Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I know what temperature setting to use with my humidifier?
- How much water should my humidifier use during a night?
- How often should I change the water in the tub? I never seem to use it all in one night's time.
- My humidifier sometimes runs out during the night and most other nights is 3/4 empty by the morning. What's going on here?
- Water in my hose(tubing)?
- How often do I need to clean the water tub on my humidifier?
- What are the overall benefits of humidification?
- I have a full face mask. Will I need more water during the night?
- Does heated humidification wear out my mask and hoses faster?
- Should I turn on my humidifier before I go to bed to make sure the water is warm first?
- Is humidification helpful for Upper Respiratory Resistance Syndrome (UARS)?
- If I run out of distilled water, is it OK to use tap water once in a while?
- How can I operate my device with a battery?
- Can I use my CPAP system in-flight on a commercial airline?
- Will the x-ray scanners at the airport security affect my CPAP device?
- Do I need to take my machine with me if I need hospitalization?
- When and how should I clean my mask?
- What is the best way to adjust my mask for a proper fit?
- How can I keep my mask on at night? I often find out that I've removed it in my sleep.
- Do I have the correct mask size? I have to strap it so tight (to make a seal) that it hurts.
- If the electricity goes off while I sleep, will I be able to breathe through my full face mask?
- My mask is leaking. What does this mean?
- Why and how often should I replace my mask cushion?
- Why and how often should I replace my headgear?>
- When is a full face mask preferable to a nasal mask?
- Are there other benefits from using a full face mask?
- My doctor says that my nose is blocked on one side from a deviated septum. Which type of mask is better?
- I normally use a nasal mask. Can I use a full face mask when I have a cold?
- Which is more comfortable? A nasal mask or full face mask?
- I have a moustache. Can I use a nasal mask?
- Can a full face mask be used with bilevel treatment?
- Can a full face mask be used with a heated humidifier?
Start the setting at "3" and adjust for comfort. If your symptoms are not resolved, you may need to turn it up to a higher setting. Continue in this manner until your symptoms are resolved. If you start to experience moisture in the mask tube, you need to turn it down, heat the room, or use a tubing Wrap.
The amount of water needed varies from one humidifier to the next, from one patient to the next, and with the temperature and humidity of the bedroom.
The water should be changed for each use - even if don't use it all in one night.
If you mean "why does it vary from one night to the next?" it may be that you are mouth breathing or have mouth leak. If you mouth breath, you let lots of air escape from your mouth. All the extra air that escapes uses up your water more quickly.
This condensation is called "rainout". If your room is cold, the warmed, humidified air hits the colder room temperature and cools. When air cools, the amount of humidity (water vapor) that it can hold is reduced, which causes the humidity to "rain out". The amount of water air can carry varies with temperature: warmer air can carry more water while cold air can carry less. As warm air becomes cooler (eg, overnight), it has less capacity to carry water, so water condenses and forms droplets.
There are several ways to deal with this situation.
- Try turning your humidity level down.
- Raise the temperature of your bedroom at night to lessen the difference between the room temperature and the humidifier - make sure that your bedroom window is closed.
- Run the air tubing beneath your blankets to keep it warm. Alternatively, you can cover the tube with a tubing wrap or a tube sock. The goal is to keep the tube and its air warm.
- It is recommended that you wash your water tub in warm water, using a mild detergent.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow them to dry away from direct sunlight.
- Inspect the water tub for wear and deterioration.
- Replace the water tub if any component has cracked, become cloudy or pitted.
- Clean white powder or deposits in the water tub by using a solution of one part household vinegar to ten parts water.
Up to 40% of PAP users experience nasal congestion and dryness of the nose and throat. These symptoms can be severe enough to prevent patients from continuing their treatment. The humidifier adds moisture and warmth to the air delivered by a CPAP or bilevel system. This reduces symptoms of dryness and congestion, improving patient comfort and compliance. Research also shows that nasal resistance can promote mouth breathing, which in turn leads to additional dryness. Heated humidification can prevent the large increase in nasal resistance that results in mouth breathing and leaks.
