CPAP Troubleshooting – Fixing a Leak in a CPAP Mask

A leaky CPAP mask is a serious problem. If air is escaping from your mask, that means you aren't getting the proper air pressure you need to completely treat your sleep apnea. It can also cause discomfort in the airways and nasal passages, causing them to dry out and become irritated, even with the use of the CPAP humidifier.

The air coming from your CPAP machine through the mask is supposed to act as a splint to hold your airways open while you sleep. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, you might need a higher air pressure than someone with a less severe case of sleep apnea.

This is why it's so important to always get the correct air pressure. Don't want to feel worse or put your health in danger, and you don't want to be using the CPAP machine for nothing.

There are two different types of CPAP mask leaks that you should be aware of. If you notice one of these leaks, you should let your sleep therapist know as soon as possible, or something yourself to fix the problem.

Seal Leak. The leak in the seal of the CPAP mask is the most common kind of leak. This is often caused by an ill-fitting mask, and it happens when there's a small space between your face and the seal.

Mouth Leak. This happens when you breathe with your mouth open while you sleep, and the air coming from the mask escapes from your throat out of your mouth.

What happens when your CPAP mask leaks?

Both of these types of mask leaks can cause the same problems. If the pressure isn't being maintained, not only will it affect your health, but it can also impair the machine's sensors, and how the CPAP can respond with the right amount of air pressure. This will ultimately cause your CPAP machine to break down faster and need to be maintained more than usual.

A leak in the seal can cause air to blow on your face and in your eyes, which is a very annoying sensation. This is also when nasal irritation takes place because the air isn't going where it's supposed to.

How do you prevent CPAP mask leaks?

If you get a seal leak, it might be because of a crease in the seal, either from tightening too much or from moving and causing the seal to bend. Turn off the machine and pull the mask away from your face, just enough to straighten out the curve, and rest it back against your face.

You can also choose a high quality mask that won't bend in the seal. You can wear the mask looser, and it still won't create a leak.

Another solution is a special pillow called a CPAPillow, which is shaped in a way to prevent leaks.

11 thoughts on “CPAP Troubleshooting – Fixing a Leak in a CPAP Mask”

  • peggy connolly

    my mask suddenly started leaking 5 days ago .

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Have you worked to successfully troubleshoot your mask? If not you're welcome to contact our Service department at 877-303-9289.

      Reply
  • Paul Langford

    I have just purchased a Resmed Air Touch Ultra Soft Memorary foam cushion for my Resmed F20 full face mask and it has totally eliminated all the leakage problems that I had before.It has taken 10 years for Resmed to design and produce this piece of genius.The memorary foam forms to the profile of your face to give a perfectly comfortable air tight seal.

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Paul. We are glad to hear you are enjoying your new face mask from our friends over at Resmed. Let us know if you have any further questions!

      Reply
  • Nana

    I use bipap and oxygen and my greatest problem is my mask leaks air on my face. I have brought 3 different masks and continue to suffer in the night. Please advise. Thanks

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Nana. If you'd like you're more than welcome to reach out to our Service Department at 877-303-9289 and they may be able to walk you through troubleshooting your mask leakage over the phone.

      Reply
  • wayne vejraska

    I began having a little bit of mask leak several months ago. 5 days ago they replaced my O2 concentrator since I've had it for a year, and now I have no mask leak at all. It seems like too much of a coincidence to me, but for some reason swapping out the concentrator fixed my "mask leak".

    Reply
  • Steve S

    I have had great difficulty over many yrs finding an effective cpap solution. I finally did within the last yr with a nasal pillow mask. However, I still have major mouth leaking with it that negatively impaxts my qualty of sleep, treatment. I have tried numerous chin straps. Is there another solution? Could it be my pressure is too high? It is set at minimum of 8. Please help.

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Steve. If you'd like you can reach out to our Service Department at 877-303-9289. If you'll provide them with a little bit more information regarding your current solution, the current state of your mask, and the other options you have tried they'll be able to best assist you in trouble-shooting your leaking.

      Reply
  • Carl Glaza

    I have a nasal resmed n20 and I can not get a good seal I have got air leaks on all my masks I have had what can I do to get rid of those air leaks

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Carl. Are there any noticeable cracks visible on the masks themselves or wear on the tubing?

      Reply

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