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algae in my humidifier
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jpsantell Offline

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Posts: 18
Joined: Feb 2014

Machine: REmstar Auto Apap system one
Mask Type: Nasal mask
Mask Make & Model: Resmed Swift
Humidifier: humidifier set at 3
CPAP Pressure: set to auto 7-16
CPAP Software: Not using software

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Sex: Male
Location: Western NY

Post: #1
algae in my humidifier
Saturday night I put fresh distilled water in my humidifier, Sunday I went up to take a nap and smelled something a little funky when I turned on my cpap. The smell went away after a few seconds but last night when I went to check the level in my tank I saw algae in it , crap, it looked like my pool after a week long vacation. It's been hot and humid here but in all my years I have never seen anything like this. I cleaned it as best I could this morning also cleaned the mask and hose but do you think it will be ok to put a little bleach in the tank for a few hours soak to kill the algae? I of course will wash and rinse before I use it. Jeeze! I was breathing that crap, no wonder I have a cough that won't go away.
07-12-2016 05:44 AM
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OpalRose Offline

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Posts: 3,181
Joined: Nov 2014

Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto 560 with A Flex
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: AirFit P10 For Her
Humidifier: REMStar heated humidifier with heated hose
CPAP Pressure: Auto Cpap 10-13 AFLEX 1
CPAP Software: SleepyHead EncoreBasic

Other Comments: Started CPAP Therapy October 23, 2014

Sex: Female
Location: Northeast Ohio, USA

Post: #2
RE: algae in my humidifier
What sort of cleaning schedule do you follow? Your tank should be washed and rinsed once a week.

This is what I do:
First thing in morning, remove water chamber, empty water and leave air dry. Also leave the top cover to the humidifier open to allow air circulation though the humidifier.

I only use distilled water, and don't fill it until time for bed.

I wouldn't recommend using bleach. It may kill the algae, but then you will breath in that odor too. At this point, I would not use that chamber. Buy a new one! They aren't that expensive.

Also, that algae may be in your hose too. REPLACE IT!
You only have one set of lungs!

OpalRose
07-12-2016 06:11 AM
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green wings Offline

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Posts: 548
Joined: Feb 2016

Machine: Respironics System One RemStar Pro (460)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: AirFit P10
Humidifier: integrated humidifier
CPAP Pressure: 13.0 cm
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: using CPAP since Jan. 2016

Sex: Undisclosed
Location: US

Post: #3
RE: algae in my humidifier
Everything I have read about cleaning CPAP machines says to never, ever use bleach. I was also told this by the respiratory therapist who showed me how to set up and use my CPAP machine when I got it.

Vinegar is recommended rather than bleach if you need a cleaner with some "bite" to it.

I agree with OpalRose about replacing your humidifier chamber. You can buy a new one from an online supplier for under $30, including shipping. (see list at the top of this page or just do a web search for "PR System One Humidifier Chamber". A new hose is probably a good idea, too. Those are less than $10.

Here's to algae-free breathing for you! Sleep-well
07-12-2016 09:16 AM
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chill Offline

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Machine: DreamStation X500
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: Walk-in Mask Closet
Humidifier: DreamStation
CPAP Pressure: 13-16
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: CPAP True Believer

Sex: Male
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Post: #4
RE: algae in my humidifier
I wonder if you got some bad distilled water. I'd think that algae needs something to eat and distilled water has nothing.

Fill it full of Hydrogen Peroxide, let it soak until it stops foaming, and rinse it out. That works for the mildew in the water tank of my coffee machine.

I suppose some aquarium snails are out of the question? SHa_biggrin5
(This post was last modified: 07-12-2016 11:19 AM by chill.)
07-12-2016 11:18 AM
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eseedhouse Offline

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Posts: 882
Joined: Dec 2014

Machine: ResMed Airsense 10 Autoset
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: SimPlus
Humidifier: ResMed
CPAP Pressure: 7-10
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Also on supplemental O2 at 3L/min. while sleeping.

