CPAP Battery Backup: The Complete Guide
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are a lifeline for individuals with sleep apnea, ensuring uninterrupted breathing throughout the night.
But what happens during power outages or when traveling off the grid? Enter the realm of CPAP battery backups - solutions designed to provide consistent power to these vital machines.
Published: October 5, 2023.
What is a CPAP Machine?
A CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is a medical device used to treat sleep apnea, a disorder where an individual's breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
The CPAP machine works by delivering a continuous stream of air through a hose to a mask that the user wears over their nose, mouth, or both. This continuous airflow keeps the user's airway open, preventing the pauses in breathing that characterize sleep apnea.
There are several key components to a CPAP machine:
- Motor: The primary component that draws in room air to pressurize it. Most modern CPAP motors are nearly silent.
- Hose: Connects the motor to the mask, transferring the pressurized air to the user.
- Mask: Comes in various styles and sizes to accommodate different facial structures and user preferences. It can cover the nose and mouth, just the nose (nasal continuous positive airway pressure, NCPAP), or even use prongs that fit into the nose.
- Filter: Ensures the air being delivered is clean and free from dust or allergens.
- Humidifier: Optional for many CPAP machines, but can make the air more comfortable to breathe by adding moisture, especially in dry climates or for users who find the machine dries out their throat or nasal passages.
By maintaining an open airway, the CPAP machine helps alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring and daytime fatigue and reduces the associated health risks, which can include hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.
Note: Before a patient is prescribed a CPAP machine, they typically undergo a sleep study to diagnose the severity of their sleep apnea and determine the appropriate air pressure settings.
What are CPAP Machine Power and Energy Requirements?
The power and energy requirements for a CPAP machine can vary based on the model, manufacturer, and additional features (like heated humidifiers).
However, general guidelines for their typical power and energy requirements are:
- Voltage: Most modern CPAP machines are designed to operate on a standard voltage range (100-240V), making them suitable for use in various countries, regardless of the local power standards.
- Wattage: The average CPAP machine without a humidifier typically uses between 30 to 60 watts. When a heated humidifier is added, the power consumption can increase, sometimes up to about 100-150 watts. To find out the actual wattage requirements for your model, check the documentation.
- Daily Energy Consumption: Using the average values, if you run a CPAP machine for 8 hours without a humidifier:
E(Wh) = 30W × 8h = 240Wh or 0.24 kWh
E(Wh) = 60W × 8h = 480Wh or 0.48 kWh
CPAP machine with a humidifier:
E(Wh) = 100W × 8h = 800Wh or 0.8 kWh
- Battery Backup: Some people use battery backups for their CPAP machines, especially when traveling or camping. The energy requirement for a full night's sleep (approximately 8 hours) can range from 240Wh to 800Wh, depending on the machine and settings. When considering battery backups, you'll also want to factor in the battery's efficiency and ensure it can provide the required voltage and current.
- Pressure Settings: Higher pressure settings might lead to increased power consumption.
- Heated Tubing: Some CPAP machines come with heated tubing, which can also increase power usage.
- Altitude and Ambient Temperature: These can influence the power consumption of the machine, especially if it needs to adjust to maintain consistent pressure or humidity levels.
If you're considering backup power options, traveling, or just curious about your CPAP's energy usage, it's a good idea to check the user manual or consult the manufacturer for specific details regarding your model.
This is especially crucial if you're looking to use a CPAP machine off-grid or with solar power, as you'll want to ensure you have adequate energy storage and generation capacity.
Powering CPAP Machine With Dedicated CPAP Battery Backup
Dedicated CPAP battery backups are designed specifically for CPAP machines, ensuring that users have a consistent and reliable power source, especially in the event of power outages or while traveling.
These battery backups often come with features that are tailored to the needs of CPAP users. Here are some of the key features of dedicated CPAP machine battery backups:
- Compatibility: Designed to work seamlessly with specific CPAP models or a range of machines, ensuring ease of connection and efficient power delivery.
- Long Runtime: These batteries are generally designed to provide power for at least one full night of sleep, if not more. Some advanced models might offer multiple nights of runtime depending on the power settings and features of the CPAP machine.
