You’re probably in the habit of putting the dust cap on your regulator when you take it off the tank. But what about your neglected BCD? This month, let’s confer the importance of putting the dust cap back on your inflator after you disconnect your low pressure inflator hose.
When tearing down your gear, make sure to dry the dust cap (just a quick blow from your mouth will do) and put the dust cap back on the quick disconnect plug (sometime referred to as the “nipple”) on your inflator. Doing so prevents water from entering the inflator body and corroding the Schraeder Valve Core (SVC). This can happen when rinsing your gear or even while setting it up.
If the schraeder valve gets corroded (or filled with salt from evaporated sea water or jammed with sand) it can get stuck in the open position. If you are diving when this happens, it results in an auto inflation of your BCD and an uncontrolled buoyant ascent.
You may remember from your Open Water class that you learned the skill of disconnecting your inflator hose under pressure. This situation is why you learn that skill. However, it is easily avoidable by maintaining your gear, the first step of which is putting the dust cap on your inflator.
This is crucial to think about whether you own or rent gear. If you own your gear, make sure to get your BCD serviced every year along with your regulator. When our tech’s open your BCD, they check the schraeder valve for corrosion. This valve also gets replaced every two years to prevent an emergency, or sooner if there are any signs of a flood.
If you rent gear, you want to make sure to rent it from a reliable vendor who is aware of this upkeep. Some resorts may not check the schraeder valves on a regular basis. If you prefer to rent, we always recommend renting from us and taking gear you know has been serviced properly with you.
If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call and talk to one of our staff about how to best care for your gear.