All welders know the importance of maintaining their gear in order to prolong the life of it as well as that of the welder. Properly working gear is one of the most important tools any welder can have in their arsenal. Any imperfection in any of the gear that they use can be the difference between safe welding and dangerous welding. It is especially true for underwater welders. Because the risks are much higher for those who choose this dangerous field, maintaining their diving gear is especially important. Because of the specialized equipment that is used, proper knowledge of cleaning and storing the equipment is very important.
Underwater divers should clean their diving gear after each use using cleaning chemicals that were specifically designed for this purpose. Cleaning solutions designed only for use on scuba gear should be used; they generally consist of a non-ionic detergent. The cleaning solution will remove any contaminants that may have built up in the regulator and other pieces of the welder’s diving equipment. If these contaminants are not properly removed they can cause you harm the next time you use your equipment.
Along with the cleaning solution you will also need fresh water and another cleaning detergent that you may prefer. Starting with the regulators, you should spray the cleaning solution into the mouth piece and other surface parts until they are thoroughly coated. The cleaning solution should be left on and allowed to soak for ten minutes. It is important to keep your gear wet for the entire ten minutes in order to prevent the cleaning solution from drying. After the ten minutes are up, you should then thoroughly rinse the gear using fresh, clean water.
If you are using BIBS mask scuba diving gear, it is recommended that the BIBS mask be removed from the hose and then an ample coat of the non-ionic cleaning solution should be applied to each part of the surface including the straps. Again, the cleaning solution should be left on the gear for ten minutes. If the cleaning solution begins to dry, you should spray it with water to insure that it is killing all of the germs that may have found their way onto your gear.
All of your diving gear is important, but another piece that should be paid special attention to is the chamber oxygen hood. The best way to insure that this part is thoroughly cleaned involves covering the entire inside surface of the neck dam and hood with the cleaning solution. It should then be allowed to soak for a full ten minutes; if more cleaning solution appears to be needed it can be applied during the ten minute time frame. As with the other cleaning steps, it is important that the surfaces being cleaned remain wet for the entire cleaning period. After the ten minutes is up, the entire chamber oxygen hood should be thoroughly rinsed in a sink or tub that has been filled with clean water. It can also be rinsed by running water over it, when using this technique to rinse, make sure that all of the cleaning solution has been removed. Once it has been properly rinsed, the hood should then be placed in an area where it can air dry completely before it is placed back into the chamber.
The last step in cleaning your diving gear is to sanitize and clean the recompression chamber interior. Cleaning the recompression chamber interior is not as complicated as it may sound. The most common method requires that you clean and sanitize the unit using the non-ionic detergent to remove any contaminants. After the cleaning solution has sat for ten minutes, the interior chamber should then be rinsed thoroughly. You should also use a lint-free cloth that has been dampened with the cleaning solution to wipe down the surface areas. The cleaning solution should also be allowed to sit for ten minutes and then thoroughly rinsed. If you take proper care of your diving equipment now, it will reduce the need for you to replace it sooner than necessary.