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CPAP Troubleshooting

People often have a few teething issues when starting CPAP.

Acclimatising to the CPAP machine

It is a great idea when first starting with the machine to practice using it while doing a distracting activity such as watching the tv, reading, listening to music or surfing the internet. Furthermore, if you have difficulty falling asleep give yourself say an hour after you would normally fall asleep and if you haven’t fallen asleep, stop the CPAP and try again the following night.

Mask Issues

Leaks can be a result of incorrectly putting the mask on, headgear incorrectly placed or a poorly fitting mask – sizing may be wrong.

Firstly check that you are putting the mask on correctly select your mask manufacturer from the following list and then select your mask type:

ResMed mask fitting guides

Philips Respironics mask fitting guides

Fisher & Paykel mask fitting guides

ResMed AirSense 10 machine guides

ResMed AirMini machine guides

Philips Respironics DreamStation guides

Philips Respironics DreamStation Go guides

Fisher & Paykel machine guides

Mask discomfort – No mask should cause pain nor discomfort if sized correctly and fitted properly. If irritation or sores are developing, chances are you are over tightening your mask. Your mask cushion may be worn out and need replacing. Mask liners called RemZzz’s (available from us) might also resolve skin irritation and mask leak.

Mouth Leaks – can be problematic for some people using nasal masks. (Most people who mouth breathe when not using CPAP won’t mouth breathe when they are using it) If you do have problems a chin strap may help or changing to a full face mask may be the answer.

Dry Mouth

If you are troubled by a dry mouth humidification (or adjusting it) may assist. A chin strap may resolve the problem if using a nasal mask. If these simple measures don’t work a full face mask may be required.

Air Pressure

Too high – the machines are attempting to achieve a pressure and will increase flow as you breathe in and decrease it as you breath out. If you start “fighting the machine” or panicking the large fast breaths result in the the machine flow boosting as you breathe in and as you start to breathe out you will “hit a wall of air” before the machine has a chance to cut the flow down. If this starts to happen to you, turn the machine off, settle the breathing down and switch it back on again.


If the settings are wrong you may experience rain-out with water collecting in the tubing. Better CPAP machines have heated tubing so this can be kept to a minimum by increasing the heating of the tube. If not enough humidification you may get nasal symptoms – see below.

Nasal symptoms

These can be nasal congestion, runny nose, dry nose, even nose bleeds. These are usually best overcome by humidification to moisten the air.