CPAP Humidifiers

If you find yourself waking up with a dry mouth, nose or throat then a humidifier should instantly solve that problem. But adding warmth and moisture to the air provided by your CPAP machine, they help keep your mouth moisturised throughout the night. Similarly, if you find the air from your CPAP to be cold and uncomfortable, a humidifier should make your therapy more comfortable.

It is clinically proven, on more than one occasion, that humidification improves compliance and helps CPAP and BiPAP users avoid suffering from a dry nose, mouth and throat. This is even more true for those in, or often visiting dry climate countries but even in the UK and Europe, CPAP users report great benefits from a humidifier added to their setup.

For mouth breathers like those with a full face or oral mask, heated humidification is a must-have feature. It is normally the hairs in the nasal airway conditioning the air with heat and humidity before entering the lungs. Someone who breathes through their mouth misses out on this conditioning and is likely to suffer from an uncomfortable dryness without a humidifier.

Need more information about humidification? You can read our more in-depth guide here.

CPAP Humidification FAQ

What is a CPAP humidifier?

A humidifier is usually an optional additional part of a CPAP machine that connect to the main unit. A CPAP humidifier then humdifies the air provided by the CPAP machine; typically this is done by heated a small tank of water. This humidified air helps to prevent you from waking with a dry mouth, as the moisture in the air helps to offset the greater volume of air travelling through. Some patients prefer to use a CPAP humidifier simply because the air provided is warmer and they find it more comfortable.

Can a CPAP humidifier help with nasal congestion?

In some cases, a CPAP humidifier can be beneficial. Particularly at higher pressure settings, the increased airflow the using CPAP provides can cause the nasal passages to dry out, in turning making them inflammed, irritable and prone to cracking and bleeding. A CPAP humidifier ensures that the air contains more moisture, offsetting the drying process caused by CPAP. For persistent or chronic sinus issues, then we recommend nasal and sinus irrigation as a short and long-term solution. You can find out more about sinus irrigation on our SinuPulse.co.uk website.

How to I stop waking up with water in my mask or tubing?

A CPAP humidifer works by heating water, turning it into a light steam. However, as it travels from the humidifier to your mask it is constantly losing temperature. This causes the steam to condense back to water; usually only a small amount should be in the mask or tubing but if the room is cold then there may be enough condensation to cause discomfort or to wake you. There are two solutions to this problem; the first is the to use a tube fleece to insulate the tube and minimise the temperature difference. The second is to use a heated hose, which contains a heating element throughout the length of the tube which significantly reduces (or stops entirely) the humidified air from condensing. The heated hose option is the more effective solution, but also notably more expensive.

Do I need a CPAP humidifier?

A CPAP humidifier is, for some CPAP patient, essential. Others are absolutely fine without it. It depends entirely on you and how you react to CPAP therapy; if you find CPAP causes you to wake with a dry mouth, or pain in your nose or sinuses, the a CPAP humidifier may be a good investment for you. However if you do not experience these issues, then there is little need to spend extra money and add bulk to your CPAP machine if you do not stand to benefit. If you are about to purchase your first CPAP machine and are unsure if you need a humidifier or not, our advise is generally to try the therapy without first and see how you go - you can always purchase the CPAP humdifier at a later stage. However, if you already experience waking with a dry mouth regularly then CPAP is only likely to exacerbate that problem, so opting for a CPAP humidifier from the off would probably be a sensible move.

Why is my CPAP humidifier's tank empty in the morning?

A CPAP humidifier heats the water you put in the chamber throughout the night, turning it into steam. Inevitibly this means the pool will go down during the night. Ideally you want to wake with a small amount of water left in the tank overnight - if it is empty, then not only have you not been receiving any humidification from the moment it ran out, but your humidifier is at risk of being damaged. It is similar to boiling an empty kettle in that respect - it is not recommended! If you find your tank is empty, then try filling your water reservior more (but not above the maximum capacity) or turning the heat setting down. You will need to consult your user manual on how to do this but it is usually a straightforward procedure.

Which CPAP humidifier should I purchase for my machine?

Most CPAP machines will have their own CPAP humidifier designed specifically for use with that machine. Usuaully they will lock together to form one complete unit, with the humidifier being controlled by the main unit. You can find the correct CPAP humidifier for your machine from our range above.

Can I run my CPAP humidifier from a battery?

Many CPAP machines have the option of running off of a 12V source, such as a car, caravan or portable battery. However, this does not extend to CPAP humidifiers. Humidifiers use a lot of power, and therefore require mains power to run. While you could use a 12V source with an inverter, it would drain the battery very quickly and we strongly recommend avoiding this. You can still use your humidifier passively (that is, with water in but without it being heated) though the effectiveness will be greatl reduced. If you are travelling for a short period without mains power, then you may instead want to consider using a Universal Waterless Humidifier. These provide humidification without requiring water or electricity, and can be a good short-term option.