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How important is filtered or distilled water.
I have just used tap water in my humidifier for six years, five years with the S8 and now seven months with the S9.

The water here seems to have a high chlorine smell now.

Have I been doing myself any harm.
Jim Quarles
Illegitimus non Carborundum
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Ingesting or breathing chlorine is generally not considered to be beneficial. An excessive amount will kill you.
I have been drinking and using reverse osmosis water since before I got my Resmed S9. After 2.5 years my new DME offered me a new water tank for the H5i so I took it. The design has changed but I can't tell the difference in the actual tank. On the other hand if you look at a faucet that delivers water company water, it will often have various mineral deposits on it or inside it. I prefer to keep my equipment and my insides in better condition when I can
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Hi FS560,
There are lots of opinions on what water to use in your humidifier but I use distilled water to keep the mineral deposits down.
The filter is very important to keep dust out of your machine.
Hang in there for more responses to your post and oh by the way, WELCOME! to the forum.!
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Very. Tap water is not an acceptable method of humidifying for compressed inhalation and can cause long term harm if continued. I suggest you purchase and use distilled water from this point on and in might advise you to change your tank as well, lest there be contaminants in whatever deposits are in the tank.
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WOW thanks for the advice

My old S8 tank did require cleaning because of mineral deposits but I separate and wipe out the S9 tank daily and it retains no deposits.

Would tap water be causing my generally congested sinuses?
Jim Quarles
Illegitimus non Carborundum
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The fact that the tank says use distilled water only suggests that's what should be used.
"Sometimes the magic works . . . and sometimes it doesn't" -- Chief Dan George in the movie Little Big Man
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The discussion of tap water vs distilled water can get rather heated.

I must disagree with DocWils in that tap water is dangerous to use.

You probably inhale just as much tap water while taking a shower as you do with your CPAP at night. The idea that there's so much chlorine in your water that you can't use it in your humidifier is also, in my opinion, silly. If you can swim in it, bathe in it, cook with it, and even drink it then it is fine with your humidifier.

The main difference between the two is mineral content. This is the white spots you see on your dishes and the brown stains around the sink drain. Most tap water has some mineral content. Some water has so much that it has a smell to it and causes massive staining to sinks and tubs. True distilled water does not have any minerals.

The reason distilled water is recommended is due to this mineral content. It can build up inside the humidifier tub. Regular cleaning can keep this at bay as can doing a mild vinegar soak every few weeks or so. Some people do not like this, others could care less. Some say the mineral build up can hide bacteria and mold, some say that's bull hockey. Some say those minerals, bacteria, and mold can travel up the tube and into your lungs. And some say that's bull hockey too. Some say the mineral layer can cause the humidifier tub to heat irregularly. Some say, you guess it, bull hockey.

It comes down to personal preference. How often do you want to do a serious clean of the tub? Want low maintenance? Use distilled.

I am of the tap water camp. I've been using it for many years. I am very much alive and well. My tap water comes from a spring, not from a municipal facility. It has minerals but does not stain the sink although we do see white spots on the glasses. Once ever two months, I fill up the sink with water and vinegar and put the tank in to soak. I then use my fingernail brush to scrub the bottom and rinse well. Done. My previous tank was over a year old and was just starting to get a feel-able white layer to the bottom that was no longer coming off. I used distilled water for nearly two years and got really tired of it and the mess I made each night. Tossing out the water in the morning bothered me, too. Am I just lucky? Nope. Distilled water is difficult to find in a lot of places in Europe. Those folks use tap water and survive just fine, too.

HOWEVER, if your water smells bad (from the iron content) or really stains the sink, then distilled water is preferred just to cut down on smell and cleaning time.
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From a medical point of view, the introduction of impurities in a closed and concentrated system like a CPAP humidifier carries a risk when entering the lungs. Chlorine is perhaps less an issue unless you live in areas with heavy chlorination. It comes down to a simple formula - take the risk if you want, or play it safe and avoid the possibility at all.

I cannot answer if tap water could cause sinus congestion, but too little or too much humidity can certainly contribute as can the the nose being forced to filter out impurities and allergens, thus triggering an increased mucous flow, but most likely you are suffering from some form of rhinitis, which may or may not be triggered by the CPAP usage.

Spring water has many advantages over municipal water supplies, and can be cleaner, but the process of transferring it through the pipes into the house and through the taps can also introduce considerable impurities, and in the process may or may not increase the risk in using it vapour form. Your tap water, whatever the source is full of rust, silicates and dozens of other contaminants, and is not the best choice to inhale, but there is a greater damage to your machine's tanks and heating system than to your lungs, if only because the brunt of the concentrate is left in the machine. Still, there is a real chance of long term problems by introducing all this into the lungs as well, but in all likelihood, the effects would not show up for many years.
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CPAP humidifiers do represent a closed and concentrated system, so it makes sense that nearly all of the chlorine that comes out of the humidifier chamber is probably going to get inhaled (minus the amount that leaks out of the mask vents).


Isn't the medical significance of it related also to the volume of the inhaled gas? There's only so much chlorine present in 350mL of water. No amount of concentrated air is going to change it.

When you shower though, as Paula mentioned, I have to imagine that a much larger quantity of it is released in the air around you. We're talking tens of gallons of water vs. not even half a liter.

Should we instead give priority to installing chlorine filters in the shower, or am I missing something?
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Is this one of the heated arguments that can go on and on. I am aware that chlorine gas will kill you deader than a doornail. The ppm in municipal water is low concentration even when there is an odor.

I think my tapwater has heavy chorine because sometimes I can smell it when turning on the tap. However, I never smell it in the shower.

Does the filter on my refrigerator or the filter on my kitchen sink faucet likely filter out any/some/most of these impurities, including chlorine. One is a Brita and the other is a Pure.

However, I fill the tank in the bathroom upstairs. I did buy some distilled water today. I do drink the water here but try not to snort it. I guess the humidifier is the same as snorting it, though.
Jim Quarles
Illegitimus non Carborundum
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