a happy CPAP machine in the palm of two hands with hearts around it

How to Deal With 5 Common CPAP Problems

Last updated: April 2022

Like all electronic devices, your CPAP machine can suffer from different problems. You may have experienced some of the issues I have listed below. Here's how you can deal with these common issues when they occur.

1. The red frown face

The digital display on your device will show both a happy face and a frown face. When the "happy" face is displayed, your machine is working fine. However, you may see a sad "frown" face in some cases. There are several reasons for this.

The frowning face is usually displayed when you have a loose mask. I experienced this several times when my mask wasn't secure. You should check your mask for a snug fit if this happens to you. At night, the mask clips may also detach, and this can cause the frown face to appear.

2. A noisy hose

A noise coming from the hose usually indicates a hole in the hose itself or it's not appropriately attached to the mask or machine. This problem can be a bit harder to pinpoint, so here's what you need to do.

The first thing is to ensure that the main hose is attached securely to the machine and that any smaller hoses are secure on the mask. Sometimes, something may not be clipped on properly, and this can cause poor airflow and noises. If you still notice a noise, your hose may have a leak or a hole, so this will require a new hose.

3. Water in your hose or machine

In some cases, water can get into the machine and the hose, which will cause gurgling and sputtering sounds. You shouldn't panic if this occurs because the problem is minor.

If you washed the hose, there might be some water still left in it. Take the hose off and allow it to dry completely before attaching back onto the machine. If you knock the machine at night when sleeping, water may get in the hose and machine.

I once knocked my machine off my nightstand and had to let the machine rest for a day before the water inside it dried out. If you get water inside and it doesn't seem to dry out, contact your sleep provider for instructions.

4. Water leaks on your nightstand

A water leak on the nightstand may seem like a huge problem, but there's usually 1 main culprit causing this issue.

Water tanks that come with CPAP machines are made with plastic, but this degrades over time. Your tank may develop small leaks that can quickly turn into large ones. Check the tank periodically to see if there's any water seepage.

I recently suffered from a tank failure and had water all over the table. I called my sleep provider, and they sent me a new tank right away. It's a good idea to have a spare tank on hand in case yours fails unexpectedly as mine did.

5. Bad airflow

If your machine has bad airflow, this is usually caused by a poor mask fit or a failing hose, so check those first The machine may also not be set up properly for the required airflow, and your sleep provider can change these settings.

Take care of your CPAP machine

Make sure you clean your equipment each week to keep it in a good hygienic condition. Inspect the hoses water tank, and look for a loose mask or other issues each time you use your CPAP. Take care of your CPAP machine and enjoy better quality sleep.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SleepApnea.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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