Why service my regulators? Here are three reasons:
- You enjoy breathing.
- You don’t like throwing away money.
- You’d like to continue breathing.
Regular maintenance and service of the regulator are crucial to ensure its performance, reliability, and safety. We will discuss the importance of scuba regulator service, the steps involved in performing a regulator service, and the frequency of service required.
Why is regulator service important?
The first and second stages are complex pieces of equipment that can become worn or damaged over time. Regular service is necessary to check the internal components and replace any parts that are worn, damaged, or near the end of their useful life.
The primary purpose of regulator service is to ensure that your regulators are functioning correctly and provide you with an adequate supply of air. The cracking effort of the second stage (measured in inches of water) and the intermediate pressure of the first stage can drift over time. This can cause free flows if the cracking effort is too low, or the intermediate pressure is too high. If the cracking effort is too high, the work of breathing will increase, which can lead to carbon dioxide (CO2) buildup in the bloodstream. Regular maintenance is designed to prevent those problems before they occur.
Finally, regular regulator service helps to extend the life of the regulator, ensuring that it continues to function properly. It may also save you money. We recently worked on a regulator that had not been serviced in about 4 years. We couldn’t tell for sure what happened to the second stage, but it had corroded to the point that the adjustment knob was fused internally and broke when we tried to remove it! That resulted in the customer being billed for parts that needed to be replaced.
Steps involved in performing a regulator service
The steps involved in performing a regulator service vary depending on the make and model of the regulator, but typically involve the following steps:
- Disassembly: The first step in performing a regulator service is to disassemble the regulator into its various components. This step typically involves removing the hoses, first and second stages, and any other components that are part of the regulator.
- Inspection: Once the regulator is disassembled, each component is inspected for signs of wear, damage, or other issues that could affect the performance of the regulator. The internal parts of the regulator, including the seats and o-rings, are carefully inspected to ensure that they are in good condition.
- Cleaning: The next step in performing a regulator service is to clean the components of the regulator. This typically involves using specialized cleaning solutions and tools to remove dirt, oil, and other contaminants that may have accumulated on the components over time.
- Repair and replacement: After cleaning the components, any parts that are worn or damaged are repaired or replaced. This generally involves replacing o-rings, seats, or other parts that are critical to the functioning of the regulator, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Reassembly: Once the repairs and replacements have been made, the components of the regulator are reassembled and the regulator is tested to ensure that it is functioning correctly. We check and adjust the intermediate pressure of the first stage, and the cracking effort of the second stages to ensure they are within specifications.
- Final inspection: The final step in performing a regulator service is a final inspection of the regulator to ensure that it is functioning correctly and that all of the components are in good condition.
Frequency of regulator service
The frequency of regulator service depends on several factors, including the amount of use the regulator receives, the type of diving being done, and the environment in which the diving is being performed. Generally, it is recommended that scuba regulators be serviced every 12 months, or after every 100 dives, whichever comes first. However, some manufacturers may have different service intervals, so it is important to consult the owner’s manual for specific recommendations. For example, our Edge HOG and Deep 6 regulators have a 24-month service interval.
In addition to regular service, divers should also have their regulators inspected after any incident or accident that may have impacted the performance of the regulator. This includes incidents such as dropping the regulator, exposure to extreme temperatures, or prolonged exposure to saltwater (rinse your regs!). Even the fresh water at Blue Hole can cause hard water buildup if you don’t properly rinse your gear.
Divers who use their regulators frequently or who dive in demanding environments, such as cold or contaminated water, may require more frequent service. Additionally, divers who use rental gear or older regulators may need to have their regulators serviced more frequently to ensure that they are functioning properly.