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Equipment Maintenance

              Omaha's Leader
In Diver's
Equipment Items              
Buoyancy Compensators Is your equipment making you sick?  
Mask & Snorkel Let's start with what most people have on their minds these days when it comes to diseases. You can not contract the AIDS virus from scuba equipment, according to the U.S. Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control. So what can you contract from rental equipment? However snorkels, masks, BC oral inflators and wetsuit (dry) suits have been implicated in some illnesses or skin diseases. Luckily, most problem are associated with allergic reactions, irritation from improper fit and urination in suits. Yes, urination, some people have been told by some out dated diver, " that urinating in their suit will warm them up". You will never get the smell out of the suit, besides do you like swimming in a toilet? I bet not.
Years ago when divers were using two hose regulators, germs could and did breed in the hoses of the regulator. These germs could and did make some diver very ill with upper respiratory inflections. However, with proper disinfection procedures, these germs were eliminated. But that was than and this is now. These disinfecting procedures are not in wide spread use today. So as a diver we need to take steps to protect ourselves from our scuba equipment.
STEP 1 - Own it!
By owning your own equipment, you are the sole user, I'm assuming you don't loan your equipment out. By owning your own equipment to reduce the possibility of another person passing on disease causing organisms to you. It's also a proven fact that owning your own equipment increases the enjoyment factor and makes diving far more comfortable. I know you think this is a sale pitch, but it's not.
STEP 2 - Don't share it!
Step one is the best reason why you don't want to loan out your equipment, not even to your best friend. An other good reason, you've arranged your equipment to suit your needs and habits not your buddy's. Than there's the old standby, if something happens to your equipment while it's in your friend use: without you know this the potential is there for you having a problem on the next dive.
STEP 3 - Keep it clean!
This step has to benefits to it. One is the life of your equipment, if you rinse it after each dive it extends the life. Secondly, if you rinse your equipment with warm fresh water after each dive, followed by air drying should by enough to prevent most germs from taking hold. Leaving your equipment in a damp dive bag is just asking for trouble. This should include the inside of your BC, here plain water won't help much. You can purchase BC wash made for the inside. This should be used ever few months and just before you put it away for the season. One more note on the BC, never breathe the air from the BC to do so is asking for an upper respiratory infection. This is another reason for that annual service of your equipment.
STEP 4 - Kill, kill, kill!
No this is not a bad movie review. There is only one way to insure the fact of not contracting some nasty critters. You have to disinfect or sanitize your equipment. This creates more problems, chemicals can and will cause components to break down. So what ever you use don't leave your equipment in the solution too long, you only need 10 mins of soak time. The CDC recommends a solution of one cup of household bleach to one gallon of water. After soaking always rinse the equipment properly.
One final word is to say healthy. The healthier you are the better you can ward off disease.
Buoyancy Compensators            
Post Dive Maintenance
If properly maintained, your BC will provide years of reliable service, if you take care of it, it will take care of you.
First, soak the exterior of the BC in warm, fresh, clean water.
Second, pour at least one quart of warm, fresh, clean water into the air bladder through the oral inflator and swish it around, then drain back through the oral inflator. While draining, taste for saltwater. Repeat until clear.
Third, inflate the BC and allow the inside of the air bladder to properly dry. Store the BC partially inflated, away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry, clean area.

Your BC should be serviced annual, to insure the inflator and dump valves are working properly. In addition, the inside of the BC should be washed out with an BC Cleaner, to reduce fungus from developing.
Mask, Snorkel and Fins Maintenance          
Equipment care ensures reliability and longevity. Divers should follow basic care and storage procedures, which generally involve three simple steps:
First: Always rinse your equipment after using it, with chlorine and salt water this is a must. This will remove dirt, salt deposits, and sediments. These substances not only will make the equipment unpleasant to use next time but, will damage the material their made of.
Second: Always dry it off. Drying came be done by placing the equipment in a well ventilated area. Dive bags are not the best storage place of wet equipment.
Third: Proper storage. The storage area should be out of direct sunlight, preferably completely dark, and away from car exhaust, electric motors and other sources of ozone. All rubber and silicone products, fins & masks, should be stored unbent and unfolded.

Special note for masks, skin oil can dry a mask skirt. To remove any skin oil a little cleaner works great.
Regulator Maintenance            
One of the things you can do to help extend the life of your diving equipment, is to wash it off after using it. If you've been diving in salt water, this is a must. Salt water can be and is very corrosive on all metals. Salt water left to dry in the treads and grooves of your regulator can take years of life out of your equipment. Taking care of your equipment only takes a few minutes, but it will add years of life. One diving manufacturers has developed a product to remove salt deposits, it's called Salt Away and is made by 500 PSI. The cost of this product is only $ 7.50 for a 4 oz. spray bottle. You might want to consider having Salt Away in your repair kit. One area inwhich Salt Away is really good, is for the inflator of your B.C. This will keep inflator working correctly.

Regulator Care
To start with, always be sure to dry and replace the regulator's dust cover. Water can get into the first stage very easy. When it happens, it can cause some serious damage. It's important that you only dry off the dust cover, blowing air across the filter area will only blow water into the first stage, remember the filter area is already dry. So get into the habit of drying the cover and replacing it. Rinsing the regulator with fresh water is the next step. If you have running water available, run water down through the mouth piece to flush deposits out. Be careful not to push the purge bottom while rinsing. Pushing the purge button while rinsing will only allow water into the system.
An annual check up is a must to ensure good performance, most manufacturers call for a annual check to keep the warranty in affect.

If your regulator is adjusted properly, it will free flow if you drop or placed it in the water mouthpiece up. It will also stick, and free flow, if you push the purge button without placing a hand over the mouth of the second stage. Your octopus regulator should be placed in a holder for protection. It should not be left to dangle, sand can cause it to fail.
When storing your regulator, store it on a hanger in a cool dry place not curled up in some bag.
SCUBA Tanks              
All SCUBA tanks must meet certain DOT requirements.
Hydrostatic Testing: Must be done every 5 years. It is a pressure test of the tank to check flexibility of the metal. In addition, the tank must have an annual visiual inspection of the inside is required. If the tank is older then 1990 must under go a visual eddy inspection. This test is a check of the neck for cracks.