Cleaning & Storage – Double Hose Regulators
This is the simple stuff that is done between dives or after you diving day is done. I have broken it up into fresh and saltwater.
When you are done for the day…
- Step 1
With the remaining air in your cylinder or with a low pressure air hose carefully blow the yoke area and the surface of the 1st stage completely dry. Be sure and dry carefully under the dust cap as well. Insure that the O-ring is in place under the dust cap and put it back in place and tighten the yoke screw enough to hold it in place securely.
- Step 2
While holding the regulator body securely shake any excess water out of the hoses though the mouthpiece. You will need to shake the hoses right side up and then upside down as the ridges hold water. Then tilt the regulator body down towards your waist and blow through the mouthpiece a few times to insure no water is remaining in the exhaust hose.
- Step 3
Lay the regulator flat with no tension on the hoses and allow it to dry in a cool dry place out of the sun.
Diving in Saltwater
- Step 1
When you get back on the boat or reach the shore. Before you even turn off your air or if you are changing cylinders, get a mask or two full of FRESH water from the rinse bucket or a paper cup or two of freshwater from the water cooler or use a bottle of freshwater that you are carrying and pour it thoroughly around the area where the valve and regulator are screwed together. Rise this area a couple of times. What you are trying to prevent is any saltwater entering your regulator or becoming trapped on the 1st stage filter when the air pressure is removed.After a thorough rinse go ahead and turn your air off and carefully breathe the regulator down till the pressure is zero and you can remove it.
- Step 2
After you are done diving for the day or on the boat trip home follow directions for everything above first…..Then carefully remove the regulator, make sure your dustcap has an O-ring and put it in place on the regulator and tighten the yoke screw till it is secure and cannot move.
- Step 3
Follow procedure number 2 from the freshwater section.
- Step 4
If it’s available on the boat immerse your regulator in the freshwater bucket. If this is not feasible wait till you arrive at the dock and immerse your regulator in the freshwater rinse tank provided for gear. Let it soak for a bit and then take it to the hose or shower and rinse it thoroughly! Complete step 2 and 3 from the freshwater section.When you arrive home I would suggest that you soak your regulator in a diluted mixture of SALT-X and freshwater for at least 3 hours.
If you have a band clamp ring I would suggest removing it so you can inspect the inside of your cans to insure they are dry and no saltwater has made it’s way inside. Carefully wipe out any remaining water in the cans, wipe the band clamp ring thoroughly and re-assemble. Store flat in a cool dry place.
Annual Service Procedures – Click on images to enlarge…
If you maintain your regulators after each dive then this will be a breeze….If you are like me then it might take a while….
Before you start tearing stuff apart you need to know where you are and get a plan together. Setup a full cylinder and have it safely secured or supported so you can attach your regulator to it and perform a visual inspection.
- Step 1
Look over the hoses carefully especially where they attach to the horns on the regulator. Look for any cuts, tears or weak spots. The original neoprene hoses are much more susceptible to degrading over time than the new silicone items. The neoprene hoses will also maintain their shape or hold the shape anytime they are stored long term coiled up or twisted and putting them back straight is almost impossible. Extra care must be exercised to keep original hoses intact and usable.
- Step 2
Check the mouthpiece for the same items as the hoses. Make sure the bite tabs are still intact and that overall the mouthpiece is still pliable and will be comfortable in your mouth.
- Step 3
Now remove the dust cap and visually inspect the first stage filter. Insure that it is clean and nothing is blocking it. If there are signs of saltwater corrosion then a more in-depth inspection needs to be performed. If everything looks good the attach it to the cylinder and slowly turn on the air. Wait a few seconds and then listen for leaks. I would recommend mixing up a solution of 10% dish washing soap to water and putting it in a spray bottle. Spray this solution all the way around the area where the 1st stage nozzle is screwed into the regulator body.
Bubbles in this area would indicate a leak in the high pressure washer and in depth service will be necessary to correct this. If you are working with a single stage regulator you can skip this step.
- Step 4
Without taking a breath, listen for air flowing through the mouthpiece. If there is air flowing it could indicate a number of problems. Next put the mouthpiece in your mouth and exhale to insure air is flowing through the duckbill properly. Then take a few breaths and insure that air is flowing properly and breathing resistance is good. If all is well up to this point then you are in good shape.
If you have air flowing through the mouthpiece all the time it could indicate one or more of the following issues.
a. Bad or damaged high pressure seat.
b. bad or damaged low pressure seat.
c. improperly adjusted intermediate pressure.
- Step 5
Now, carefully remove your hoses from the regulator. Be certain you know which hose goes on what side and how they were oriented. If you are using neoprene hoses that set in place after a while this is crucial or the hose assembly will be difficult to match up and just wont quite fit right when your re-assemble them. Go ahead and remove the duckbill as well and set it aside.
- Step 6
If you have a band clamp ring on the regulator you are in tall cotton right now…If you have C-clips on your regulator I would recommend carefully reading the post in the technical section of the forum on how to remove and install C-clips before proceeding any further.
