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persistent odor problem
I'm having a problem that, near as I can tell, few people or no one else seems to be having - I have to wash my cpap hose out every day, or at least every other day, due to an odor that I think is mold or mildew growing in the tiny bits of residual moisture in the hose from the humidifier.

- tried going without humidifier, wake up with dry mouth and throat. I would prefer to figure out and solve this problem.

- I figured maybe it was because I live in Florida, warm and with high humidity. But my dad uses a cpap too, and also lives in Florida and doesn't seem to notice a problem. Maybe I have mold sensitivity?

- I thought maybe I have a mold problem in my house, as I recall it being less of a problem in my previous house. So I went to Lowes and bought one of those test kits where you leave the little petri dish open for a day then close it. I was expecting a gross jungle, like food forgotten in the fridge for 6 months, but hardly anything grew in it.

- I thought maybe it was from that time I stayed in a hotel and knocked my cpap off the nightstand, maybe splashing water from the humidifier tank deeper inside. But a few months back my power brick died while under warranty and they gave my a whole new machine. The new one has the same problem.

- My previous CPAP, a Resmed S9, did this but to a lesser degree. The Airsense 10 I have now is a nicer machine but there are things I don't like about its design - the two soft rubber pieces that the humidifier tank mates with for example, only one is removable and cleanable. And sometimes it makes a squealing noise because they didn't seal properly against the tank, and I have to take the tank out and pop it back in sometimes a couple of times before it seals. Also don't like all the sharp 90 degree angles in the air path, moisture collects more at these bends.

I'm not sure what I should do next. But if anyone else has experienced this, knows a solution, etc. I would be grateful.
Also, I am considering getting rid of my Airsense 10 and either buying a Dreamstation, or just going back to my Resmed S9, so any suggestions on where I could sell my Airsense 10 and get the most for it would also be appreciated (I understand you can't put them on ebay).
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Have you replaced the filter, water chamber, hose and then still detect the odor?
Have you tried a strong disinfectant like Control III that is available from your favorite CPAP supplies store?
Have you discussed the matter with your physician as some drugs, diseases, and environmental substances can affect your odor detection abilities?
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
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I use control iii, and also the citrus cleaner. The smell always goes away when i clean, then starts to become noticeable again after around 6-8 hours. I replace the filter at least once per month. I bought some special hepa filters for it once, made no difference. I've replaced the hose and tank. I've spoken to my physician, who immediately referred me to the supplier, who immediately swapped out the machine. Smell came back. They are glorified mail room clerks.
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The Resmed Airsense humidifier tank does not offer much refuge for organisms, especially since you're using Control III. Your problem is perplexing in that it returns so quickly following sanitizing cleaning. I think you need to look at environmental issues. Where do you keep and use your unit?
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You mentioned that your father is on CPAP and also lives in Florida. Humidity can vary considerably from location to location even in the same general area. The relative humidity also varies widely dependent on temperature. Your humidity in the house can be much higher than outside if your house is 10 degrees cooler than outside and vice versa.

You do not mention if you use a heated hose but that might help if you do not. You mentioned many right angle bends in the A10 air flow system. Are they in the humidifier or the machine itself. The humidifier having a complex air path is probably designed that way to improve moisture pickup.

Best regards,


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PaytonA passed away in September 2017
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~ Rest in Peace ~
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The humidity in your house could be the culprit. I suggest you check it with a sling psychrometer. I do not trust the digital ones, but if you must use one you could take readings at your house and at your father's house and see if there's difference.

Many air conditioning systems will cool the air without removing the humidity. It will cause problems with your health, too.
Apnea Board Moderator

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Hi FrizzleFry,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Good luck to you with your CPAP therapy and figuring out what is causing the smell.
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You may need to be more specific concerning type of humidity you are talking about. Any normal compression/expansion type air conditioner will remove moisture from the air along with reducing air temperature. So it has reduced the absolute humidity. Has it reduced the relative humidity? Maybe or maybe not.


If you are going to use a sling psychrometer, make sure that you have plenty of clearance. I have known of a fair number of sling psychrometers that met their end due to insufficient clearance.

Best Regards,


Admin Note:
PaytonA passed away in September 2017
Click HERE to read his Memorial Thread

~ Rest in Peace ~
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Hi FrizzleFry and welcome to the forum!

Based on my own experience, I am wondering if it's possibly a simple thing like using too much detergent (ie Dawn dish soap) when you are cleaning the hose. I have noticed a vague odour from time to time which I finally figured out that I was using way too much detergent when cleaning the hose every day. I did this daily hose cleaning, in addition to mask and tank daily for over 8 months. Now I use less detergent and only wash the hose 1x a week. Solved my issue.

I hope you figure this out soon and that it is a simple fix. Good luck and keep us posted!
APNEABOARD - A great place to be if you're a hosehead!! Rolleyes

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Hi FrizzleFry,

You have worked hard to keep the equipment clean, and even replaced the entire machine and yet the odor persists. Next step is to determine if the source of the odor is not in the machine but something nearby.

One thing a CPAP machine will do is concentrate any outside odor that comes in through the air intake.

Maybe the odor is coming from something near the machine. So move the machine and see if it goes away.

You indicate the odor returns after about 6-8 hours. Consider what might cause odors at night that wouldn't be there or wouldn't be noticeable during the day. Maybe the A/C doesn't run as much at night, and so something undetectable when the air is moving might emerge when the air is still.

Maybe the dog sleeps on the floor near your bed? Many people have shared stories about dogs and inconsiderate partners that would make you smile or wince. Smile

So think about all the things that might cause an odor in the area near your machine. Think about what sort of mild odor might be undetectable during the day but noticeable at night.

Remember that the machine air intake will concentrate odors and will also effectively move your nose right to the place where the intake is. Something I learned from walking my avatar pup: the fresh smell of grass that we don't notice while walking over it will envelope your senses when you sit down in it. I could mention similar experiments that are less pleasant involving proximity to other things pups like to do. Whatever is near the intake several feet away that you normally don't notice will become apparent when the mask/hose/machine focus your sense of smell on the spot where the intake vent is.

When you notice the odor while breathing through the machine, try disconnecting the hose from the machine, and while still wearing the mask carry the hose with you and walk to another part of the house. Give it a minute or so to clear the air in the tube through normal breathing. Then see if the odor goes away while still breathing through the mask and hose when you are away from the place where you normally sleep. If it does, then that suggests an outside source near the machine. Then walk back to where the machine is and hold the end of the hose near the machine intake and see if the odor comes back after another minute or so. If this experiment rings a bell, then think like an anteater and find the source of the odor using the hose.

Based on what you have done up to now, it's time to think outside the box, so to speak.

Saldus Miegas
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