- Portable Design: Given that many users may want to use their CPAP while traveling or camping, many dedicated CPAP batteries are designed to be compact, lightweight, and easily portable.
- LED Display or Indicators: To show battery charge levels, runtime estimates, and charging status, ensuring users always know the battery's current status.
- Fast Charging: Many dedicated batteries feature fast charging capabilities to minimize downtime.
- Short Response Time: In the event of a power outage, CPAPe battery backups automatically switch to battery power without any interruption, ensuring the CPAP machine continues running smoothly. To increase safety, the best models are designed as Online/Double-conversion UPS.
When selecting a dedicated CPAP battery backup, it's essential to ensure compatibility with your specific CPAP model and evaluate the battery's capacity in relation to the power consumption of your machine.
Checking user reviews and seeking recommendations can also be beneficial in choosing a reliable and effective backup solution.
Dedicated CPAP Battery Backups
Most modern CPAP battery backups are actually rather compact and relatively lightweight but versatile power stations/power banks that can be used in other situations as well, not just for powering CPAP machines.
But that is a double edge sword - while they may be great for charging smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even for powering low-wattage tools and appliances in emergencies, during blackouts, while hiking, camping, or similar, all those activities drain internal batteries that should be used for powering CPAP machines.
Thus, regardless of the amount of energy that your device has, be sure not to discharge it too much, preventing it from doing its main task - powering your CPAP machine.
Of course, when choosing "the best" CPAP for you, consider your own needs and requirements.
Note: last time I checked, devices that store more than 100Wh of energy cannot be boarded on an airplane. So, if some brand claims that its CPAP battery backup or similar device can store more than 100Wh and can be carried on an airline, think twice and check the most current TSA Wh limits.
Here is a short overview of several very popular dedicated CPAP battery backup systems with their most important features and specifications.
Renogy GP10 72000mAh 266Wh Power Bank/CPAP Battery Backup
Renogy GP10 72000mAh 266Wh Power Bank/CPAP Battery Backup is a compact but very versatile solar generator/power station, suitable for powering and charging a broad range of devices, CPAP machines included.
The unit features a 72000mAh (72Ah) lithium battery which is able to store 266Wh of energy.
Renogy GP10 72000mAh 266Wh CPAP Battery Backup can be recharged in three ways:
- 60W PD Charger: 5-6 hours,
- Wall Charger: 7-8 hours,
- 100W Solar Panel: 3-4 hours.
Note: the unit supports solar panels in the 20-100W range, allowing the user to charge it, for example, with a foldable solar panel that hangs behind the backpack while hiking.
Renogy GP10 CPAP battery backup can be used to recharge 5 (five!) different devices at the same time:
- 1x USB-C: 60W max,
- 1x USB-C: 27W max,
- Wireless Charger: 10W,
- 1x USB,
- 1x 12V DC Car Port: 150W max.
Also, the unit comes with protective covers for all ports and a strong LED flashlight.
To increase safety, the unit features short-circuit protection, overload protection, PCB overheat protection, battery overheat protection, and over-voltage protection.
The physical dimensions of the unit are 8.98 x 4.92 x 1.73 inches (~22.7 x 12.5 x 4.4 cm), and it weighs 2.79 pounds (1.27 kg).
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Renogy GP10 72000mAh 266Wh Power Bank/CPAP Battery Backup Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
Freedom V2 CPAP Battery Backup
Freedom V2 CPAP Battery Backup features physical dimensions of 7.5 x 4.8 x 0.8 inches (~19 x 12.2 x 2 cm), and it weighs only 1.7 pounds (0.77 kg) - the unit is very compact and easy to store or take on a trip.
Freedom V2 CPAP Battery Backup comes with an internal lithium battery with an energy capacity of ~100Wh (actually 99.9Wh) - obviously, it is not the largest device around, but it is a simple and reliable device, again, very easy to carry around or have at home, just in case.
Safety features include protection against overheating, over-charging, over-discharging, over-current, and short-circuiting.
One of the very interesting features is the ability to connect two Freedom V2 CPAP Battery Backup devices for longer runtime.
