One of the biggest struggles for CPAP users, both new and experienced, is reducing the water in their tube while undergoing therapy. In the industry, excess condensation in your tube is known as rainout, and not only can it be bothersome to your tube (reducing the life span of your tube, requiring more frequent replacements from the build up inside), it also has a negative effect on users who are trying to improve their comfort while wearing their masks. We’ve talked multiple times in this blog about how important wearing your CPAP daily is, including talking about the potential long term effects on your overall health in recent blog posts. One of the things we want to strive for with our blogs, and the video y you’ll see attached, is helping make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible while using your CPAP machine
First, I want to talk a little bit about rainout and what it can do to the user so you know what we’re talking about when we use it throughout this post. Rainout is excess moisture entering your CPAP mask from your tube if you’re using a humidifier, and can be the primary cause of dry throats and nasal passages. CPAP therapy is supposed to be comfortable, and while wearing a mask can take some time to get used to, if you’re struggling with rainout just using the machine daily won’t help improve the problems. Waking up with a sore throat or dry nose daily is not only uncomfortable, it can cause you to not want to use your machine on a regular basis.
Rainout can occur from a multitude of reasons, most notably the ambient temperatures in your room which can be too cold and cause condensation to build up, or being attached to a humidifier where your air is filtering over water first and entering your tube. If you’re using traditional CPAP tubing
that comes with a machine, and by traditional I mean that your tube is not heated, the temperature of your room can cause the tube to be too cold as the air is flowing. This will make it impossible for the temperature to stay a consistent temperature as it goes from your humidifier to your mask.
There are several options to make sure that your tube is a proper temperature to reduce the rain out as it goes into your mask. The most common and available option on most of the CPAP machines we sell is a heated tube. The top manufacturers such as ResMed, Respironics, Fisher and Paykel, and DeVilbiss all have heated tube options for their machines. Heated tubes tend to have different temperature settings and will ensure that the air flowing from your humidifier into your mask will stay the same temperature throughout. I should note that heated tubing is only available, and frankly only necessary if you are using a humidifier, as rainout is usually not a concern if you are undergoing therapy without humidification.
If you do not want to use a heated tube, both Respironics and ResMed have options available in the form of sleeves that will rest over your CPAP tube and help keep the temperature at a comfortable level. Unlike the heated tubes, you cannot control the temperature this way and your tube will be whatever temperature it can with the sleeve on due to the ambient temperature of the room.
Finally, for users who are using a machine that does not offer a sleeve (currently just ResMed and Respironics have available options) or a heated tube option, which several of our travel machines do not have the capability at the moment. Our resident CPAP expert, RRT Todd Ramsey mentions that it is possible for users to put their tube under their blanket while using their machine, helping to heat up the tube and reduce the condensation build up. The cheapest option available is best if your machine sits very close to your bed such as on a night stand, where you can cover the majority of the tube.
All three options will help reduce rainout for CPAP users, improving therapy comfort for users. Rainout has long been one of the biggest concern of users, as nobody wants to wake up with a sore, dry, or itchy throat while wearing their mask. Top manufacturers are always striving to help improve therapy by offering options such as heated tubes and sleeves. But getting creative at home is still an option for any CPAP user. Find the most comfortable way for you and if you have any other way of improving your therapy, leave a comment here and we can share it with other readers!
The video below was shot by our CPAP expert, RRT Todd Ramsey and will talk further about rainout and prevention.