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Free distilled water for humidifiers.
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #31
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
Don't know what the approach is in the US, but in Switzerland, (which has some of the best tap water quality anywhere) they strongly recommend against tap water.
I assume because of the problem of water hardness in some areas (not in my area of Zurich, but it is a variable problem).
09-09-2012 04:08 AM
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Sleepster Offline
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Post: #32
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
(09-09-2012 04:08 AM)wilorg Wrote:  Don't know what the approach is in the US, but in Switzerland, (which has some of the best tap water quality anywhere) they strongly recommend against tap water.
I assume because of the problem of water hardness in some areas (not in my area of Zurich, but it is a variable problem).

In the US the manufacturers tell us to use distilled water.

Many people report here on this forum that they can use tap water and have no issues. Others report that tap water leaves a residue in their humidifier tank.

The reason for the conflicting reports is that water hardness varies with location. If your tap water doesn't cause a problem, then I'd go ahead and use it.

People with hard water are going to have other problems that will be evident in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. And especially when washing their cars. None of it is a hazard, just a nuisance.

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
09-09-2012 10:26 AM
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mjbearit Offline

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Post: #33
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
So, there are lots of different thoughts on the subject, most of which seem to revolve around the effects of tap water on the equipment. But I know there is a lot of stuff in municipal tap water, so I did a bit of digging to find out what is the most common chemical concoctions that they put in tap water and what do the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) have to say. MSDS sheets are often many pages so I grabbed what seemed to be relevant. The list of chemicals below is the most common chemicals in use in the USA for muni water districts. I believe most follow this pretty much the same globally.

chlorine - evaporates below freezing - burns, chest pain, difficulty breathing, headache, dizziness, hyperactivity,
emotional disturbances, bluish skin color, lung damage, death

chlorine dioxide - Evaporates same rate as water. Inhalation Hazard - Coughing, headaches, labored breathing, nausea, shortness of breath, pulmonary edema

Monochloramine, usually referred to as chloramine - TOXIC EFFECTS : Tumorigenic - equivocal tumorigenic agent by RTECS criteria Blood - leukemia

Sodium Flouride - Routes of Entry: Inhalation. Ingestion.
Toxicity to Animals: Acute oral toxicity (LD50): 52 mg/kg [Rat].
Chronic Effects on Humans:
CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: A4 (Not classifiable for human or animal.) by ACGIH, 3 (Not classifiable for human.) by IARC.
MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. Mutagenic for bacteria and/or yeast. May cause damage to the following organs: kidneys, lungs, the nervous system, heart, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, bones, teeth.
Other Toxic Effects on Humans:
Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (corrosive), of ingestion, of inhalation. Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive).

I'm not drawing conclusions for anyone else, but this is the information. Personally I will continue to use Distilled Water. Please check with your municipality for the contents of your local water. This list is just the most common. YMMV!

As always, YMMV! You do not have to agree or disagree, I am not a professional so my mental meanderings are simply recollections of things from my own life.

PRS1 - Auto - A-Flex x2 - 12.50 - 20 - Humid x2 - Swift FX
(This post was last modified: 09-09-2012 10:59 AM by mjbearit.)
09-09-2012 10:58 AM
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Sleepster Offline
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Post: #34
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
The air that's pumped into our masks contains gaseous nitrogen in a concentration of 78%. Here are some of the warnings concerning the safety of the gaseous form of nitrogen, taken from the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):

Can cause rapid suffocation.
Acts as a simple asphyxiant.
Acute or chronic respiratory conditions may be aggravated by overexposure to this gas.

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
(This post was last modified: 09-09-2012 11:25 AM by Sleepster.)
09-09-2012 11:25 AM
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Bernie Offline

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Post: #35
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
Ok, now to add more fuel to the fire. Your CPAP humidifier again evaporates your "free distilled water", thus leaving dust and other particles behind in the humidifier tank. You might still have residue left in the humidifier tank, but the vapor you breathe should be pretty clean. Wouldn't the final result be sort of a partial double distillation?
09-09-2012 11:36 AM
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archangle Offline
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Post: #36
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
I can buy distilled water here in the US for under $1 per gallon. (About 4 liters in the civilized world.) I'd be crazy not to use it.

However, let's consider what happens if I use tap water or whatever water I drink.

1) As the water evaporates, I end up with whatever minerals are in the water getting concentrated. Over time, I may end up with a white deposit on the walls of the humidifier tank.
2) Whatever "germ food" is in the water gets concentrated. Germs may tend to grow as the germ food gets concentrated, if I keep topping off the tank without dumping out the old water.
3) Whatever "volatile" compounds are in the water will evaporate and be breathed into my lungs.

