Ever rinsed your regulators and first stage without the dust cap in place?
Most of you have very likely done that unknowingly, accidently or witnessed
someone who put their regulators in the water to rinse them without
the ‘dust cap’ on it. There are a few regulators where that isn’t a problem but with most of them it is!
The dust cap, a small rubber or plastic piece of equipment to protect your 1st stage from water going in. It is there for a very good reason! When water enters the 1st stage and stays there for a while you have a good chance of getting malfunctions, corrosion, rust and in some cases even mould in your 1st stage, 2nd stage and hoses. Not a very nice surprise when you’re about to do your next great dive(trip)!
Not only is it a problem when you store your regulator set with water left inside, it also is when you keep using it. When water enters the 1st stage it will also enter your hoses. The next time you attach you regulator set to a cylinder and put pressure on the system, the water gets forced into your pressure gauge. This is a problem as this hose is a ‘dead end’ and you can’t get the water out of it which will cause malfunction.
What to do when it happens?
Whatever happened that got water into your regulator set, action is required in all cases.
When you got your 1st stage wet in salt water, take of your pressure gauge and rinse the rest of the set thoroughly in fresh water as salt can damage even more then fresh water when salt stays behind inside. Rinse the pressure gauge separate but keep the gauge as the highest point so no water will go there. Hang your pressure gauge up with the hose as the lowest point for water to go down and dry. Attach the rest of the set to a cylinder and blow the water out of your 1st stage and hoses by pressing the purge button. Don’t use it until everything is dry. When you have the possibility, bring your set to your dealer for your annual service sooner rather than later to make sure there is no water and/or salt left behind that can give more problems over time when it is not being used.
There is even a possibility to get these issues when submersing your regulators with the purge button facing down in water or pressing your purge button when they are not attached to a cylinder. Water goes in but can’t go out and when stored, there is a good chance that the water leaks to your 1st stage and into your pressure gauge, without you realising there is water inside.
How to rinse your regulator set.
First, dry your dust cap and place it on your 1st stage after use. Submerge all hoses and gauges in fresh water with both the purge buttons of the regulators facing up (mouthpieces down) and don’t press them. Splash the 1st stage with your hand, there is no need to soak them. Store them in a dry place hanging with your 1st stage up and hoses hanging down out of direct sunlight.