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CPAP Water: Tap Water vs. Distilled Water [Which One To Choose?]

Jun 11, 2021
· 5 mins read

A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is the most trusted nighttime companion for people suffering from sleep apnea. The machine acts as a savior for patients as it allows them to breathe easily and have a good night's sleep.

Moreover, a CPAP machine improves the quality of a patient's sleep and helps manage the other side effects of sleep apnea. Using a CPAP machine ensures the blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and cholesterol of the patient don't rise to a dangerously high level due to lack of sleep every night. This also minimizes the risk of experiencing cardiovascular health problems.

If you have been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, you must be overwhelmed with the idea of managing your everyday life with a CPAP machine. Well, don't worry! It's totally natural to feel this way. While using a CPAP machine daily can appear daunting at first, it can be easily managed with the right knowledge and a little bit of attention. 

In this article, we will discuss the one thing that most people find confusing– CPAP water. "What kind of water is best for your CPAP device?" Many users struggle with this question. So today, we are going to find out what CPAP water is and which one is the best for your machine. Let's get started!

Understanding How Your Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine Works

Before we talk about CPAP water, it's necessary to understand how a CPAP machine works. A CPAP machine works by pumping air through your airways with the help of a mask. This allows you to breathe comfortably and without any interruptions while you sleep.

The machine also filters the air before it goes into your lungs. The air circulates through the CPAP machine, where it gets humidified and filtered, and only then it enters your lungs.

If you are using a CPAP device for your sleep apnea, it is most likely that you have a heated humidifier integrated into it. Though an optional fixture, a heated humidifier makes the CPAP machine more comfortable to use. Many patients who face irritation or dry mouth while using the machine, often find it more tolerable when a humidifier is attached to it.

The heated humidifier is used to maintain the moisture level in the air transmitted to your lungs via the mask. This moisture or humidity prevents you from developing nasal dryness, sinus infection, irritation, inflammation, etc. This humidifier has a water reservoir from which it draws the water. So, the CPAP water is nothing but the water stored in the water chamber of your heated humidifier.

What Kind Of CPAP Water Should You Use?

Bottles showing different kinds of water

What is the best water to be used with the humidifier? Is distilled water the only safe choice? What happens if one uses tap water with their CPAP humidifier?

These are the common questions every CPAP machine user faces and tries to find the correct answer by looking up endless articles on the internet. Unfortunately, the world wide web is quite divided on this topic, and there is no fixed answer to this issue. While some CPAP manufacturers like Resmed or Philips Respironics strongly recommend solely using distilled water with your heated humidifier, many other CPAP users on the internet say that tap water or spring water is safe to use.

The question still remains: what is the best CPAP water? Well, let's find out!

Tap Water vs. Distilled Water

faucet on the left distileld water on the right

In this section, we are going to talk about the effects of both tap water and distilled water and which one is the best CPAP water for your humidifier.

●     Using tap water in your CPAP humidifier:

It is common to find people online who claim that using tap water in your CPAP machine is safe. However, doing this is not the smartest choice. While tap water is undoubtedly the cheapest and the easiest way to refill your CPAP water chamber, it often contains many unwanted contaminants and harmful substances that can diminish the life of the water tub. These can cause various problems for your machine's tubing, water reservoir, and other parts. Using water filters like Brita can be a temporary solution but those water filters may not filter out all the impurities. 

"What if I boil the tap water?"

While boiling water does kill germs and other harmful microbes, it can not take away the chemical contaminants that are in tap water. This means that no matter how much you boil the tap water, you won't be able to remove the minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, etc., from it and your CPAP supplies may suffer.

Over time, these mineral impurities can build up in the humidifier's water chamber and can damage it and the other parts of the CPAP machine. If you filter the water before using it, you may remove some of these minerals but you can't fully remove harsh chemicals like chlorine, etc. So certainly, using tap water is not good for the overall life of the humidifier water chamber.

●     Using distilled water in your CPAP humidifier

Most CPAP machine manufacturers recommend using distilled water in your humidifier. The reason being, distilled water is generated by following the distillation process where the normal water is first turned into gas and then is condensed back into the liquid form.

This process removes all pathogens and unwanted compounds like calcium, potassium, bacteria, etc. Therefore, unlike tap water, distilled water is not full of chemical contaminants and is perfectly fit to be used in sterile environments like hospitals, clinics, medical equipment, and your CPAP machine!

Using distilled water will not only increase the life of the water chamber and reduce unwanted mineral deposits but will also ensure that you don't inhale anything harmful during your CPAP therapy.

Furthermore, make sure not to add water softeners, perfumes, scented oils or soaps, and other such materials to your water supply. This is because most of them have harsh chemicals, bleach, and alcohol added into them and can be harmful to your lungs. 

Distilled Water Options:

snugell distilled water 24 Bottle Pack 12oz

Snugell Distilled Water for Humidifiers | 24 Bottle Pack 12oz H20

snugell distilled water 6 Bottle Pack 20oz

Snugell Distilled Water for Humidifiers | 6 Bottle Pack 20oz H20

snugell distilled water 12 Bottle Pack 16.9oz

Snugell Distilled Water for Humidifiers | 12 Bottle Pack 16.9oz H20

Few Final Words

Distilled water for cpap

So there you go! You now have the answer to, "which is the best CPAP water?" It's distilled water. Not only does it keep your CPAP machine safe, but it also enhances the quality of your sleep apnea therapy. Another option similar to distilled water is reverse osmosis water which is 99% purified water. Both of these options can be found in grocery stores, most likely together with the different types of water.

However, if you don't have access to distilled water while you're traveling or due to any other reason, using tap water or bottled water for a day or two isn't a big deal just keep in mind that the water quality will not be the same as distilled water. Just ensure to properly clean your humidifier chamber after using it to remove the build-up of mineral deposits.

We hope that you found this article helpful and that we were able to clear your doubts regarding the best CPAP water!

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