As a large power bank/solar generator, Freedom V2 CPAP Battery Backup is not as suitable as some other models in this list, but it also comes with a Quick Charge 3.0 USB port for charging tablets, cell phones, and other similar devices.
If you travel by airplane, this unit can be carried onboard (the current TSA limit is set to 100Wh).
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Freedom V2 CPAP Battery Backup Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
EASYLONGER ES960 CPAP Battery Backup
EASYLONGER ES960 CPAP Battery Backup is a robust and reliable solar generator/power station that is optimized in many ways to power CPAP machines in emergencies but also when traveling or camping.
But, thanks to a set of output ports, EASYLONGER ES960 CPAP Battery Backup can power other devices as well.
EASYLONGER ES960 CPAP Battery Backup comes with a large 96000 mAh (96Ah) lithium battery, which is able to store ~297Wh of energy.
Obviously, the unit cannot be carried on a plane.
Also, the battery uses LiFePO4 battery chemistry and supports up to 3000 charging/discharging cycles.
The unit features total of 7 charging ports, combined with 10W wireless charging. All ports feature protective covers.
The unit itself can be charged via a 60W Type-C PD charger (6-8 hours, not included), 72W AC wall adapter (5-6 hours, included), and solar panel (not included).
EASYLONGER ES960 CPAP Battery Backup also comes with two mode LED flashlights built-in and a set of safety features that protect the device but also the user.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the EASYLONGER ES960 CPAP Battery Backup Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
Bluetti MAXOAK CPAP Battery Backup
Bluetti MAXOAK K5 CPAP Battery Backup is a true CPAP battery backup system, and it directly supports 12V 5A, 15V 4A, 24V 4A, and USB 5V devices.
Unit comes with 297Wh battery, which features over-voltage, over-discharge, high- and low-temperature, over-current, and short-circuit protection.
Just like similar units, Bluetti MAXOAK K5 CPAP Battery Backup is not TSA-approved.
Bluetti MAXOAK K5 CPAP Battery Backup physical dimensions are 8.7 x 2.5 x 7.9 (~22.1 x 6.4 x 20 cm) inches and it weighs 4.1 pounds (1.86 kg). Also, the unit features a built-in handle, allowing the user to carry it around easily.
When using the AC charger that comes with the unit, it takes ~5.5 hours to recharge the battery fully.
Bluetti MAXOAK K5 CPAP Battery Backup is an excellent unit, but it features one very important limitation. While K5 can charge a smartphone or a tablet and similar devices while being recharged, but when K5 is used to power a CPAP machine, it cannot be recharged - it does NOT support full pass-through charging.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check the Bluetti MAXOAK CPAP Battery Backup Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
Powering CPAP Machine With Solar Generator
A CPAP machine can be powered with a solar generator, provided you have the right setup to meet the machine's energy requirements. Here's how you can do it and what you should consider:
Determine Energy Requirements
- First, determine the total energy consumption of your CPAP machine per night. As mentioned earlier, this can be anywhere from 240Wh to 800Wh or even more, depending on the model, features, and settings.
- If you plan to use it for multiple nights without access to grid power to recharge the generator, the capacity must be multiplied accordingly. Additionally, consider other devices you might want to charge using the solar generator and account for their energy needs as well.
Solar Panel Output
- Choose solar panels that can recharge the solar generator within the daytime hours available. For instance, if you have a 500Wh solar generator and roughly 5 hours of good sunlight, your panels should ideally produce at least 100W (though more is better to account for inefficiencies and less-than-ideal sun conditions).
Inverter and Output
- Ensure the solar generator's inverter can provide the correct voltage and current required by the CPAP machine. Most modern CPAP machines work on a broad voltage range, but it's still essential to check.
- Some solar generators/power stations have automatic power off when output power drops below certain level. Check the minimum required output power of your solar generator, and if possible, turn that feature off when powering CPAP and similar devices.
- It's wise to have a backup power plan. Cloudy days can reduce the efficiency of solar panels significantly. Having a charged backup battery or an alternative charging method can ensure uninterrupted use of your CPAP machine.
- When dimensioning solar panels, it is important to have large enough solar panels because they can collect light even in cloudy conditions, but not as much as during sunny days.
