What is the condition of your regulator hoses? This can be a critical component of your regulator and it is often neglected. It's important to remember that hoses are multi-layered and the internal layer can fail while the external layer still looks good. In this case, divers may notice small bubbles from their hose or the hose could bulge. In either event, the hose should be changed immediately. Similarly, hoses can crack on the outside while still maintaining integrity on the inside. This is much more obvious to the diver but as before, it should be cause for immediate replacement of the hose.
Myth: A burst low-pressure hose will allow substantial time to solve the problem.
Fact: Low-pressure hoses may have low-pressure but they have a very high flow. This flow is regulated by the 2nd Stage of your regulator. However, a burst LP hose has the ability to drain your air supply 10x faster than a burst high-pressure hose.
Burst hoses cause many other problems for divers as well. If it is your primary that burst, your air-supply can be cut off immediately. You will likely still be able to use your octopus, however, you will need to find that octopus in a cloud of bubbles and while being whipped by a flailing hose that has about 150 psi behind it. This is a situation that you have likely never trained for and the immediate loss of air will certainly cause a situation where panic is expected.
Myth: Braided hoses are more durable and safer than rubber hoses.
Fact: Braided hoses are much more flexible and thus more comfortable for a diver to use. That doesn't necessarily make them safer. In fact, a study done by Divers Alert Network found that cheaply made braided hoses may be more dangerous as the internal lining crystallizes when exposed to heat and moisture, such as tropical environments. This crystallization has led to the explosive failure of low-pressure hoses in a SCUBA environment.
There is a solution to the crystallization issue of some braided hoses. This solution is found in the design of the internal lining of the hose. MiFlex Hoses, the only braided hose that Underwater World sells, have since 2008 required their hoses to be made with polyether-TPU. Polyether-TPU has not shown to crystallize in testing and thus is not only recommended by Underwater World but also the Divers Alert Network (DAN). There have been no known failures of these hoses due to the crystallization of the internal lining.
It is important to remember that all hoses have a service life. DAN recommends the replacement of hoses every 5 years. Hoses take a beating in the sun, water, and while just wrapped up in a regulator bag. They hold back a minimum of 150 psi and in some cases as much as 3,500 psi. In a modern SCUBA regulator, there are very few things that can fail with an immediate loss of breathing air, but a hose is one of them. When was the last time your hoses were replaced?
Next time you have your SCUBA regulator serviced, tell the Sales Team member that you want all new hoses installed, then make the choice between a traditional rubber hose or a MiFlex braided hose. If you have any questions on which one is best for you, we are here to help