replace your water chamber before it’s time. Put that together with your CPAP mask and tubing, and you can really save some money. Some other tips to prolong the life of your humidifier (and protect your health) include:
- Empty the water chamber every day and give it a thorough rinse.
- Wash the water chamber at least once a week with warm, soapy water.
- Allow the water chamber to dry completely before using it again.
Of course, even with regular care and clean water you’ll eventually need to replace the water tank. That’s because regular use can lead to warps, cracks, and pitting where germs and bacteria can hide from a good scrub.
When that happens, the best way to save money is by signing up with Aeroflow Sleep! We help sleep apnea patients get their CPAP supplies covered up to 100% by their insurance. Plus, your own personal Sleep Specialist can notify you when you qualify for new supplies. All you have to do is fill out a simple qualify form to get started.