If you're considering this setup for camping or traveling, portability will be crucial. Many solar generators are designed with portability in mind, but the size and weight of solar panels can vary. Foldable solar panels are available, which are easier to store and transport.
Safety and Protection
- Ensure your setup includes protections against overcharging, overheating, and over-discharging. This not only protects your equipment but can also prolong the lifespan of your solar generator and batteries.
- Before relying on the solar generator for an extended period, perform a test run at home in controlled conditions. Charge the generator with the solar panels or wall charger, and then power your CPAP machine to ensure everything works smoothly and to verify how long each setup can support your machine.
Using a solar generator for a CPAP machine is a viable option, especially for those who enjoy outdoor activities but require their CPAP machine at night. It's essential, however, to plan appropriately and ensure your setup meets your energy needs.
Personally, if you want to be 100% sure about powering your CPAP machine, connect the 1000+ Wh solar generator to the grid using a good surge protector and connect your dedicated CPAP battery backup to the solar generator. And no, that is not an overkill ;)
Powering CPAP Machine With UPS
A CPAP machine can be powered with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). In fact, many individuals with sleep apnea use a UPS as a backup power solution to ensure that their CPAP machine continues to run during power outages, ensuring uninterrupted sleep and safety.
However, there are few important details to keep in mind:
Determine Energy Requirements
- As previously discussed, calculate the total energy consumption of your CPAP machine for a typical night. If your machine consumes anywhere from 240Wh to 800Wh (or more, depending on features), you'll need a UPS that can deliver at least that much energy.
- Many owners of CPAP machines use UPS to protect them from short, at most few minutes, power outages. In that case, UPSs are set to provide a loud, very irritating alarm when the battery charge drops below a certain level, usually around 50%. This allows the CPAP user to wake up while the CPAP machine is still properly powered.
Choose the Right UPS
- Ensure the UPS capacity (given in VA (output power), but also often in Wh (energy capacity)) can accommodate the CPAP's requirements for the duration you want. For example, if you wish to have backup power for 8 hours during an outage, and your machine uses 500Wh during that time, choose a UPS that can provide at least 700-800Wh or more.
- Note that the real power (in watts) a UPS can deliver is typically 60-70% of its VA rating due to the power factor. So, always check the wattage rating or calculate it based on the VA rating.
- Maximum UPS power output is generally not an issue for powering CPAP machines, but internally stored energy might be insufficient to last for a full night. For such situations, choose dedicated CPAP machine battery backup systems that fit your needs.
- UPS devices will list their estimated runtime for different loads. Ensure the runtime for the load your CPAP machine presents meets your needs.
- Just in case, as mentioned earlier, do a complete runtime test - that is the only way to determine the actual runtime of your UPS powering your CPAP machine.
Pure Sine Wave UPS
- It's advisable to use a pure sine wave UPS instead of a modified sine wave version. CPAP machines, especially those with humidifiers and heaters, can be sensitive to the type of power they receive. A pure sine wave UPS ensures the CPAP machine operates efficiently and without potential damage.
- Over time, the batteries in a UPS will degrade and offer less runtime. It's essential to test the UPS periodically and replace batteries as needed.
- If the UPS doesn't cycle a lot, the runtime test should be performed every 1-3 months, and the batteries should be replaced every 3-5 years, sometimes even longer when the UPS is placed in relatively colder areas.
- If you're considering traveling with the UPS, remember that while some are compact, others can be hefty. Choose a model that suits your mobility needs.
Note: If you plan on traveling, go for a dedicated CPAP battery backup system or suitable solar generator - both types feature compact and lightweight internal lithium batteries, unlike UPS units, which are intended for mostly permanent locations and feature mostly AGM and Gel-cell lead-acid batteries.
- After a power outage, the UPS will need to recharge. Consider the recharge time, especially if you live in an area with frequent power outages.
Using a UPS or solar generator for a CPAP machine is a practical solution to ensure uninterrupted use during power outages.
Whether it's for emergency preparedness or peace of mind, choosing the right UPS or solar generator for your CPAP can make a significant difference - just be aware of all the pros and cons of the UPS and solar generators over dedicated CPAP battery backups.