Regular maintenance of your dive gear is essential to ensure it remains reliable and functioning correctly. As we are all taught when we begin diving, post-dive cleaning of your kit is the first step to looking after your gear.
Different brands offer different regulator servicing intervals for their regulators. While this is a good guideline for current regulators double check your regulator’s manual and these are all based on normal use.
Most manufacturers recommend annual servicing schedules, many will invalidate any warranties if you don’t adhere to their servicing frequency recommendations. The reason behind why they are so keen for you to keep up the servicing of your kit is, after all is said and done, we are discussing life support equipment. Would you be keen to go abseiling, if the rope and harness had not been checked first? You need correctly functioning regulators as you are entering an environment where you cannot survive without them.
|Atomic Aquatics||2 Years – 300 Dives||T3 Regulator – 3 Years – 300 Dives|
|Cressi||1 Year – 100 Dives|
|Hollis||1 Year – 100 Dives|
|Mares||1 Year – 100 Dives|
|Oceanic||1 Year – 100 Dives|
|OceanREEF||1 Year – 100 Dives|
|Scubapro||2 Year – 100 Dives|
|Seac Sub||1 Year – 100 Dives|
*with a 1 year inspection between services
**terms and conditions apply
Many infrequent divers will point out they haven’t used their kit much so it can’t possibly need a service. I would suggest that regulators that are not used regularly are possibly more in need of a service, as they will have possibly dried out and O-Rings hardened. All seals in a regulator are under pressure even while in storage as springs will be pushing sealing surfaces against them which will bed in over time so it’s best to go diving more often to be honest…
The flip side of infrequent use is heavy usage, if you put many miles on your car, parts wear more quickly and dive gear is the same. Lots of dives equals lots of wear. Whilst the saying “if ain’t broke don’t fix it” may be some peoples’ mantra I would reiterate that we are talking about life support kit and it’s most likely to fail during use while you’re in the water.
I completely accept modern dive gear is super reliable so the need for regular servicing could be seen by some as a money making scheme. I also know of examples where instructors who have dived for years on the same regulators logging thousands of dives without a service with no problems but the longer you leave it the bigger your chances of having a problem will be.
It may be useful to explain what is actually done in a regulator service. The regulator is stripped down, cleaned and worn or required parts are replaced (normally dynamic parts such as o-rings that create the seal between moving parts), then reassembly, resetting the intermediate pressure and finally testing. The process on average takes a few hours from start to finish but requires special tools and training.
As to when is the best time to service your gear, I would never recommend straight before a dive trip, first you need to allow for complications such as busy schedules and always have at least one or two dives after a service to allow for parts to bed in. If dives are not practical prior to any trip at least get a pool session in. Over the years I have known many people complain that their regulators needed an adjustment after servicing. This is not unusual nor a sign of a bad service just that regulators are finely balanced for optimal airflow so any bumps or knocks can move parts slightly allowing a change in the dynamics of the regulator. However, nine out of ten times a quick adjustment will remedy the situation.
Practically speaking I suggest to my students and customers to get their kit serviced on or before the anniversary of their purchase to ensure warranties are not accidentally invalidated. As a dive centre, Christmas is always quiet for servicing so you won’t have to wait long to get your gear back. Whereas Easter is the peak for dive servicing and you may have to wait several weeks.
One thing I would urge all divers is not to seek the lowest cost servicing deal. You want someone to take time and care with your equipment and not to be rushed, so always take recommendations from other divers as to where is good rather than where is cheap.