How to Change the Settings on a CPAP Machine


If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, you may be prescribed a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help you sleep. The settings on the CPAP machine are done by the technician when you initially receive the device. The settings, based on the prescription of your sleep specialist come directly from your time in a sleep study. You are advised to never change the settings on your CPAP machine without consulting your physician.

Things You'll Need

  • CPAP machine
  • Model type
  • CPAP manual
  • Sleep study

Determine which model of CPAP that you have. ResMed is one of the largest producers of CPAP machines. Your machine should have come with a manual that details the model number and any data specific to your machine.

Unplug the power cord from the back of the machine. Hold down the user buttons beneath the display while plugging the cord back in. Continue to hold the buttons down until the machine beeps. The CPAP machine should now be in setup mode.

Check the display for the settings. You can adjust the settings for number of hours used, elevation, therapy mode, pressure calibration, ramp time and alarm modes. To scroll through the settings (or skip them), press the right user button.

Understand what you are programming. Standard elevation settings refer to your elevation above sea level (from 2,500 feet to 7,500 feet). Changing the ramp settings allows you to lengthen the time the pressure builds up gradually (typically 10 to 15 minutes). You can set the ramp time to take as long as 45 minutes. This allows you plenty of time to fall asleep before the heavier pressure begins. It may also reduce the pressure the machine begins at. To change the CPAP pressure itself, you’ll need to understand the manometer and what level of pressure you need to keep your airways open. It’s recommended that you do not change this setting at all.

Do not adjust the CPAP machine’s primary settings without contacting your physician or technician help service. The CPAP machine is designed to keep your airways open and your breathing regular throughout the night. If the settings are changed without understanding what you are doing, you could put your health at risk.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult your physician prior to adjusting your CPAP machine. Participate in a sleep study prior to using a CPAP machine.

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