Q? What are the dangers of contaminated air?
Your Main Life Support
~ The Compressed Air You Breathe ~
You went through extensive training to become certified. You then probably spent much time and thought choosing equipment. Your mask must be comfortable, fins must fit well, and your tank, buoyancy compensator and regulator are the best your budget allows. You are also becoming more aware of the importance of exercise and good nutrition to safe diving and trying to make healthy changes in fitness and diet.
But how much thought do you give to filling your tank with compressed air? Compressed air is your main life support ingredient.
CONTAMINANTS IN YOUR AIR?
Air by nature, is composed of about 20.9 percent Oxygen and 78 percent Nitrogen; the balance of about 1 1/10 percent is traces of Argon, Carbon Dioxide, Neon, Helium, Methane, Krypton, Hydrogen, Nitrous Oxide and Xenon. Isn’t the air in your scuba tanks the same air you’re breathing right now? Well, yes and then some. Mother nature’s air has been somewhat altered by substances introduced by industrial contaminants. You’ll find some levels of Carbon Monoxide and Dioxide, Acetylene, Sulfur Dioxide, Solvents and depending on your location, other substances we’ll call smog. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“brewÃ¢â‚¬ is drawn into the compressor and concentrated at up to 3500 psi on an average. This processing adds by – products, for example, lubricating oils and Carbon Dioxide. Contaminants greatly increase as compressor equipment begins to wear and operate outside of normal parameters. Just like water at your kitchen tap, dangerous substances can be removed by a properly designed and maintained purification system, part of any good air fill station.
DANGEROUS AND NOT ALWAYS DETECTABLE
Some of the major contaminants concerning the diver are Carbon Monoxide , Carbon Dioxide, condensed oil and particulate matter and even water vapor. Some of these can be detected by taste and odor, others not. Some can cause health problems slowly over the long term without your knowing about it. Others occur during a dive where results can be suddenly dangerous or lethal.
The most harmful and immediate danger is from Carbon Monoxide (CO) whose safe limit is set at 10 parts per million (ppm). When CO combines with hemoglobin in red blood cells, it prevents blood from taking up oxygen. In other word, it suffocates you. Levels of 400 ppm result, at the very least, in headache and discomfort. Levels approaching 4000 ppm will prove fatal, subject to a range, because everybody is different and every dive is different. This can mean no repetitive dives, ever. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is found in air at various levels and is a byproduct of animal (including human) metabolism. High levels are usually due to combustion/cooking exhaust or local atmospheric conditions. Problems from higher levels can range from hyperventilation to suffocation, which can also mean no more repetitive dives.
Another high – risk contaminant is oil vapor. Although effects are not as immediate or extreme as Carbon Monoxide, breathing oil-tainted air can land you a case of pneumonia.
Moisture in the air is a double – edged sword. While extremely dry air is good because it preserves your diving equipment and prevents regulator freeze – up in cold water, the discomfort it can cause may not be so nice. Air that is more humid is good for respiratory tract comfort, but bad for your equipment.
“You are breathing compressed air and then entering the undersea world where your air supply is rather important”
BREATHING AIR STANDARDS
Several agencies set standards for breathing air. The Compressed Gas Association (CGA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the United States Navy are just four. Contrary to the sometimes popular belief, OSHA regulates commercial dive operations bu not recreational divers.
Diving industry standards dictate that breathing air suppliers subscribe to one of the major standards. PADI for example, requires their five star facilities to test air quarterly. Most recreational scuba applications use the Grade E standard, described by the CGA as the minimum grade for recreational diving.
Limits for Grade E are: 10 ppm Carbon Monoxide; 500 ppm Carbon Dioxide; total hydrocarbon (methane gas) no more than 25 ppm; oil 5mg/m3 (five milligrams of ail and particulate together in a cubic meter of air). Water vapor content may vary with intended use, however, most recreational diving purposes usually allow 67 ppm, or air that is 10 degrees lower in dew point than the worst local weather conditions. Oxygen in the mix must be between 20 and 22 percent. Most industry standards call for testing every three months.
BECOME “AIR AWARE”
Remember, you are breathing compressed air and then entering the undersea world where your air supply is rather important. Consequences of poor breathing air include both short and long term effects. Just as exposure to second hand cigarette smoke has become an important health issue, so too is the air you breathe from your scuba tanks.Reprint from Underwater USA / October 1994 This column was prepared by Michael Casey II of Lawrence Factor Inc., with review and input by Joe Osterheim, Visual Cylinder Inspection instructor.
Q? How often should I change my Max Air Compressor air filters?
To use the table below, first identify your compressor model. (e.g. MCH6, MCH8, etc..)
Your air filter capacity is primarily dependent on the temperature of the air entering into the purfication system. (e.g. 86 (F), 95 (F), etc..) This inlet temperature is generally about 10 to 15 degrees hotter than the surrounding ambient temperature the compressor system is operating in.
Locate your approximate inlet temperature in the left column and then follow to the right to see your filter capacity and running hours.
Q? What is the product warranty from Lawrence Factor?
Lawrence Factor® warrants to the original purchaser or our products that those products will be free from manufacturing defects in material and workmanship for a period of 90 days from the date of original purchase. During this period, Lawrence Factor® will, at its option, perform repairs or replace the defective product free of charge, or will refund the purchase price.
This warranty does not apply to normal wear and tear, abuse, neglect, unreasonable use, mistreatment, failure to follow the product instructions, or consequential damage. Modification or repair made by anyone not authorized by Lawrence Factor® will void this warranty.
This warranty and remedies set forth above are exclusive and in lieu of all others, whether oral or written, expressed or implied. No Lawrence Factor® dealer, agent, or employee is authorized to make any modification, extension, or addition to this warranty. Lawrence Factor, Inc.® is not responsible for special, incidental, indirect or consequential damages resulting from any breach of warranty, or under any other legal theory, including but not limited to loss of profits, downtime, goodwill, damage to or replacement of equipment and property, and any costs of procurement of substitute goods, technology, or services.
Q? What is the shelf life of my filters?
X-pendable® Cartridge Storage & Handling
Useful Cartridge Life
X-pendable® filter cartridges function by attracting and holding contaminants onto various types of Ã¢â‚¬Å“adsorbentÃ¢â‚¬ media’s. These adsorbents, however, possess a limited capacity for these substances. Once the processing capacity has been reached, the cartridge must be replaced.
Also, the amount of capacity is highly affected by the…
- Particular application
- Operating conditions
- Throughput rate
- Type of adsorbent
Even minor changes in any of these variables (especially operating temperature) could drastically impact the overall capacity. The Purification X-pertsTM at Lawrence Factor®, Inc. are able to calculate these capacities based on the operating conditions at your particular site. Contact your L-factorTM dealer or the tech-line extension at Lawrence Factor® directly to obtain this service.
When changing your adsorbent cartridges…
- All cartridges in the system must be replaced together as a set.
- Do not swap used cartridges from one tower to another.
- Avoid contamination of the downstream system by replacing the cartridges before they are spent.
- Maximum cartridge life once installed is six months regardless if it has not reached the full processing capacity.
Reliable Shelf Life
X-pendable® cartridges come with a guaranteed 2-year shelf life so long as the airtight wrapper has not been opened. If you are in doubt about the manufacture date, contact your dealer or the customer service extension at L-factorTM to determine remaining shelf life. Reliability and freshness of the cartridge should be questioned after this date.