Three things that are a must when owning or using a regulator for scuba diving

With anything, there is up keep. When you buy a car you already know there is maintenance that needs to be done in order to keep the car on the road safely. You will know this when you buy a home. If you do not keep it up you will not be calling it a home any more. The same is true when it comes to your SCUBA regulator (the breathing apparatus). There are three things that are a must when owning or using a regulator.

Dust caps were put on a regulator for a reason. The most common are for the standard Yoke Valve. It is even more important for a DIN valve due to keeping the threads in good shape to be able to have a good secure connection with the tank valve. The dust cap should actually be renamed to ‘Water Prevention Cap’. Dust doesn’t really harm the regulator. Dust can be blown out with a couple of purges from the second stages. It is there to prevent moisture from getting inside. Time and time again I find working on regulators that dust caps are improperly used. Divers will forget, somehow, to put the cap on PRIOR to any rinsing. Since the average diver only goes on dive vacations less than a couple of times a year, they store the regulator without knowing the water is still inside the first stage. This water can cause corrosion or even mold in some cases. The corrosion can cause the regulator to work improperly. Lets think about this again… This is your life support underwater. What if this malfunctions? Yes, you may get lucky and just have it free-flow (the regulator releases all the air through the regulator). This may happen most of the time due to the ‘fail-safe’ design if the regulator were to fail. Who wants to go through that? Diving is supposed to be enjoyable. If for any reason you think water may be inside the regulator while out diving simply connect the regulator to the tank. Turn the tank valve on and purge one of the second stages for at least ten seconds. This should blow out any water inside the first stage. Then make sure you bring the regulator into a local dive shop that services the Brand you purchased. They will let you know if anything further needs to be done.

Another thing you should do is rinse in ‘fresh’ water. Some will dig up this idea that even if you dive in fresh water (versus salt water) that you don’t really need to rinse. This can be true in some situations or if you don’t have time to do it, you could be forgiven and nothing will happen. The quarry or lake you dive in can still cause some corrosion as well as some of your equipment could start to deteriorate. Also, when you do dive in salt water some of the dunk tanks to rinse your gear can also be used by divers all day, or even days without changing the water. Over time salt water can still get on your regulator even though you claim you did rinse your gear. This will cause corrosion unless you do something about it. It is always a good idea to rinse your gear after a dive trip to ensure your equipment is rinsed properly. Do not forget to put on your dust cap on your regulator.

The third thing is keep on your annual maintenance at an authorized dealer. Whether you dive a lot, meaning a couple hundred dives a year, or only a couple dives a year, you should keep on proper servicing of your equipment. Most regulator manufactures have warranty programs that only stay valid if you keep on your servicing. Customers have the incentive to keep up on the servicing. Another advantage to this is manufactures up grade parts all the time. If you keep up with the servicing every year you know you have all of the current parts required for the regulator to work at its peak when you are depending on it the most. A regulator not maintained properly can cause you headaches and problems in the middle of the dive. This can range from a ‘wet breathing’ regulator to a slightly free-flowing regulator. You can also have leaking hoses and o-rings that can often end your dive short. Divers do not like their dive called short for something that could have been prevented.

In conclusion: Be cautious of how well you maintain your scuba equipment. By using your dust cap, or ‘Water Prevention Cap’, rinse your regulator and keep on annual servicing can increase the life of your regulator as well as your safety. Most divers make huge time and money commitments to enjoy the underwater world. Keeping up with proper care will allow you to enjoy more scuba diving for years to come.