6 Common CPAP Machine Troubleshooting Tips

Sleep apnea can be a debilitating condition that can affect your quality of sleep and pervade your daily life. Many people keep this condition at bay by turning to external apparatuses such as CPAP machines to keep their airways open and unobstructed during sleep.

However, some of these machines can be hard to use, especially if you’ve acquired them directly from the store without medical supervision. If you tinker with the settings wrongly, these machines may malfunction and stop working altogether.

To help you troubleshoot common issues with your CPAP machine, we’ve compiled these helpful tips to prevent any accidents from occurring.

How Does a CPAP Machine Work?

A CPAP machine is designed to deliver pressurized air into the user’s mask and keep their airways open during sleep. When the airways are open, users can breathe normally and freely, which essentially removes the ill effects of sleep apnea and help patients sleep better.

The machine delivers this pressurized air through a hose connected to the mask. A small motor or compressor within the machine then pumps in this pressurized air, and a regulator allows you to adjust the intensity of the air pressure.

6 CPAP Machine Troubleshooting Tips

Here are six troubleshooting tips for people who require using a CPAP machine daily.

1) Sizing Problems

When choosing a mask for a CPAP machine, getting one with the right-fitting size is essential.

If it’s too large, it can irritate or chafe throughout the night. On the flip side, a small mask could feel too tight and claustrophobic, restricting your ability to breathe freely.

It’s best to get a mask that fits snugly on your face without causing any form of pain or discomfort. Everyone’s facial structure differs, so make sure to test out different masks before selecting one.

If you’re unsure of what size you should go for, talk to your doctor before buying a CPAP mask. Some of these masks are also adjustable, so if you have one already, you don’t necessarily have to exchange it in the store for a new one.

2) Air Pressure Woes

CPAP Machines from CPAP Direct and other sleep retail brands work by blowing a continuous flow of air into the mask. This air forces your airways to open, preventing any blockages or obstructions from occurring during sleep.

However, some people may find it difficult to tolerate the air pressure setting on the machine at first, especially ones that produce too high of a pressure. If this is an issue for you, it’s recommended that you get a machine with an adjustable pressure setting.

Furthermore, some machines come with a ramping feature. This setting allows the pressure to gradually increase until it reaches the desired level, making it easier for you to sleep while easing into the therapy.

BiPAP machines are also an option. These machines allow you to customize your own pressure settings that can be adjusted throughout the night, depending on your needs.

3) Leaky Masks

If you have an ill-fitting mask, air might escape through the sides and create a loud whistling sound, disturbing your sleep. This can also enter your eyes, causing eye dryness and irritation.

To prevent this from occurring, it’s important to make sure that your mask is properly fitted to your face. Avoid having the mask touch the upper-most part of your nose’s bridge to avoid air from flowing into your eyes. You may also use straps and pads to close up any holes or gaps the mask may be creating.

4) Noisy CPAP Machine

If the noise coming out of your mask isn’t from air leakage, it could be coming from the CPAP itself. This can be caused by a faulty motor or fan within the machine.

When this happens, air won’t blow out of the mask as efficiently, making it difficult for you to breathe. If you hear a loud clicking sound coming from the machine, make sure to switch it off and contact your manufacturer for assistance.

Depending on the severity of the noise, you’d either have to fix the parts, replace them, or replace the machine entirely.

5) Humidifier Refilling Problems

CPAP machines don’t always come with humidifiers, and depending on where you live, they may not even need one.

However, if your CPAP machine comes with a humidifier, it’s important to fill the chamber with distilled water. This helps soothe and moisturize the air that comes out of the machine, preventing any dryness or irritation in your nose, mouth, or throat.

If you’ve noticed that the humidifier doesn’t seem to use up any water, make sure to check the water chamber to see if there are problems. Try emptying the water chamber and pouring in a new batch of distilled water to see if that fixes the issue.

If you’re still struggling with water refilling problems, you may have to replace the humidifier entirely. Alternatively, you could look into buying a new CPAP machine that comes with its own humidifier.

6) Tiredness After CPAP Mask Usage

Sleep apnea disturbs the sleep cycle, making it difficult to achieve the full health benefits of quality sleep.

With a CPAP machine, your airways can stay open all night long, allowing for better and more restful sleep.

However, if you feel exhausted after a night of CPAP usage, it could indicate that your machine isn’t producing the right air pressure or that your mask is ill-fitted.

If either of these is the case, it’s recommended to contact your sleep doctor for assistance. You may also have to replace certain parts of your machine or change the mask entirely to better manage your sleep apnea symptoms.