It’s not the years. It’s not the mileage. It’s both.

From time to time we have people bring us equipment for service whom it appears do not understand some important facts about regulator maintenance. These people tell us that they just want to have us “check their regulator out,” and that their regulator has only been used “a couple of times” since it was last serviced. Apparently these people believe that, because their regulator has received little or no use since it was last worked on, it requires little or nothing in the way of maintenance. This is seldom the case.

Equipment manufacturers all specify a minimum one-year service/inspection interval for regulators — regardless of how little they are used.

Why? Regulator performance is affected by far more than just how little or how much use it receives.

  • Every regulator contains numerous O-rings. These O-rings are critical to the regulator’s ability to function safely. Over time, these O-rings can dry out, oxidize, shrink and crack. This occurs regardless of whether the regulator is used or not.
  • Each regulator first or second stage contains either a high- or low-pressure seat. As time passes, these seats harden and shrink. They become deeply indented by the sharp valve orifices against which they are constantly being pressed. This can cause a regulator’s intermediate pressure to “creep” and second stages to free flow.
  • Therefore, even though a regulator may not have been used in the past year, these O-rings and valve seats may still need replacement if the regulator is to be able to perform safely. The longer a regulator goes without service — used or not — the greater this need becomes.

Regulators that receive considerable use may require service more frequently than just once a year.

  • Even with the most careful rinsing after dives, salt, sand, sediment and corrosion can build up on a regulator’s internal surfaces.
  • Use also accelerates the deterioration of O-rings and seating surfaces.

Some active divers, such as resort divemasters and instructors, have their regulators serviced as often as every three to six months.

 

What’s Involved in a Regulator Overhaul?

Because regulator service involves basically the same amount of labor, it is foolish to attempt to solve a single problem when, for the same time and effort, you can solve them all. This is why, when any level of regulator service is needed beyond a mere inspection, there is only one type of procedure that we and other responsible service technicians perform: a complete overhaul. What does this entail?

  • The regulator is completely disassembled and all hard components are cleaned in an ultrasonic bath.
  • All O-rings and valve seats are replaced.
  • The regulator is reassembled and adjusted to manufacturer’s specifications.

This enables us to return your regulator to you in as close to “as new” condition as humanly possible — and may be required if you are to maintain your regulator’s warranty.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of equipment service, we are more than happy to answer them. Just contact us.