A full face mask should not change the amount of water used each night. If you had a mouth leak before, you could have been losing lots of air and humidity through your mouth, in which case you should use less water now.
No. The tubing supplied with CPAP machines can withstand far higher temperatures than the heat generated by the humidifier.
If you find the air dry and irritating, then you may want to turn your humidifier on 20 minutes prior to going to bed.
Humidification doesn't help with OSA or UARS, it does help with side effects caused by CPAP. If you are already on CPAP treatment and experiencing nasal dryness/symptoms, then humidification should help decrease the symptoms. The nasal symptoms are due to the increased flow of air through the nasal passages. Humidification adds moisture to the air breathed and helps the nasal passages cope with the increased flow of air.
Using distilled water will maximize the life of the water tub and reduce mineral deposits. However, it is ok to occasionally use tap water to clean your humidifier. Do not use: bleach, alcohol, chlorine or ammonia-based solutions; moisturizing, antibacterial or glycerine based soaps; and water softening and unapproved descaling agents.
Please contact us for more information on compatible batteries for your device.
When PAP treatment is needed in-flight, please contact the airline at least two weeks prior to traveling to allow airline reservations personnel to obtain approval from the airline's Medical Services department and check whether any special requirements or restrictions apply.
Follow these recommended preparations:
- Carry a letter from your doctor certifying your need for PAP treatment.
- Obtain approval from the airline's Medical Services for use on the flight.
- Carry a copy of the approval letter from the airline (if they provide one).
- Arrange seating close to a power source on the aircraft.
- Confirm the type of power cord or adapter required by the aircraft.
- Note: Humidifiers should not be used with PAP devices during travel, due to the increased possibility of spilling water into the tubing or into the machine.
No. The x-ray scanners will not harm your CPAP device. However, Security may require you to show the medical statement from your physician verifying that you are carrying medical equipment. Make sure this is handy.
Yes. If you are having surgery, it is very important that you tell both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist that you are being treated with CPAP. You should also inform the attending physician that you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
- Wash the mask system with warm, soapy water.
- Do not use soaps with added scents. We recommend plain Ivory® liquid soap or baby shampoo. Rinse well and allow to air dry out of direct sunlight.
- Separate and hand wash the mask components and headgear in warm, soapy water. Do not use soaps with added scents.
- Rinse the components well and allow them to air dry out of direct sunlight.
- Do not use solutions containing vinegar, bleach, chlorine, alcohol, aromatics, moisturizers, antibacterial agents or scented oils to clean any part of the system or air tubing. These solutions may cause damage and reduce the life of the product.
- Do not expose any part of the system or tubing to direct sunlight as it may deteriorate the product.
- If any visible deterioration of a component is apparent (cracking, tears, etc.) the component should be discarded and replaced.
- The headgear may be washed without being taken apart.
- The dye used in the headgear may run during the first wash.
Facial muscles change when we lie down and further relax once we are asleep, so it is always best to fit the mask while you are in your sleeping position. If you sleep in a bed with no pillows, fit your mask like that. If you sleep in a recliner, fit your mask that way.
This type of problem is likely occurring due to nasal congestion. If you have a history of sinus and allergy problems, you may be better treated with a full face mask and/or humidification. You should discuss this with your primary care physician.
It probably means you have an incorrectly fitted mask. When using a ResMed mask, it is important not to over-tighten the mask system. If you can only get a good seal by over-tightening the headgear, you probably have the wrong size cushion or an incorrectly adjusted forehead support. If you are using a ResMed mask that has a MicroFit dial, it is important to note that your clinician has set the dial at the optimal position and adjusting it significantly from that position may cause discomfort.
Yes, full face masks have a special anti-asphyxia valve that opens if your PAP device loses power. This feature allows you to breathe room air in the event of a power failure.
This may indicate one of several things:
- incorrect adjustment
- incorrect assembly
- incorrect size
- mask is worn out and needs replacement
You should replace your mask cushion periodically because as it becomes worn, it becomes less effective. The life of a mask cushion depends on use, the oils from your skin, and cleaning. It is always a good idea to inspect your mask routinely; poor care may adversely affect the fit of the cushion and thus performance.
