Water is water, right? Not when it comes to your CPAP machine. There are four different types of water: distilled, spring, purified and tap water. Not all four are equal, especially when it comes to the lifespan of your CPAP machine and making sure it works most effectively.
Tap water is pretty straightforward: it’s the water that pours out of your tap. But where you live (a city versus a rural area) can make a significant difference in the quality of your tap water. Tap water contains chlorine and fluoride, as well as many natural minerals.
Spring water is water that comes from natural springs. It is filtered by nature and can contain microbes and impurities as it’s not typically treated.
Distilled water is a little bit more complicated. It’s water that gets turned into vapour, then back into liquid form to filter out any impurities and contaminants. This process also filters out minerals.
Purified water can come from any source, but it gets purified through a range of different processes. Purified water is similar to distilled water in that contaminants as well as minerals are filtered out.
CPAP & Distilled Water
Most manufacturers recommend using distilled water for CPAP machines because it eliminates mineral buildup, which can decrease the machine’s lifespan. Distilled water means little to no impurities are in the water and the air you breathe.
Other types of water can cause damage to the CPAP machine’s water chamber over time because the water can harden, scale, discolour, and leave mineral deposits. Using tap water, for example, could result in you needing to replace the tub frequently.
Can You Use Purified Water in a CPAP Machine?
While following the manufacturer’s guidelines for CPAP water is always best, purified water is still better than tap water or spring water if you don’t have access to distilled water. Purified water has been treated, but if there are trace amounts of minerals, they can still cause build-up in your CPAP machine.
The takeaway: opt for distilled water for CPAP instead, whenever possible.
CPAP Water When Travelling
Sometimes, you’ll have to travel with your CPAP machine. This means you might not have access to the water you’re used to using. It can be worthwhile to research the local water quality to make sure it’s safe and look into where you can purchase distilled water (pharmacies and drug stores typically carry it).
Avoid using tap water if you can, which can sometimes mean using bottled water until you’re back home.
Your CPAP machine is an important piece of equipment, and it should be treated with care. Using the right water for CPAP machines is just as important as regularly cleaning and maintaining them. When in doubt, always follow the manufacturer's guidelines on the water to use and how to care for your CPAP machine.