A CPAP machine's display flashes and red frowny face

What Does the Red Face on My CPAP Machine Mean?

Last updated: September 2022

Your CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine generally works flawlessly, but it can have some issues. One issue you may see from time to time is the red “frown” face showing up on the display. The indicator is a warning that there’s an issue with your mask seal which has several causes. This guide will walk you through why this happens, and what to do about it.

Possible meanings for a CPAP red face

Mask isn’t tight

You may get a red face if the mask is too loose. Your mask needs to be somewhat tight on your face. It should feel snug, and not move around. If you adjust the straps around the mask, you should no longer get the red frown face appearing.

Clasp has come off

At night, the clasps that hold the mask straps to your face sometimes come loose. You may never even know the strap is loose until the morning. If this occurs, you’ll get a red frown face. Once the clasp is reattached you should no longer see the light appear.

Wrong mask fit

If your mask isn’t sized correctly to your face type, you may get a red frown face occurring. Your sleep provider can help you pick out the right face mask size, so the seal and fit around your face is correct.

Bad hose

if you have a leak in your hose, a red face may occur. In this case, you’ll have to pinpoint where the leak is. A leaky hose will need to be replaced by your sleep provider. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly where the leak is, so if you’re not sure, take it to your provider and have them look at it.

Old mask

Your mask wears out over time. In most cases, it needs to be replaced once each year. If the mask is too old it may not seal correctly, and this will cause leaks that trigger the red face light. Check with your provider about when you need to replace your equipment.

Equipment malfunction

A red frown face that doesn’t go away may indicate an internal malfunction in your machine itself and not the mask. This is something that your sleep provider will have to address. If you have a red face that doesn’t go away, there may be a serious issue with the machine.

Dirty mask

Your mask needs to be cleaned often. A dirty mask may not seal properly, so give it a good cleaning and see if the frown face goes away the next time you use it. Make sure you also clean the hose and ensure there’s no debris around the seal for the water tank which may be causing a leak.

Community Poll

What did the red face on your CPAP machine mean?🥵


The red frown face is annoying, but it’s a good indicator that something may not be quite right with the mask seal. In most cases, this can be fixed right away. If the face continues to show up, talk to your sleep provider.

Does your CPAP machine ever have a red face? Please share a comment below.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

What themes would you like to see your fellow community members write about?