Section 28 - Regulator Tips
Here are a few tips I have learned over the years which will help prolong the life of your regulator.
I see so many divers disconnect their first stages from their scuba tanks, then blow air from the tank onto the open port of the first stage to dry it off. No doubt they do this because they saw other divers doing it. If you think about this for a minute, you are blowing moisture into the open port as well as crystallizing any salt water residue from an ocean dive. This port is already dry as it just came off the tank! ONLY blow dry the portion of the dust cap that will come in contact with the open air port that connects to the tank. And remember, this is a dust cap and is not meant to be completely waterproof.
If you are using a First Stage with a series of holes in it (works off ambient pressure), as with my Scubapro, then you should be soaking it after diving, and not merely rinsing it. Rinsing it will not get all the sand or debris particles out. There is also the likelihood that any remaining saltwater will crystallize in there. In that case, each time you connect a tank to this first stage and turn on the air, you run the risk of scoring the internal parts from any debris, sand, or salt which remained. Soaking in WARM WATER for a good 20 minutes at the end of a dive day should alleviate this problem. You need only soak the First Stage deep enough to cover the intake holes (the kitchen sink works fine.) Placing it in a deep tub or trash pail is risky in my opinion. Remember what I said above, the dust cap is not totally waterproof, especially under the pressure of even a few feet for a lengthy period of time. If you are diving on a regular basis you should see a difference in performance between annual servicing, not to mention the condition of your First Stage.
The dust cover in the above photo is made of pliable material and still has some space left after being tightened down which indicates it has sealed. The hard plastic dust covers can be a problem, even though they have an "O" ring inside them. If the dust cover seats all the way down how do you know it has sealed since it "bottomed out"? The answer is, you don't. If you are using an air integrated computer that does not have a seal between the computer and the air supply, then any moisture that enters the hose as a result of a poor dust cap seal, will likely trash the computer. I am convinced this happened to me as a result of using a hard plastic type dust cap. Shortly thereafter I noticed some moisture on the inside screen of my dive computer.
This type of Second Stage has an inhalation resistance control knob. DO NOT soak this second stage with the control knob turned all the way out as this can allow water to travel up the hose and into the first stage, where it will remain until the next dive, as well as cause corrosion.
Some technicians advise to store the second stage with the purge knob all the way out as it takes pressure off the seat. Others advise not to as it can allow any residual rinse water to get into the hose, parts of the regulator, and the first stage, causing unnecessary corrosion between dives. I choose to go with the later theory.
There is an endless argument over the use of hose protectors. I think they have their negatives and positives. If you are going to use them, choose the type which allow air and water to circulate through them as in the above photo. If you use the smooth type, moisture and whatever else will remain trapped in them. If you are one of those divers who only uses their equipment once or twice a year, then I would not use them at all. If you dive on a regular basis then I would use them for the added protection. Regardless of whether you use hose protectors or not, proper care should be taken not to bend the hoses.