Can I use non-distilled water in my CPAP humidifier?

May 19, 2023

CPAP humidifiers are great for alleviating some of the discomfort associated with dryness and irritation caused by the continuous airflow. It is generally recommended to use distilled water in CPAP humidifiers, but what if distilled water is not available in your area? What should you use in your CPAP humidifier?

Why distilled water is preferred

Distilled water, which has undergone a process of evaporation and condensation to remove impurities and minerals, is the ideal choice for CPAP humidifiers and is recommended by all CPAP manufacturers. It lacks the minerals and additives found in tap water and other water sources, which can lead to mineral buildup in the humidifier chamber. By using distilled water, you reduce the risk of bacterial growth and prolong the lifespan of your CPAP equipment. It also lasts longer, giving you more hours of humidifier use.

If distilled water is unavailable in my area, what should I use in my CPAP humidifier?

filtered water

Filtered water

If you have a high-quality water filtration system that effectively removes minerals and impurities, using filtered water could be an option. Ensure that the filtration system meets the necessary standards and removes contaminants sufficiently.

Bottled water​

If distilled or filtered water is unavailable, you can consider using bottled water as an alternative. Look for bottles labeled as “distilled” or “purified” to help minimize mineral content. However, keep in mind that not all bottled waters are created equal, and some may still contain minerals and additives. Carefully check the labels to choose the best option.

Tap water​

While tap water may seem like a convenient choice, it is generally not recommended for CPAP humidifiers. Tap water can contain minerals, chemicals, and impurities that can accumulate in the humidifier chamber over time. These deposits can be harder to clean and may lead to reduced performance and increased bacterial growth. If tap water is the only available option, it is safe to use, however it will require more rigorous cleaning to prevent excess mineral and bacterial buildup.

Maintenance and precautions

Using non-distilled water in your CPAP humidifier requires diligent maintenance and cleaning. Here are some important steps to consider:

Regular cleaning

Regardless of the water source you use, it is essential to clean the CPAP humidifier regularly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and disinfecting your equipment to prevent bacterial growth and ensure optimal performance.

Scale and mineral deposit removal

If you notice mineral deposits or scale buildup in your humidifier chamber, follow the manufacturer's guidelines for safely removing these deposits. Regular maintenance will help maintain the efficiency of your CPAP equipment.

Replacing your equipment​

It is recommended that you replace your CPAP machine every five years, however, using non-distilled water mean replacement is needed sooner than that. Keep a close eye on the condition of your CPAP humidifier and regularly inspect for signs of mineral accumulation or deterioration. If you notice any issues or concerns, consult your healthcare provider.

While not ideal, non-distilled water is safe to use in your CPAP humidifier

Yes, you can use non-distilled water in your CPAP humidifier if distilled water is unavailable. However, it will require more diligent maintenance and cleaning and can shorten the lifespan of your CPAP machine. If you have more question or are still unsure about using non-distilled water, contact us or your healthcare provider!

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