Scuba Regulators Tips

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Scuba Regulators and Considerations for Deeper Dives

Don't take chances with a rental regulator or a loaner. Your dive regulator is your most vital piece of scuba equipment, as it supplies you with air underwater. Investing in your own scuba regulator and scuba equipment signals that you are a serious diver committed to the sport. Owning your own equipment allows you to maximize your enjoyment as well as your safety. Breathe easier. Buy your own regulator.

   

Your Dive Regulator Should Feel Comfortable in Your Mouth

The real test for a regulator is how well it performs at 60 feet and deeper. The type of scuba regulator you buy will depend on how much you can afford to spend, how you plan to use the regulator, and how often you dive. Ask your fellow divers about their favorite regulator brands and then try them out for yourself.

   
What do I need to do to take care of regulator hoses after diving?

Take Proper Care of Regulator Hoses

Expect your regulator hoses to be durable and reliable. But they also need proper maintenance to ensure they reach their full service life.

Here is a checklist to make sure your hoses get the TLC they need:

  • Checking hoses should be part of a routine pre-dive plan. Look for cracks, worn areas, and bends or bulges.
  • If you find a problem or what looks like a potential problem, replace the hose. You will be saving yourself a lot of headaches in the long run.
  • Never fold your hoses. Hang the hoses straight when you store them. Store them away from the sun.
  • Rinse your dive regulator hoses in freshwater after every dive. It is good practice to hose down most all your equipment to protect if from salt damage.
  • Don't stack heavy objects on your hoses as you travel to dive sites. The key is not to bend, smash or damage the hoses.

   
Do I need to clean my scuba regulator?

Some Vinegar and Water Will Wash Away Salt Deposits

If your warhorse of a regulator seems a bit sluggish, give it a bath. It could be the scuba regulator has a buildup of salt deposits from frequent use.

Just grab a bottle of vinegar from the kitchen cabinet and pour a cup or two in a tub of water. Soak the regulator in the diluted mixture for about 10 minutes. Then wash the regulator in warm, soapy water.

If the regulator still is not working well -- or if it leaks -- you may need to take it to your local dive shop or mail it in to the manufacturer for inspection, servicing and repair.

   
What are some consumer tips for buying a regulator?

Check the Manufacturer's Warranty on Regulators

It is vital that your dive regulator functions properly. While a cracked seal on a mask is a discomfort, a malfunctioning regulator can be lethal.

Before buying a regulator, check the manufacturer's warranty. What level of repair does it provide? Can you get the regulator serviced? Where do you send the regulator for maintenance?

Make sure you use an authorized dealer for servicing and repair. Ask the technician or service center to take the regulator apart and check each component for corrosion and wear.

Make sure that the regulator is tuned to manufacturer's specifications and then tested for proper functioning.

   
What are rebreathers?

Diver Regulators: Simple but Ingenious

Your dive regulator is a simple but ingenious device: When you inhale, you get fresh air from the tank. When you exhale the air goes out the through the regulator into the water. The trail of bubbles above a diver is the telltale sign that he or she is using scuba equipment.

Commercial and military divers sometimes use a more advanced system called a rebreather. It allows the diver to "rebreathe" his or her own air, and it produces no bubbles.

Rebreathers recover exhaled oxygen and send carbon dioxide into a cannister where it is absorbed by a harmless solid chemical. Depleted oxygen is replaced with oxygen or an oxygen mix from a small tank.

Rebreathers are efficient, compact and fascinating devices that one day may be used more widely by divers. Today, they are for highly specialized uses, such as covert Navy Seal operations. But they are not for recreational diving. They require specialized training to use. They also are hugely expensive, costing as much as $15,000.

   
How do scuba regulators work?

Regulators Take the Pressure Out of Breathing

Regulators are fitted to air cylinders and act to reduce pressure and supply air as the diver breathes. There are one- and two-stage regulators, with one-stage regulators used for shorter dives.

Single-stage regulators use one step to reduce the pressure in the cylinder to a usable level. Two-stage regulators have a two-step process. The dual-stage regulators are considered superior because they provide more precise pressure control.

Here is how the two-stage process works :

  1. First stage: The first stage attaches to the cylinder. It reduces high pressure from the tank to an intermediate pressure.
  2. Second stage: A hose connects the second stage to the first stage. It further reduces the intermediate pressure to ambient water pressure. The second stage also supplies air to the diver.

   
How can I tell if my scuba regulator is a good fit?

Your Dive Regulator Should Feel Comfortable in Your Mouth

Your dive regulator needs to feel comfortable in your mouth. If your mouth and jaws are sore after a dive, the regulator might not be a good fit.

Breathing should feel pretty effortless -- unless you are a new diver and getting used to breathing underwater. Otherwise, if breathing is labored, the problem may be with your regulator.

   
Am I breathing pure oxygen when I dive?

Scuba Regulators and Considerations for Deeper Dives

When divers inhale through their scuba regulators, they are not breathing pure oxygen from scuba cylinders, as many people assume.

Scuba divers typically inhale compressed air -- which is 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen.

In deep dives, the oxygen mix is higher to reduce the risk of decompression sickness and extend the dive time. Nitrox, which is usually referred to as Enriched Air (EAnx), is 64-68 percent nitrogen. It is effective in warding off decompression sickness up to 130 feet. Past that depth, a deep diving gas, such as Tri-Mix should be used.

   
What kind of functions does a regulator have?

Look for Regulators to Carry Out Vital Functions

Regulators control air pressure from cylinders to the diver. Gauges on the regulator let divers check and monitor the pressure. Here are features to look for in a scuba dive regulator:

  • You want the regulator to be able to safely accommodate incoming gas pressure.
  • The regulator needs to be able to safely reduce the gas pressure from the tank to a workable level for the diver.
  • Regulators need to protect the purity of the gas supply to divers.
  • If you want to measure or control gas flow, you will need a regulator that is specially equipped with a metering valve or flow meter.

   

Regulators Take the Pressure Out of Breathing

Scuba divers cannot breathe air directly from the tanks they carry because the high pressure would damage their lungs. Scuba regulators solve the problem. Look for the high-performance GT3 Oceanic regulator. Oceanic regulators allow for effortless breathing at all depths and under all kinds of conditions.

   
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