Using a humidifier

Using a humidifier

A humidifier unit can be added to your NIV machine. This contains water that is gently heated to give off a little water vapour. This makes the air moist.

Sometimes people can experience a dry mouth when using NIV, due to the air blowing via the mask over a few hours. All makes and models of NIV machines have humidifier units and you may be given one of these. These have several features in common – a water chamber and a heating plate (a bit like a kettle) that warms the water slightly, to make the water vapour. The air flows over the warm water before it enters the tube, so that the air that enters your mask is slightly moist and less drying on the mouth.

Your humidifier should only be used when the unit is kept in a steady position (e.g. overnight), so cannot be used with a battery pack if you are out and about.

Look at our Step by Step Guide to see the basics of using a humidifier, and read our Top Tips to get the most out of using one.


Attaching the humidifier unit

The humidifier unit attaches to the main NIV machine. It clicks into place and can remain there. The tube will now attach to the port on the humidifier and allow the moistened air to flow to your mask.


Attach humidifier

The heating element

The humidifier has a metal heating element in its base – similar to a kettle. This element is safely contained inside the unit. It heats the water just enough to let off a little water vapour, therefore moistening the air flow.

The water chamber

The humidifier has a water chamber and a port to add the water. You can use tap or cooled boiled water – the choice is up to you. Add water until you reach the ‘fill’ level – do not overfill the chamber.

FIll chamber

Click in the water chamber

After filling the chamber, slot it back into the humidifier unit. Make sure all fittings have clicked securely into place and take care not to splash the water near the power supply. Attach the unit to the main machine.


Starting the humidifier

Your machine’s display will show the humidifier is attached. Press the button to start the humidifier. Some models have different levels of humidification, so you can vary it according to how dry your mouth feels.


Where to place it

As water may condense in the tube, it is important to stop this running towards your mask. Position the machine lower than your head – such as on the floor.


When to use it

Only use the humidifier when the NIV machine is in a steady position – such as by your bed or a chair. Do not use it if you are moving about, as water may splash about inside the machine.

Using a humidifier - tips from NIV users like you
In colder weather you may notice more condensation forming inside your tube. You can cover the tube with a fluffy tube covers. These are available to buy. This should help reduce the amount of condensation.
Submitted by Anne
If you live in an area with hard water, you may wish to use distilled water, to prevent a build up of scale inside your unit.
Submitted by Alison
There are many other ways to help relieve a dry mouth - such as artificial saliva sprays and lip balm. Ask your Care Centre team for advice and supplies.
Submitted by Ann
Sometimes you may experience excess saliva - again there are ways to tackle this, such as medication. Ask your Care Centre for advice. However, you may find that the drying effect of the machine comes in handy here, helping to dry up your saliva overnight.
Submitted by Dennis