CPAP Humidification FAQ’s

What is a Heated Humidifier?

A Heated Humidifier is a device that works with your CPAP machine to provide moisture. Dry air can cause irritation throughout your mouth, throat and nasal cavity, so the humidifier helps prevent that. The temperature is adjustable, as well.

There are 3 types of humidifiers:

  • Stand Alone Humidifier: used with almost any machine as long as an integrated humidifier is not being used and the machine does NOT have a built in humidifier.
  • Integrated Humidifier: connect directly to the machine. This provides the convenience of being able to remove the humidifier from the machine for traveling or other purposes.
  • Built-in Humidifier: permanently fixed to the CPAP machine. The advantage is the device, as a whole, takes up less space than integrated and stand alone humidifiers.

Do I have to use a Heated Humidifier with my CPAP Machine?

No, you do not have to use a humidifier in order to use your CPAP machine. The humidifiers provide moisture to the airflow, they are not required for the machine to function. Heated humidifiers are only for those who wish to have moisture in the airflow of their CPAP therapy.

How does CPAP Heated Tubing work?

Heated CPAP tubing regulates the temperature of the airflow from the machine to your mask. The idea is to keep the air at the temperature you want it while it travels from the machine to your mask.

Another reason is to avoid “rainout”, which is when condensation builds up in the tubing. This occurs because of the temperature difference between the humidifier and the standard tubing.

Can I use tap water in my Heated Humidifier?

Manufacturers recommend the use of distilled water for CPAP machines.

While filtered tap water will not have all the bacteria and germs, the minerals and chemicals that make water “hard” will still be present. Over time those minerals and chemicals will build up and damage the machine. Distilled water is safest because it has none of those minerals or chemicals.

What temperature should I set my humidifier?

The temperature depends on the type of humidifier, the climate of the room, and the comfort of the user. So, there is really no right or wrong answer. The user should begin with the standard setting and adjust accordingly from there.

Can I wash my Humidifier water chamber tub?

Yes, all the water chambers need cleaned regularly. The confusion is that some water chamber tubs are labeled “cleanable” or “washable.” That just means that placing them in a dishwasher is safe. Users can hand wash any water chamber, though.

About the Author


Jason Smith is recognized by the board of polysomnographic technologists (BRPT) as a registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT) since 2003. He is also Director of Clinical Operations for 6 multi-state sleep diagnostic facilities including the nation’s largest 20 bed sleep disorder testing center. Jason has also been a Co-Author with two research publications featured in Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.