However, lets consider what this means.

First, the proper way to use tap water in a humidifier.

1) Dump the tank every morning and rinse. Fill it up before bed.
2) Clean it more frequently. Be sure you have the dishwashable tank that you can disassemble and really clean. I've been dishwashing my tanks for 8 years now with no problems.
3) If the tank gets yucky despite cleaning, spend $30 every so often and replace it.

Germs:

1) Presumably, there aren't a whole lot of dangerous germs in your drinking water to begin with.
2) Germs will get into the tank, even if you start with sterile distilled water. From your hands or from the air, germs will get there. You're already breathing or swallowing these germs. You just don't want to get an enormous extra dose of these germs.
3) Proper cleaning and dumping the water will help keep the germs from multiplying to dangerous levels, even if the germs get into the tank.
4) Even if there are nasty germs in the water, in theory, most of them will stay in the water because you're just blowing air across the top of the water, not making it a mist and inhaling that. There might be some small amount of germs that get through, however. You're already inhaling these germs, including small droplets every time you take a shower.

Chemicals:

You're already drinking this water. It's presumably fairly free from dangerous chemicals. You drink this water every day. You drink a lot more than you're going to put in your CPAP at night.

Unless you have some chemical that is harmless when drunk in your drinking water, but dangerous when inhaled in much lower concentration, you're not increasing your risks.

You already inhale these chemicals whenever you take a shower.

Since distilled water is so cheap and easily obtained in the US, it makes sense because it makes the tanks last longer, and I don't have to clean or dump the water as often. If it wasn't easy to obtain, I wouldn't bother and would use tap water, especially if I have a cleanable tank.

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09-10-2012 03:17 AM
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zonk Offline

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Post: #37
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
I would think the quality of my tap water which gone through stringent testing and quality checks is far superior to any super market distilled water which the information on label is not worth the paper its written on
09-10-2012 03:46 AM
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Moriarty Offline

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Post: #38
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
(09-10-2012 03:46 AM)zonk Wrote:  I would think the quality of my tap water which gone through stringent testing and quality checks is far superior to any super market distilled water which the information on label is not worth the paper its written on

I think it is important to note that the 'ironing' water sold through supermarkets in Australia is not sold as 'distilled' but is marked 'demineralised.'

This demineralisation is done by an unspecified process that could be distillation, osmotic filtering, or some other process. It is not sterile when you buy it - and certainly not after you open it...

I use it though because I don't like the chlorine smell we get in our water from time to time.

I am not paranoid about it but if I were to be I would probably use freshly boiled demineralised water....
(This post was last modified: 09-10-2012 06:42 AM by Moriarty.)
09-10-2012 06:42 AM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #39
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
(insert image of me banging my head on a brick wall while, at the same time, singing "I'm a nut" by Leroy Pullins)

Y'all know my stance on this topic. I won't repeat it.

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INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
09-10-2012 05:02 PM
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Bernie Offline

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Post: #40
RE: Free distilled water for humidifiers.
(09-10-2012 03:17 AM)archangle Wrote:  I can buy distilled water here in the US for under $1 per gallon. (About 4 liters in the civilized world.) I'd be crazy not to use it.

However, let's consider what happens if I use tap water or whatever water I drink.

1) As the water evaporates, I end up with whatever minerals are in the water getting concentrated. Over time, I may end up with a white deposit on the walls of the humidifier tank.
2) Whatever "germ food" is in the water gets concentrated. Germs may tend to grow as the germ food gets concentrated, if I keep topping off the tank without dumping out the old water.
3) Whatever "volatile" compounds are in the water will evaporate and be breathed into my lungs.

However, lets consider what this means.

First, the proper way to use tap water in a humidifier.

1) Dump the tank every morning and rinse. Fill it up before bed.
2) Clean it more frequently. Be sure you have the dishwashable tank that you can disassemble and really clean. I've been dishwashing my tanks for 8 years now with no problems.
3) If the tank gets yucky despite cleaning, spend $30 every so often and replace it.

[font=Times New Roman]I like your summation and would add only one other thing.
After rinsing out the tank, don't just shake it out or let it air dry. Wipe all surfaces completely dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Then reassemble it. Some types of scum stick so tenatiously that they can remain even after a thorough rinse.
09-10-2012 05:17 PM
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