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Can I use tap water in the humidifier?
#1
Question 
Hi everybody.

The question is clear. I am thinking if I can use tap water in my humidifier. It will be the hot water that doesn't got minerals.
I was told by the machine supplier to use only distilled water, but that is another more worry. My machine is rented by my insurance.
What do you think?
Ralph.
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#2
Depends on how often you can get a water tub.
On distilled water, mine are lasting a long time. Tap water can really make them calcify quickly.
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#3
Hot water only gets rid of what they call temporary hardness. The bulk of the dissolved solids will still be in the water. Tap water would be OK if you don't evaporate a lot of it each night and replace the water each day. At 88 cents a gallon distilled water is cheap insurance for not messing up your CPAP machine.
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#4
You can use tap water in a pinch (if you're away from home and don't have distilled water available), but, no, using tap water regularly will leave mineral deposits in your humidifier tank.
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#5
I always use tap water and my well water is very hard and high in minerals. I do get a build up of minerals in my humidifier tank. I soak my tank in vinegar about once a month and then thoroughly rinse it before use. It comes out sparkling clean.
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#6
The real deal is with the thermals of the heating plate for the tub.

When you use tap water, (be it city water or well water) as the water is placed into humidification, the mineral solids form and deposit on the bottom of the tub because they can't stay in suspension of the water.

This causes the heating element to require more energy to heat the water to the point it humidifies. Eventually, over time, maybe not today or tomorrow, next week, month or year, the heating element may likely fail.

The other thing is you may find is the mineral deposits could actually pit the plastic and infuse themselves into the plastic making it difficult if not almost impossible to eradicate the minerals from the plastic.

Considering your CPAP is something you expect and rely on to function properly every night, even to the point that your betting your life on it, I think Clint Eastwood's line below is close enough to be appropriate.

I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk? Big Grin
Warning: Eating chocolate may cause your clothes to shrink!
[Image: ry6XtE9.gif] <---- That's ME!
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#7
The respiratory therapist at the DME that I use who did my set-up instruction for CPAP encouraged me to be sure that I boiled tap water first if I was going to use it in my CPAP machine. She said that she'd seen cases of people getting weird infections from using unboiled tap water in CPAP machines.

I don't know how likely it is that that could happen. If you're considering using plain tap water in your CPAP humidifier, though, I think it would be good to consider how good your lung health is and how prone you are to getting respiratory infections.

I tried boiled tap water in my humidifier on two nights when I had run out of distilled water. It may just be my particular local water supply (or my imagination), but I woke up the next morning with an icky taste/sensation in my mouth and nasal passages.

I think the most likely downside would be scale in your humidifier chamber. I don't know how much those cost for ResMed machines, but they are fairly inexpensive for my Respironics machine.

I think it boils (ha ha) down to personal choice.
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#8
Why would use anything but distilled water. It's cheap and I only use about 4oz per day. My humidifier still looks like new after 6 months.
Dont-know  I am an accountant so any advice given here is not medical. If I give any financial advice, you can take it to the bank. However, you will have a hard time cashing it in. Okay
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#9
Since 2008 I have used nothing but cold tap water in the humidifier. I empty and refill daily. I have never had issues with mineral deposits or organic growths. If you have decent clean water where you live, with reasonable mineral contents, just do it. If your water source is groundwater, then solids and minerals are likely a problem.
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#10
OK, I don't expect to change anyone's beliefs but thought I'd offer my two cents worth:
  1. Hot water from a water heater can have additional minerals from the anode rod. For this reason I'd use the cool tap water.
  2. Any mineral deposits in the humidifier tank can be cleaned with white vinegar or commercially available products.
  3. I don't think the humidity in the normal air we breathe has been boiled or distilled.
  4. Thinking about how the humidifier works, you are distilling it. You place a liquid in a vessel, where it turns to a vapor as the air (filtered) passes over it and then enters the lungs (or condenses in the mask/hose. . .rainout).

The "distilled water" requirement seems to be more of an indemnity issue so some ambulance chaser can't try to make that an issue against the manufacturer.

Edit: Based off of Sleeprider's keen observation in the following post, I have edited this post to correct my faux pas. . . Thanks Sleeprider!
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