Common Questions About CPAP Hoses (Tubing)
2.) How Long is CPAP Tubing?
3.) Are CPAP Hoses Universal?
4.) How Do I Clean a CPAP Tube?
5.) How Do I Dry the Inside of a CPAP Hose?
What is a CPAP Hose?
A CPAP hose is a cylindrical hollow plastic tube that connects the CPAP machine to the CPAP mask. Air is compressed in the CPAP machine and then delivered through the hose to the mask. There are two main types of hoses: standard and heated hoses. A standard hose is roughly 6 feet long, plastic, and not heated. A heated hose, on the other hand, is 6 ft long and has heating coils woven into the length of the hose, and is heated by electricity during the night. Why would you need a heated hose? Heated hoses are designed to counteract a specific problem when it comes to CPAP therapy called "rainout".
With standard hoses, condensation can form inside the hose as the humidified air from a heated humidifier travels down the hose to the mask. The formation of condensation inside the hose is known as "rainout" in the CPAP industry and happens because the air cools as it travels through the hose. Colder air can hold less moisture, so the water changes from a gas to a liquid producing the condensation. A heated hose prevents rainout by maintaining the air temperature as the air travels from the machine to the mask. As the air stays warm, condensation is unable to form.
Many CPAP users are turning to a product known as a hose cover, which works to prevent rainout by wrapping a blanket-like material around the outside of the hose, maintaining the temperature naturally. Hose covers are a good alternative to a heated hose, and many people use them as part of their therapy.
How Long is CPAP Tubing?
The standard length for CPAP tubing (CPAP hoses) is 6 feet. Longer and shorter hoses are available, but in order to use them, they would need to be compatible with your machine. If your machine isn't compatible with a desired longer or shorter hose, it may make sense to shop for a different power cord. With some machines, power cords are available in 6 feet and 10 feet lengths.
Are CPAP Hoses Universal?
Most hoses are 19mm in diameter with 22mm ends. Certain manufacturers are coming out with newer machines that feature so-called "slim" tubes that are 15mm (instead of 19mm) in diameter with 22mm ends. Slim tubes are compatible with any CPAP mask. The only exception to this rule is the AirMini, which is only compatible with a few select Resmed masks.
How Do I Clean a CPAP Tube?
Cleaning a CPAP tube is often difficult because of the length and requires using a tube brush to scrub the inside of the tube. It's important also to run vinegar or mild soap and water through the hose, rinse it, and then hang on a towel rack to drip dry.
How Do I Dry the Inside of a CPAP Hose?
There's no real quick way to dry the inside of a CPAP hose. The hose is so long and so narrow that it's impossible to run a towel through the inside of the CPAP hose. It's not a good idea to try with a paper towel and an object like a coat hanger, as the paper towel could tear and get stuck in the tube. Over time it could grow mold from the humidity from the inside of the tube and cause a real problem.
It's safest to just drape the hose over the top of a towel rack and allow the hose to naturally drip dry. Over the course of a few hours, the water or vinegar will completely drain out and the CPAP hose will be ready to use again. It's important to make sure the hose is completely dry before you use the hose again. CPAP air is often humidified, and if the hose is damp; it's a perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold can spread quickly and if your equipment gets moldy it can be impossible to remove.