One of the last things you want to do is going wet underwater and find out later that your regulator is leaking. Though at first, you won’t notice much difference, this problem should not be taken lightly. In case you’re wondering, here are the major reasons why your regulator is leaking.
First Stage Leaks
Are you seeing occasional bubbles or small streams at the first stage? There could be a wear and tear or wrongly adjusted internal parts. The fix? Call your technician and get professional service. But what if you’re caught in the ocean? Would you abort the dive? It all depends on your judgement. Leaks like this usually do not worsen quickly. But if it does, reach for the surface at once.
First Stage Bleed
You’ll know that your first stage is bleeding when a constant stream of tiny bubbles are coming from the orifice. No need to fret though, because there is nothing wrong with your regulator. Again, there is no problem with your regulator. Bleeding is actually an intentional feature of the dry piston first stage. So put down your wrenches and leave your regulator as is.
Regulator Yoke Leak
This looks like either an occasional bubble or a continuous stream. More often than not, you’ll see this coming out in the middle of the tank valve and the seat of the high pressure valve. It makes a sound similar to that of a soft drink. Sometimes, it can be as loud as a whistling kettle. So what’s the problem here? Chances are, your O-ring is of the wrong size, dirty, worn, or cracked. Or your seat has scratches or covered with dirt. Or the yoke is loose or not in a good position.
To fix this, first thing you need to do is remove the O-ring =, then inspect the seat for dirt and clean it. If needed, replace the O-ring with a brand new, silicone-coated piece so that it’s not greasy but supple. Using your hand, tighten the yoke firmly. If this doesn’t fix the problem, consider using another tank.
Tank O-ring Leaks
Most of the time, O-ring leaks occur at the first few moments that the yoke is not tightened to the fullest. Whenever loosely installed, pressure comes out of seat, forcing air to go out of the space between the tear and the gap. This results to a loud emission of the air. This can also happen if you got the wrong O-ring size.
So how do you fix this? Simply grab a new O-ring and using your stronger hand, tighten the yoke screw. Should you abort the dive? Not really necessary.
Hose O-ring Leaks
Do you see isolated bubbles or continuous stream from your hose? Sometimes, this happens with a faint hiss, but there are time when you won’t hear any sound at all. The faulty part? You O-ring might be worn, cracked, or dirty. If the leak happens immediately after an overhaul, the most probable cause a loosely installed hose. When left very loose, the O-ring can blow with a loud sound.
You can stop the leak by separating the next nut and the swivel nut. Then, tighten the hose firmly using a short wrench. But be sure to observe the hose closely. If the leak is on the high pressure hose, this is most probably just a small leak. If it doesn’t affect the gauge, you can continue the dive. Even if it leaks on the low pressure hose where more leaks are expected, you will have plenty of time to go back to the surface and fix it.
Worn Hose Leaks
Sometime you can hear a fizz, but other times you won’t. It can happen anywhere in the hose, but more often, it takes place at the end fitting of the first stage.
The leak occurs when the woven layer of the hose gets damaged from constant flexing. You might not know it, but your hose actually has tiny holes across its length. And that is where the bubbles come out.
You can fix this by replacing your old hose. But keep in mind that you can interchange a high pressure hose with a low pressure one. Do you abort the dive or not? Depends on your judgement. If a serious leak is observed, reach for the surface and replace the hose immediately.
Second Stage Leaks (Valve Seat)
If you hear a subtle “glub, glub, glub” or a sound similar to a boiling pot, then your valve seat may be at fault. There are two possibilities when it comes to this issue. One is the first stage might be wrongly adjustment and second, the second stage might be cracking too low pressure.
Dip the second stage into the water and spin it around. See to it that the tank pressure is turned on. Afterwards, you should see grit and sand coming off. If this does not do the trick, check if the seat is corroded. If so, get a technician to do the repair.