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CPAP machine smells like fireplace?

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NewResMedUser2018 +0 points · about 2 years ago Original Poster

Good morning everyone,

This is my first time posting here, or anywhere regarding my CPAP, so I’m hoping others may have similar experiences and/or feedback to help with my questions!

This past weekend, I went away with friends and we rented a house. I slept in the same room both nights, with my CPAP on the bedside table. After I went to sleep the second night, I woke up not long after to a distinct smoky smell not only inside my mask, but in the room as well. The place we rented had a big fireplace downstairs, which was in use that night, and my room on the second floor was essentially right above it; it was an open floor plan where you could talk to everyone downstairs from the second floor.

At first, I thought maybe my CPAP running on the bedside table, which was wooden, contributed to the smell, but I had no issues with it the first night. Since the fireplace was huge, and used real wood, it stands to reason that when the fireplace ran on the second night, the machine likely picked up/retained the smoky smell; my sweatshirt also smells like fire, which I only noticed this morning after having been home for a day.

I’ve washed the equipment, and it still smells basically the same. When the machine is running, it’s not as noticeable, but placing the mask/cushion to my face, it’s pretty noticeable; same goes for when you smell inside the hose. I’m eligible for new equipment replacements this month, so I don’t anticipate having to keep using the same hose and mask much longer.

Has anyone dealt with something similar regarding your CPAP machine? I’ve read a few posts about people camping/using fireplaces who had a similar experience where the equipment retained the smell, but I wanted to ask directly and give some details about my situation specifically. I’m also wondering if there’s any health risk for using the CPAP while it retains this smell; it’s not like smoke from the fireplace is being pumped directly through my machine, but I tend to get overly concerned with these things more often than not.

Any help/insight is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Sierra +0 points · about 2 years ago Sleep Patron

Welcome to the forum. I actually had an experience using my AirSense 10 AutoSet somewhat similar to yours. The cause may not be the same, but just in case, I will explain. I woke up in the night thinking that there was a fire in the house because I could smell smoke. However, there was no smoke alarm, so I convinced myself to go back to sleep. But it seemed to get worse so I even reached over to feel the machine to see if the machine was overheating or was on fire. It felt fine, so I finally got up to see what the heck was going on. What I discovered was that I had forgotten to fill my humidifier, and it had run out of water and boiled dry. The heat combined with some residual minerals etc in the bottom of the reservoir was making the stink. It was not unlike the smell from a bag of well used sports equipment. The solution was easy. Clean the reservoir and fill with clean water.

If that is not your problem, then I would suggest a thorough cleaning of your equipment if it really picked up smoke from the house. I would use full strength vinegar with a bit of a soak. This is what I use to clean my water reservoir and equipment. In your case I would follow that with a solution of baking soda and water to deodorize. Then a wash with Dawn liquid dish detergent and water, and finally a rinse with water. Hang up to drain and dry. With a thorough cleaning there should be no smell or health risk. If the issue is smoke from the house, you may want to change the air filter on the machine (located on left side). There may be some smoke smell trapped there.

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NewResMedUser2018 +0 points · about 2 years ago Original Poster

Hi Sierra,

Thank you for your response! I’ve actually had your same issue before where I used too little water in my humidifier one night, and once it ran dry I woke up to a smell of burning plastic.

This isn’t the case this time around, as my machine still had water in the morning. It’s definitely a distinct, smoky smell that I’m 99% certain had to have been picked up by the fireplace.

I’ll take your advice and do a thorough wash of the equipment when I get home today. I usually use the dawn detergent with warm-to-hot water in my sink and let the pieces soak. However, I’ll use the vinegar and baking soda beforehand and see if that makes a difference.

Thanks again!

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