CPAP Humidifier

    CPAP Humidifiers

    The movement of CPAP air through the air passages can dry out the airway. Humidifiers add moisture to the airstream to help reduce irritation to the nasal passages. Not only are dry air passages uncomfortable, but the swelling can actually narrow the airway affecting therapy pressure requirements. Humidification is the comfort feature most commonly added to CPAP therapy. There are two kinds of humidifiers: cool passover and heated. A cool passover humidifier passes room temperature air over a chamber of room temperature water. A heated humidifier heats water to warm it and as the airstream passes over the heated water, it picks up the moisture and warms the air. The heated air is able to hold enough moisture to maintain a comfortable airway.

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    CPAP Humidification FAQs

     What is a heated humidifier?
    A heated humidifier uses heat to warm the water to add moisture to the airstream. The heat is adjustable for more or less moisture. A heated humidifier water chamber is much smaller than a passover humidifier water chamber.

    In our experience, it is common for CPAP users to report that their therapy is greatly enhanced by the use of a heated humidifier.

    There are three types of heated humidifiers:

     What is a passover humidifier?
    A passover humidifier uses a chamber of room temperature water with the CPAP to add moisture to the airflow and reduce irritation to the nasal passages.

    Air flows from the CPAP through a short hose to the humidifier chamber where the air "passes over" the water to pick up whatever moisture it can. The air then flows into the six foot hose to the mask.

    Passover humidifiers may provide sufficient moisture with CPAPs set at lower-end pressures. However, if the moisture is not sufficient there is no way to increase the amount of moisture added. The water is room temperature. In cold climates, the water temperature will drop causing the CPAP air to become very cold, and causing the amount of moisture to be reduced.
     What is an integrated humidifier?
    An integrated humidifier is used with a specific CPAP and fits directly onto the machine. For most heated humidifiers, this design eliminates the need for a second hose as well as a second power cord.

    An advantage of an integrated humidifier is that it works very closely with the CPAP machine to deliver humidification. Also, an integrated humidifier is a compact unit that uses fewer parts to provide moisture to the user.

    A disadvantage of the integrated humidifier is the user will receive less moisture when it is used with a passover humidifier. The smaller surface area effects the amount of moisture produced. Also, a integrated humidifier will only function with the CPAP for which it was designed.

    You can see if your machine has an integrated humidifier option by reviewing our Compare Charts.

    An example of an integrated humidifier is the PR System One Heated Humidifier as seen below attached to a machine in the PR System One line. PR System One Heated Humidifier

    Here are some of the integrated humidifiers we carry:

    DreamStation Heated Humidifier
    Transcend Heated Humidifier
    IntelliPAP 2 Heated Humidifier with Pulse Dose Humidification
    PR System One 60 Series Heated Tube Humidifier with Heated Tube
     What is a built in humidifier?
    A "built in" humidifier is designed as a part of the CPAP machine and cannot be removed or separated from the CPAP machine. As with an integrated humidifier, the design eliminates the need for a second hose or power cord. The water chamber can be removed for cleaning or replacement purposes.

    The advantage of a "built-in" humidifier is its compact shape, which operates on fewer parts. This integrated design helps to ensure optimum moisturized comfort and effectiveness when CPAP therapy and humidification are used together. Also, it allows an option for the humidification to be turned off while the CPAP is blowing.

    A disadvantage is that a built in humidifier may produce less moisture if used as passover because the surface area is typically smaller. Also, since the humidifier is "built in" to the machine, detaching it is not an option. This can be an issue for frequent travelers. Lastly, if the machine or humidifier stops working, the entire unit must be sent in for repair or replacement, not just the component that failed.

    An example of a machine with a built in humidifier is the ICON Auto CPAP Machine with Built In Heated Humidifier and SensAwake as seen below. ICON Auto CPAP Machine with Built In Heated Humidifier and SensAwake
    Here are some other machines we carry with built-in humidifiers:

    AirSense™ 10 CPAP Machine with HumidAir™ Heated Humidifier
    AirSense™ 10 AutoSet CPAP Machine with HumidAir™ Heated Humidifier
    iCH Auto CPAP Machine with PVA and Built-In Heated Humidifier
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     What is a stand alone humidifier?
    A stand alone humidifier is a component that will work with any CPAP and does not attach directly to the machine. It has its own power cord and a short hose to connect it to the CPAP. Generally it will sit next to the CPAP machine and is slightly larger than an integrated humidifier.