Let’s say we all have band clamp rings. Carefully remove the screw holding the band clamp together. After you remove it you can simply pull up on one side of the ring and it should come loose from the regulator easily.
Then you can remove the can and check inside. The inside of the can should be free from any saltwater corrosion, dirt, debris, dirt dobber nests, bugs etc. If not you need to clean them out. A damp rag should work and if there is salt water corrosion then get some Salt X or vinegar on a Q-tip and rub it thoroughly on the spots of corrosion. When it is gone you can rinse the regulator out with fresh water. DO NOT…..I repeat DO NOT depress the second stage lever while you are rinsing the regulator or water will enter the 2nd stage and you could have some problems…Just DO NOT depress the lever and you will be fine. When it’s clean wipe the remaining water out with a soft cloth or cotton makeup remover pads and or gently blow dry with compressed air. Next check the brass nut that holds the 2nd stage lever. If it is still tightly cemented in place you don’t need to do anything. If it’s not I suggest a drop or super glue or clear nail polish and allow it to dry thoroughly.
- Step 7
Next inspect your main diaphragm for any sand or other debris that could get stuck to it or anything that looks out of the ordinary. If you are using a new silicone diaphragm DO NOT put silicone on it. I repeat DO NOT put any type of lubricant on it PERIOD. It needs nothing and all you do by putting crap on it is create a sticky surface for everything that comes into contact with it to stick to….Also and even more crucial…Putting lubricant on the sealing edge where the diaphragm fits in the grooves of the cans is extremely dangerous. If this surface is too slick there is a chance the diaphragm could slide out of the groove when you sharply inhale and cause the 2nd stage to flood!! DON’T PUT LUBRICANT ON THE DIAPHRAGM. If you are still using the original rubber diaphragm I would still refrain from putting anything on it.
- Step 8
Now carefully position the tabs on the diaphragm (two stage regulators) squarely on the horse shoe levers. This part is very important so take a few extra moments and insure they are lined up properly.
- Step 9
Next take a look inside the bottom can and insure that it’s clean, dry and no evidence of saltwater corrosion. When it’s ready take your duckbill and put a little unscented talcum powder (available at any billiard supply store or on line) in it and blow though it a few times….All you want is a light coating on it to keep the rubber or the silicone from sticking together. Once again DO NOT USE SILICONE LUBRICANT OR ARMOR -ALL.
Center the duckbill in the center of your can and roll the edge of it down around the horn of the regulator. I have been using another method for a while now and I offer it as an option. Please see the picture. Simply trim the excess off of the duckbill and then put 3 or 4 wraps of heavy nylon thread around it and tie it in a square knot. No way it’s moving now! It’s your regulator and your choice.
- Step 10
Finally you are ready to assemble the regulator. To align the cans you need to line up the 4th hole from the exhaust horn with the center of the intake horn…Picture….Install your band clamp ring and tighten securely.
- Step 11
Now you are ready to re-install your hose and mouthpiece assembly, pressurize your regulator and give it a final test before you pack your dive bag.
Deep cleaning of your hoses and mouthpiece
It is a good idea to deep clean your hoses from time to time especially if you have been unable to thoroughly rinse and dry the insides of them between dive trips. Very little will stick or grow on the new silicone hoses, things will grow on the original neoprene hoses and then again anything is possible. When in doubt wash them out!
- Step 1
Carefully remove your hoses from the regulator. Be certain you know which hose goes on what side and how they were oriented. If you are using neoprene hoses that set in place after a while this is crucial or the hose assembly will be difficult to match up and just wont quite fit right when your re-assemble them.
- Step 3
Follow the guidelines from the CDC and mix 1 teaspoon of household bleach with each gallon of water. I use a clear plastic storage container and mix up about 3-4 gallons and immerse the hoses, mouthpiece, valves, wagon wheels and duckbill in there for a few hours. Be sure each hose gets full of water and move everything around in the water ever 30 minutes or so. After a few hours rise each item thoroughly inside and out with freshwater. Shake each hose several times to remove all the water you can from inside and then hang them up to dry in a cool dry space for 24-48 hours.
Now is a good time to inspect your duckbill to insure it is still flexible and there are no tears and that it closes when it is laid flat. Also inspect your mouthpiece valves making sure they lie flat on the sealing surface of the wagon wheels with no pressure applied to them.
Note: If your hoses and mouthpiece are extremely dirty there is a way to tackle the problem that I have found is 99% effective.
Get a couple of towels or cloths that you don’t mind getting bleach on. Put your hoses and mouthpieces in your washing machine and put it on the hot cycle. After the machine is full of water add a little detergent and a 1/4 cup of bleach and set the machine to pre-soak and then to run the longest cycle it has followed by 2 rinse cycles. The towels you put in with the hoses will keep them from flying all around the machine during the cycles. After you are done check for cleanliness and if they are good then hang them to dry. If the hoses and mouthpieces were so dirty you had to use this procedure I would say without a doubt you need to replace your mouthpiece valves and the duckbill. They are cheap and it’s good insurance!