Should I use my humidifier in the summer?

CPAP and summer

Last updated on January 30th, 2023 at 04:58 pm

Summer CPAP Humidifier Use

Generally, most CPAP users don’t need a humidifier during the summer because the air is much warmer than in the winter.

As illogical as it may sound, your body needs water when you breathe. The average person loses between 0.5 to 1 litre of water per day just by breathing. Your lungs must be continually moistened when breathing air while taking in the oxygen you need and eliminating the carbon dioxide you don’t need.

On average, air contains around 5% water vapour.

CPAP humidifier settings in the summer

Here are a few examples of when a CPAP machine humidifier may be needed in the summer:

  • If you feel it’s cooler outside than it is inside. Low humidity can also make it seem much cooler than it actually is, which indicates that you will need to use the humidifier.
  • This may be unlikely in the UK, but If you’re running the AC (air conditioning) in your home, the AC makes the air in your bedroom cooler and dry; your humidifier increases comfort. Therefore a humidifier, in this instance, would increase comfort.
  • Maybe your body requires more moisture. CPAP users’ personal needs and bodies can be very different.
  • Mouth breathing or a mask leak could be the problem. Escaping air uses up a lot of humidity, which will, in turn, cause more issues.
  • Lastly, you could be affected by seasonal allergies and need humidification to break up congestion; using a full-face CPAP mask can help.

Problems with humidified air from your CPAP humidifier

A possible drawback of humidified air is Rainout, the proper name for condensation build-up in the tubing and mask. Rainout can result in a gargling noise or general discomfort, particularly common in the winter months. It is likely to happen because the tubing and CPAP mask will be at room temperature (20–22 °C (68–72 °F)), causing the warmer air from the CPAP machine to cool and condense as a result.

F&P Evora Full Face Mask - Man on Pillow
Fisher & Paykel Evora Full Face Mask

Ways to counteract Rainout (condensation build-up)

You can opt to use a heated CPAP hose, such as the Hybernite Universal Heated CPAP Tube. The heated hose ensures the temperature difference inside the tubing is negligible, preventing Rainout and ensuring the air reaches you at the correct temperature.

ResMed AirSense 10 CPAP with HumidAir Humidifier
ResMed AirSense 10 CPAP Machine with Humidifier

What Does a CPAP Humidifier do?

If you wake up with a dry mouth, nose or throat, a humidifier should instantly solve that problem. Adding moisture to the air provided by your CPAP machine helps keep your mouth and the nasal passage from drying out throughout the night. Similarly, if you find the air from your CPAP to be cold and uncomfortable, a humidifier adds warmth to the moist air, and this should make your therapy more comfortable. Most CPAP machines do not come with a humidifier; they are an optional extra and device-specific.

Most heated tubes are machine specific. However, if you cannot find a heated tube for your device, you can use the Hybernite Universal Heated CPAP Tube with your humidifier to provide the best humification.

Helpful articles:

CPAP dry mouth: What causes it & ways to stop it

Can I use distilled water in my CPAP machine?

If you have any questions or need some support, please contact us. 

Author Jenny Hall