Sex: Male
Location: Victoria, British Columbia

Post: #5
RE: algae in my humidifier
I think Hydrogen Peroxide is a safe enough bleach. The usual chlorine bleaches should be avoided because they leave an awful smell behind unless washed many times. I have used H2O2 to sterilize my humidifier a number of times with not noticeable smell afterwards.

Ed Seedhouse
VA7SDH

I am neither a Doctor, nor any other kind of medical professional.

Actually you know, it is what it isn't.
07-12-2016 07:30 PM
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justMongo Offline

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Machine: ResMed VPAP Auto (S9)
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Location: Калифорния

Post: #6
RE: algae in my humidifier
Doesn't algae require light to survive? Algae blooms are usually near the surface, require CO2, and light for photosynthesis.
Or, am I off on my marine flora biology?

I think H2O2 is a great idea.

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.
07-12-2016 07:53 PM
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eseedhouse Offline

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Posts: 882
Joined: Dec 2014

Machine: ResMed Airsense 10 Autoset
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: SimPlus
Humidifier: ResMed
CPAP Pressure: 7-10
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Also on supplemental O2 at 3L/min. while sleeping.

Sex: Male
Location: Victoria, British Columbia

Post: #7
RE: algae in my humidifier
I don't think we know he actually had algae growth unless he took samples and put it under a microscope. Just because it looks like algae doesn't mean it is. Algae are not visible individually without a microscope. Also, properly distilled water won't grow algae because there is nothing in it for them to eat. Plants require nutrients just as much as animals do.

Ed Seedhouse
VA7SDH

I am neither a Doctor, nor any other kind of medical professional.

Actually you know, it is what it isn't.
07-12-2016 08:00 PM
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WakeUpTime Offline

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Machine: PR System One BiPAP S60 Auto 760
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Post: #8
RE: algae in my humidifier
I'm amazed how many people don't do a daily cleaning schedule, but prefer to do a hard chemical cleaning after a significant period of time.

Why not clean every day with a mild soap? I do this every day and I've never felt I needed to do a strong chemical cleanse -- even after two years.

Make it part of your daily morning routine to wash the tank and mask with soap each day. The hose should be washed at least once weekly. One part vinegar, one part water, is good as a gentle quick natural clean on everything too.

Sleep Apnea has given me a terrible memory. Please forgive me if I've repeated myself.
(This post was last modified: 07-12-2016 08:47 PM by WakeUpTime.)
07-12-2016 08:44 PM
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OMyMyOHellYes Offline

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Posts: 915
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Machine: Respironics 560 Auto
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Sex: Male
Location: Texas

Post: #9
RE: algae in my humidifier
(07-12-2016 08:44 PM)WakeUpTime Wrote:  I'm amazed how many people don't do a daily cleaning schedule, but prefer to do a hard chemical cleaning after a significant period of time.

Why not clean every day with a mild soap? I do this every day and I've never felt I needed to do a strong chemical cleanse -- even after two years.

Too much work, too little return?

If it bothers ya, go for it. However, I find dumping it out, letting it dry, always using bottled distilled water and throwing it in the dishwasher every few weeks works well.

OMMOHY
07-12-2016 09:29 PM
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eseedhouse Offline

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Posts: 882
Joined: Dec 2014

Machine: ResMed Airsense 10 Autoset
Mask Type: Full face mask
Mask Make & Model: SimPlus
Humidifier: ResMed
CPAP Pressure: 7-10
CPAP Software: SleepyHead

Other Comments: Also on supplemental O2 at 3L/min. while sleeping.

Sex: Male
Location: Victoria, British Columbia

Post: #10
RE: algae in my humidifier
I can't see the point of throwing away perfectly good distilled water, myself. I usually wipe the cushions each night with a wet wipe, mostly because I like the smell. Really folks, germs are all around us and within us and all over our skin all the time. Yet we still manage to live somehow.

Ed Seedhouse
VA7SDH

I am neither a Doctor, nor any other kind of medical professional.

Actually you know, it is what it isn't.
07-12-2016 11:16 PM
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