Your regs are likely to be the most costly piece of diving equipment you will buy. They should always be in good shape – from the hoses to the o-rings to the 2nd stage covers. From pre dive inspection to post dive care and servicing we want you to get the most of your breathing apparatus for years to come. So to avoid corrosion, damage and general wear and tear, read our helpful care guide below.
- Correct washing
The best way to wash your regulator after a dive is connected to a pressurised cylinder. As we understand this is not always possible the most important things to remember when washing are 1) never push the purge valves on the second stages as this can force water into the first stage and 2) ensure the dust cap is dry and firmly in place.
Dunk the second stage and octopus in a rinse tank, move them around in a figure of eight and run warm water through both the exhausts and over the mouthpieces. The warmth helps break down any stubborn particles. Move the lpi hose coupling backwards and forwards under running water and work any venturi levers (however be careful not to keep the inhalation controls stuck open). These actions will remove salt and other contaminants. Do not soak the first stage! Most dust caps are watertight not waterproof over the DIN fitting or yoke screw.
In 2020 Apeks wrote a blog outlining which products were safe to use when cleaning their regulators, to avoid COVID-19 transmission. They warned not to use bleach based or corrosive disinfectants, as they can prematurely age or corrode the equipment being used. They recommended warm tap water and general household dish soap for personal use. For shared equipment with a higher risk of transmission they recommended Chemgene HLD4L breathing apparatus surface disinfectant. The solution was between 50-100 parts water to 1 part HLD4L with a 20 minute soak time.
Do not dry your regulator in direct sunlight as UV rays can perish the rubber. Leave in a shaded place on a purposefully designed hanger like the Scubapro Accessory Hanger to ensure water drains out of any chambers. Otherwise, moisture and humidity will grow fungus within the regulator.
The best way to store your clean and dry breathing apparatus is flat, which will avoid any undue stress on the hoses. Ensure the dust cap is secured over the first stage and keep them out of direct sunlight which can discolour them or crack the hoses. Store far away from contaminants and exhaust fumes which can degrade small parts and rubber, so avoid your garage. If you were provided with a Silica packet when you purchased your regulator, store together as they absorb moisture. Try to use - or at least pressurize - your regs from time to time to keep working parts from seizing up. It doesn’t matter how expensive your regs were, springs and seals are under pressure even in storage.
When travelling, keep your regs in a regulator bag to protect from impact. Some airlines recommend you carry them as hand luggage to avoid them being damaged in the hold.
- Prior to Diving
Before heading out on a dive trip, attach your regulator to a cylinder and pressurise to check there are no leaks or wheezy noises coming from the 2nd stages. It is also worth attaching the lpi to a BCD to ensure it does not auto inflate the jacket. This can happen when o-rings perish in storage. Check all hoses for cracks, including underneath hose protectors. Make sure your pressure gauge works. Watch the needle move up when pressurizing the tank; after turning off the cylinder, purge the regulator and watch the needle go back down to 0. There should be no water inside the SPG case or bubbles/hissing coming from the swivel connector.
Depending on manufacturer regulations, your breathing apparatus should be serviced every year or after 100 dives (whichever comes first). Read the manual to ensure you have it serviced correctly for it to remain within the warranty. Never use solvents or lubricant sprays on your regulator as these degrade plastics and rubber. Only ever have it serviced by a fully authorised service technician who will have been awarded a certificate by the manufacturer. Technicians also have to undertake refresher courses and updates to remain current. At Mike’s Dive Store we only use proper manufacturers service kits. All our regulator servicing comes with a 3-month warranty and is done to BS1003 standard. Usual turnaround is 7-10 days but faster times can be arranged with a phone call and a bit of notice. Regulators can also be serviced to an O2 clean standard for an extra charge.