    The advantage of a stand alone humidifier is the fact that it may be used with any CPAP machine.

    The main disadvantages are that the size is often larger than either a "built in" or integrated humidifier and that a short hose is needed to connect it to the CPAP machine.

    An example of a stand alone humidifier is the Fisher & Paykel HC150 Heated Humidifier as seen below. HC150 Heated Humidifier
     Why do I need to use distilled water with in my humidifier chamber?
    Use distilled water to help keep the humidifier chamber clean and mineral deposit free. Tap water should not be used as it will leave hard white mineral deposits in the chamber as the water evaporates, or it may lead to mold growth. Cases of lung disease have been connected to using contaminated well water in a CPAP humidifier.* Source

    If distilled water is not available where you live, use bottled water. It will be important to clean the chamber each morning, do not leave standing water in the chamber between uses.
     Do machines come with Rainout Reduction features?
    Yes. Manufacturers have been working on developing ways to reduce rainout to better deliver humidification.

    The Hybernite Rainout Control System can be used with any CPAP machine to reduce or eliminate rainout.

    Air is delivered at the temperature requested while sensors monitor multiple conditions to provide optimal humidification to avoid condensation by tracking room temperature and adjusting the heat throughout the system. Some manufacturers also offer machine specific heated tubing options to further combat rainout.

    Here are some machines with rainout reduction features:

    AirSense™ 10 AutoSet CPAP Machine with HumidAir™ Heated Humidifier
    ICON Auto CPAP Machine with Built-In Heated Humidifier and ThermoSmart Heated Hose
    DreamStation Auto CPAP Machine
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     What is a heated CPAP hose?

    A heated CPAP hose contains copper coils embedded in, or wrapped around, the hose. These coils are gently heated to conduct a constant temperature throughout the length of the hose. This enhances the comfort of the therapy and reduces or eliminates rainout caused by the water condensing as it travels through the hose to the mask.


    Heated hoses are more expensive alternatives to cloth tubing insulation, but they prevent rainout in nearly all cases. The Hybernite Rainout Control System is a stand alone option that can be used with any machine to prevent rainout and increase delivered humidification.

    Hybernite Rainout Control System


    Some manufacturers have developed heated hoses to work specifically with select machines in their product lines. The ClimateLineAir™ Heated Tube for AirSense™ 10 and AirCurve™ 10 Machines is an example of a heated hose used by the AirSense™ 10 and AirCurve™ 10 Machines.

    AirSense Tubing


    Here are some heated hoses we carry:


    ComfortLine Heated Tubing Kit

    ClimateLine™ Tubing for S9™ and H5i™ Climate Control System

    PR System One Heated Tube for 60 Series Machines

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     What is a hose cover?
    A hose cover is placed over the hose in order to insulate the hose and to make the hose more comfortable. The simplest and most cost effective way to insulate a CPAP hose is to wrap it in an insulating fabric. This enables the hose to remain flexible and adds little weight.

    Companies such as Snugglehose provide a cost effective tubing insulation available in several colors and styles. Not only will the covers reduce or eliminate rainout, they also provide a more personal and less institutionalized appearance. An example of a Snugglehose is shown below.

    Snugglehose

    Here are some hose covers we carry:

    Tubing Wrap for AirSense™ 10, AirCurve™ 10, and S9 Series SlimLine™ Tubing
    Respironics Insulated Hose Cover
    ResMed Zippered Tubing Wrap
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     Why is there water in the six foot CPAP hose?
    Water collects in the six foot hose when the ambient room air is much colder than the heated CPAP air, or when there is too much moisture being produced by the humidifier.

    First, be sure that no vents or fans blow directly onto the CPAP hose.

    Next, try turning down the temperature on the heated humidifier. If that alleviates the problem but causes irritation to the nasal passages, return the humidifier to the previous setting and add an Insulating Cover to the hose.

    If neither response works, try using a heated CPAP hose.

    Here are some items we recommend that may help with water in the CPAP hose:

    SnuggleHose
    Zippered Tubing Wrap
    Insulated Hose Cover
    Heated Tubing

    Did You Know?, CPAP Humidification

    • Distilled water is recommended for use in your humidifier as it has less minerals and may be more sanitary.
    • Humidifiers add moisture to the air you breathe so your airways don't get dried out from the pressurized air.
    • The amount of humidification to your air will depend on your humidifier heat settings.
    • CPAP users who use humidification are more likely to stick with their therapy.

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