While manufacturers recommend distilled water for use in your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, many people still use tap water as their hydration of choice. Tap water is both harmful to your device and it can be harmful to you, if used consistently. Lets take a look at why you shouldn’t use tap water in your CPAP device.
Tap water is brought to your home through a labyrinth of usually old, metal pipes traversing the underground of your local city or community. Tap water can pick up metals from these pipes and contains minerals as it travels to your tap. Using tap water in your hydration chamber will leave heavy, white mineral deposits in your chamber and on the internal workings of your CPAP device as the water is heated and evaporated. These mineral deposits can feed fungal growth and they will clog the delicate hoses in your machine with mineral build up, over time. Tap water also contains extra elements like Fluorine and/or chlorine which are used to kill any microorganisms or living creatures that may contaminate a water supply. If you use tap water as your hydration fluid of choice, you will be vaporizing and inhaling these elements. Some data suggests these elements can be harmful at concentrations in the body and is another reason for not using tap water in your heated hydration chamber.
Most CPAP device manufacturers prescribe using distilled water in your CPAP device to eliminate the buildup of deposited minerals in your hoses and hardware. Distilled water can still contain some soluble materials. Unfiltered distilled water can still contain volatile organic compounds (VOC) which vaporize at lower temperatures than water and will remain if not properly filtered. Overall, distilled water is recommended for the machine, not for the user.
Tap water is the least desirable form of hydration for your CPAP device. Your local tap water can contain heavy metals, other solubles and chemicals like chlorine or fluorine. These dissolved contaminants can be bad for both your CPAP device and/or bad for your health. Whatever you choose to use as your hydration fluid of choice, make tap water your last choice.