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How to Set Up a CPAP Machine at Home

Photo of a man sleeping while wearing a CPAP mask.

Often, the first treatment option for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP therapy. It involves using a CPAP machine, which delivers pressurized air through a hose and a mask into your airway during sleep. The steady flow of air will keep your airways open, helping you sleep better.

To get the full benefits of a CPAP machine, you must set it up properly to ensure the machine is working correctly. So today, we’ll guide you. Here’s how to set up a CPAP machine at home.

1. Pick a good space for the CPAP machine

Before you plug or attach anything, pick a spot for your machine. It could be on the nightstand or the small bedside table. You may also want to consider these characteristics when selecting a dedicated space:

  • Provides stable support to the base of the machine
  • Close enough to an outlet, so you can easily plug in the device
  • Location is easy and convenient for the hose to reach the head of the bed
  • Has no obstructions that can hinder you from switching the machine on, opening the filter compartment or adding water to the humidifier.

2. Inspect the filter

Your CPAP machine comes with a replaceable filter located in a small compartment. Check to be sure the filter is a suitable type for your device. You should have been given written or oral instructions from your sleep technician about the specific details of your CPAP machine’s filter, including how to change it and which type to buy.

3. Attach the hose

Attaching the hose is a crucial step in setting up a CPAP machine. It will ensure efficient delivery of pressurized air to your mouth and airways for uninterrupted sleep.

First, attach the hose to the device. Find the machine’s dedicated connector for the hose to do it swiftly. You know you’ve affixed the hose correctly when it connects and stays in place without having you exert considerable effort or force. 

Next, connect the other end of the hose to the CPAP mask. It should click into place, signaling a tight connection. 

4. Set up the CPAP machine’s humidifier, if necessary

If your CPAP machine comes with a humidifier, fill it with distilled water. The humidifier will help moisturize the pressurized air so it won’t dry out your throat and mouth. As much as possible, use distilled water only, as tap water may come with mineral buildup and impurity issues. While filling the humidifier reservoir, be careful not to exceed the “max” fill line to prevent liquid from entering the hose. 

5. Put on the mask and adjust accordingly.

Your sleep specialist will recommend a CPAP mask depending on several factors. These include how you breathe, your type of sleep apnea, and the level of air pressure you need to sleep peacefully and safely. You may have a full-face mask or a mask that only goes over the nose. Nevertheless, all CPAP masks are held in place by one or more straps around the top or back of your head.

A man sleeping wearing a mask after setting up a CPAP machine at home

Wear the mask and attach the straps to secure it. Remember that it should form a seal against your face, but it shouldn’t press deeply into your skin. If you feel uncomfortable, adjust the position of the mask or the length of the straps.

Note that you may feel discomfort the first time you wear your CPAP mask. That’s why it’s recommended to mask-train by wearing your mask during the day. If you remain uncomfortable with your mask after several days & nights of wearing it, go back to your sleep specialist. The mask you tried on in the doctor’s office may not be the best fit when sleeping or lying down, so try to ask for another size or type.

6. Turn on the device.

Once you’ve set up every component, it’s time to switch on your CPAP machine. Check if the power cord is properly connected to the device before plugging it into an electrical outlet. Your sleep specialist or CPAP machine supplier has already set the pressure settings of your device, so it should be plug-and-play. 

After turning the device on, take note of any issue with the machine or mask. Check if you hear air escaping from your mask. If yes, you may have to adjust it for a tighter seal. You can also use a CPAP mask liner to reduce mask leaks.

7. Find a comfortable sleeping position.

Since it’s your first run at using a new CPAP machine, take your time testing out a few sleeping positions. Find a comfortable one that doesn’t interfere with your mask or block or pinch the hose. After a few more nights, you’ll get used to sleeping with a CPAP machine and gradually enjoy the benefits of CPAP therapy.

If there are any issues with your mask or machine even after a week or month of using it, you may have to consult your sleep doctor again. You can also come to us here at Pacific Sleep Care. We’ll help arrange a new CPAP machine or mask for you.

Turn to Pacific Sleep Care for Your CPAP Machine Needs

We’re one of the top suppliers of CPAP machines in Canada and our team is ready to help; come to us if you need to purchase a new device or supply for your CPAP therapy, or if you want more tips on how to set up a CPAP machine at home.

We also provide a treatment optimization period. Our team will supply you with a trial machine and fitted mask at no cost. Count on us to work closely with your sleep doctor and ensure proper CPAP machine settings. It’s our way to optimize the effectiveness of your CPAP therapy even before you buy a CPAP machine from us.

Contact us today or visit us in Campbell River, Courtenay, Duncan, or Nanaimo.

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At Pacific Sleep Care, we are committed to building knowledge of sleep apnea symptoms and the health benefits of various treatments. Our patients’ well-being is our top priority, and our team enjoys working with people to restore healthy sleep patterns and improve their quality of life.

Due to illness and COVID isolation requirements, there may be times when we have to have an unscheduled closure of a local office. Please check our Facebook page for daily updates.

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