Why do people wash their car or truck? It comes in contact with a lot of debris, like dirt, bugs, bird droppings, and salt. If left on the vehicle these deposits can eat way at the paint and finish, causing damage to the body of the vehicle. Running it through a car was or hand washing it helps eliminate and minimize the damage that could be caused.
Tanks are essential piece of life support equipment, and like any piece of life support requirement, they need to be cleaned and cared for before and after every dive. Odds are, if a tank has a catastrophic failure, it will happen while it is being filled, by you or a fill station operator. This is why a visual inspection is required every year and the hydrostatic test is preformed every 5 years.
Below is a list of actions all diver need to take to maintain and care for their tanks.
- Always inspect the O-Ring on a yoke valve and DIN valve for debris.
- Do not store them full for longed periods of time, 3 months or more.
- Do not over fill them. Over filling causes metal stress.
- Do not quick fill them. Fill no faster then 600psi per minute. Tanks should not be hot to the touch after filling.
- Do not store empty, maintain at least 200psi in the tank at all times. Keeps moisture out.
- Store them in an upright position. If there is moisture it will gather on the thickest part of the tank and be in the easiest position to clean.
- Store in a shaded area, not in direct sun light.
- Rinse it in fresh water after a dive, this includes rinsing the valve and the burst disk. Salt water corrodes everything.
- If you have a boot on the tank, remove it periodically. Inspect the area and rinse it as well. Better yet, unless the tank has a round bottom, take it of and leave it off.
- After a rinse and before filling give the valve a blast to ensure you remove any water that might have gathered in the valve. This goes for the fill station hose as well.
- Handle with care. If you drop it or cause a gouge have it inspected.
- If you notice the paint bubbling or raising up, have it inspected. Corrosion will cause the paint to bubble up.
- Remove loose paint with a scraper or putty knife to expose the metal. Any sign of pitting, have it inspected.
- Do not use paint remover, they cause heat and will damage the tank. Note: Catalina Cylinders has found that gel-type strippers work well in removing old paint and do not remove metal from the cylinder when properly used. Use gel strippers that are compatible with aluminum.
- Do not repaint tanks, it can cover up damage and corrosion.
- Aluminum tanks (3AL) remove any oxidation on the outside of the tank. It will look like a white film. Use a soft brush and hot water.
- Steel tanks (3AA) remove rust with a wire brush. If there are any signs of pitting, have the tank inspected.
Remember, like any piece of life support equipment, tanks need to be cleaned and cared for.