To get the longest life from your mask, be sure to wash your face each night before putting on your mask, and wash your mask after each use. Use only mild soap, nothing with perfumes, moisturizers, antibacterial agents, bleaches, etc, Always dry your mask and cushion out of direct sunlight. Poor performance is often the first clue that your cushion may need replacement. Check for small tears or pinholes, anything that might cause a leak. Household pets have been known to damage cushions by playing with them and so have children, so you may want to keep your mask out of reach. Also, be sure you don't leave your mask somewhere that receives direct sunlight during the day.Back to question list
You will need to replace your headgear occasionally. Like mask cushions, the life of headgear depends on use, the oils from your skin, and care (cleaning, etc). Taking good care of your mask is the key to maintaining the best performance and mask fit. Wash your headgear at least once per week and dry it out of direct sunlight. If you have oily skin or hair, you may need to wash it more often. Headgear should last longer than a mask cushion, but it will depend on use and environment.
If you mouth breathe or have mouth leaks, then a full face mask will provide a number of benefits over a nasal mask. A full face mask will stop air loss that can compromise treatment, and it can resolve dry throat and nose problems. If you mouth breathe or have leaks, you will not be receiving your full treatment pressure and thus may not be getting the full benefits of your treatment.
Even if you don't mouth breathe, you may still experience mouth leaks. Mouth leaks can contribute to decreased treatment effectiveness and consequent symptoms of poor therapy.
With a deviated septum, you are likely breathing through your mouth due to your nasal passage being blocked. A full face mask will certainly work for you and would allow you the option of breathing through you nose and/or mouth. If your mouth is dry in the morning, you are probably breathing through your mouth.
Yes, however the thing to remember is that every mask has slightly different flow characteristics, so if you're using an Auto or BiLevel device, you'll need to change the mask setting on the user menu when you switch masks.
Everyone is different. Some people find that they prefer a full face mask while others prefer a nasal mask. It is really personal preference. However, both our nasal and full face masks utilize the same cushion technology that inflates to form a floating seal, maximizing patient comfort.
Depending on the flexibility of the cushion, most masks will seal on a moustache, more flexible = better. A shallow cushion in particular is ideal for patients with a moustache, as they may need to adjust the cushion in closer to the top lip. A shallow cushion allows the user to angle the cushion more and maintain the seal at the bridge of the nose.
Yes. Based on one recent study, one could argue that people using bilevel therapy are more likely to benefit from a full face mask because they are more prone to mouth leak and mouth breathing. In the study, data showed that nearly ALL patients on non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) experienced some degree of mouth leak and/or mouth breathing. Mouth leak reduces the quality of your sleep and causes sleep fragmentation.
Yes. Switching to a full face mask may eliminate or reduce your need for humidification.
- Headgear strap adjustment too loose or too tight
- A poorly fitting mask (either unsuited style or incorrect mask size)
- Worn out mask
- Dirty mask - Silicone can absorb contaminants such as oils, sweat, dirt and creams from your skin. Extended contact with these contaminants during the night may irritate the skin.
- Readjust your headgear straps. The mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal
- Consult your mask user guide or quick-fitting guide, alternatively consult your CPAP therapist for a mask fitting. A different style of mask may provide a better fit
- Inspect mask cushion and frame for wear, stiffness, cracks or breaks. Replace either the mask or parts that are worn out
- Wash mask daily according to user guide instructions, with a product that you would use to wash your face. Use mild soap and warm water (30°C/86°F)
- Wash face before bed (suggested - pH neutral) to remove excess facial oils
- Avoid using facial lotions and creams where your mask comes into contact with your face, as these products may interfere with mask seal and potentially degrade the quality of the cushion over time.
- Place some porous hypoallergenic skin tape (consult your local pharmacy) over sensitive or irritated areas to create a barrier between the skin and the mask
Constant air flow, especially at high treatment pressures, can lead to dryness, nasal irritation and nosebleeds. Humidifiers provide relief from nasal irritation and dryness by adding warmth and moisture to the air delivered by the CPAP or bilevel system. There are also nasal oil products available in most pharmacies to help treat and prevent dryness.