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White Film in Humidifier Tank
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PaytonA Offline
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Post: #1
White Film in Humidifier Tank
I have the standard H5i humidifier tank. I use distilled water exclusively in my humidifier. Last week I happened to let my tank dry out after cleaning it and there is a very fine white adherent film on the aluminum bottom of the tank. This is the first time since the unit was new that I have allowed the tank to dry out. On the occasional times that I clean the tank I rinse it thoroughly and refill it with distilled water right away.

My feeling is that the white powder is aluminum oxide and not minerals from the water. There is an area that has the appearance that a "cold flow" would have in other types of forming. Since I am quite certain that this is a stamping maybe it is some die release that got entrained in the aluminum. Anyway, where this "cold flow" is there is no white powder.

Any comments? Anybody else have experience with this type of adherent white powder formation? If this white powder is truly aluminum oxide, why bother with distilled or demineralized water?

Best regards,

PaytonA
09-09-2014 12:02 PM
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justMongo Offline

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Post: #2
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
(09-09-2014 12:02 PM)PaytonA Wrote:  I have the standard H5i humidifier tank. I use distilled water exclusively in my humidifier. Last week I happened to let my tank dry out after cleaning it and there is a very fine white adherent film on the aluminum bottom of the tank. This is the first time since the unit was new that I have allowed the tank to dry out. On the occasional times that I clean the tank I rinse it thoroughly and refill it with distilled water right away.

My feeling is that the white powder is aluminum oxide and not minerals from the water. There is an area that has the appearance that a "cold flow" would have in other types of forming. Since I am quite certain that this is a stamping maybe it is some die release that got entrained in the aluminum. Anyway, where this "cold flow" is there is no white powder.

Any comments? Anybody else have experience with this type of adherent white powder formation? If this white powder is truly aluminum oxide, why bother with distilled or demineralized water?

Best regards,

PaytonA

That's my guess. The "zonk" tank seems like the best idea I've heard of -- use the stainless steel bottom from a "dishwasher-safe" 3 piece tank and the top from your regular tank.

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: 09-10-2014 07:27 AM by justMongo.)
09-09-2014 12:15 PM
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Peter_C Offline

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Post: #3
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
I guess I don't stress over this type of stuff very much - not sure if that is good or bad...

When/if I notice my tank looks bothersome, I then clean it, followed by a vinegar water soak. Then the next cleaning isn't until I notice an issue again. That said, I do *rinse*my tank almost nightly.

FYI - when I run my tank dry/hot - I see a white film always - and think nothing of it. Again, perhaps that is wrong of me, but it's what I do.

*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional. My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.

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09-09-2014 12:53 PM
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PsychoMike Offline

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Post: #4
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
Anytime aluminum is exposed to oxygen, you can get aluminum oxide. With water, the dissolved oxygen concentration is far less, meaning there is less oxygen available to create the film...if you can keep the humidifier from running dry, you'll be less likely to get aluminum oxide forming.

Don't get the white film of aluminum oxide confused with mineral deposits. My wife occasionally uses tap water in hers (which often runs dry as her humidifier heater is on a boost, which keeps the tank warm all the time) and the resulting white film is far thicker from the additional mineral deposits. In the former case, you get a thin film that stops (aluminum oxide forms a barrier that prevents further oxidation...unlike iron oxide (rust) that actually permits additional oxidation).

Simple solution: to minimize the formation of aluminum oxide, don't let your humidifier tank run dry. To prevent mineral deposits, use a water source with lower mineral content. Smile
09-09-2014 12:56 PM
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archangle Offline
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Post: #5
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
That happens on the stainless tanks as well. Remember that distilled water isn't 100% pure either. Also that a lot of air goes through the tank, and there is still some small amount of dust, even in the filtered air.

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09-09-2014 03:06 PM
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PaytonA Offline
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Post: #6
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
(09-09-2014 12:56 PM)PsychoMike Wrote:  Simple solution: to minimize the formation of aluminum oxide, don't let your humidifier tank run dry. To prevent mineral deposits, use a water source with lower mineral content. Smile

Actually, it has never run dry. I allowed it to dry at room temperature after cleaning it and the tank has only been used since 8/13/2014. I thought it was kind of interesting. I do not remember the tank in my S8 developing this film.

Best Regards,

PaytonA
09-09-2014 03:15 PM
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PaytonA Offline
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Machine: ResMed S9 VPAP Auto
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CPAP Software: ResScan SleepyHead

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Sex: Male
Location: Orange County,California

Post: #7
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
(09-09-2014 12:15 PM)justMongo Wrote:  That's my guess. The "zonk" tank seems like the best idea I've heard of -- use the stainless steel bottom from a "dishwasher-safe" 3 piece take and the top from your regular tank.

Thanks for the suggestion, Mongo. I had forgotten about the "Zonk" tank.

Best Regards,

PaytonA
09-09-2014 03:19 PM
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DNB128 Offline

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Post: #8
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
(09-09-2014 12:56 PM)PsychoMike Wrote:  Simple solution: to minimize the formation of aluminum oxide, don't let your humidifier tank run dry. To prevent mineral deposits, use a water source with lower mineral content. Smile

PsychoMike, all winter long my tank ran dry during the night, I was never able to learn how long it was dry. Minnesota winters are cold and dry, and I've noticed my summer humidifier use barely puts a dent in the water supply. Is there anything to do for the winter to keep it from running dry?

I started cpap on Feb. 3 this year, and my humidifier didn't show a film until July or August. I picked up another at that time. I do rinse the tank every night, wash it once a week or so with other supplies.
09-09-2014 08:13 PM
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Skypilot Offline

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Post: #9
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
(09-09-2014 12:53 PM)Peter_C Wrote:  I guess I don't stress over this type of stuff very much - not sure if that is good or bad...

Too look on the bright side it is in the tank and not your lungs...
09-09-2014 09:14 PM
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justMongo Offline

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Post: #10
RE: White Film in Humidifier Tank
It's that reclaimed water in the OC.

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.
09-10-2014 07:32 AM
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