Is your dive air safe?

Many recreational operators of dive compressors are not aware of the severe risk even well-serviced compressors can pose to themselves, their friends and family.

Multiple life-threatening air contaminants can enter SCUBA cylinders via the filing air compressor including carbon monoxide, excess carbon dioxide, oil residues and other hydrocarbons. As well as SCUBA cylinders, any high or low pressure system delivering breathable air can be affected, such as hookah units and breathing systems used in industrial applications.

Testing for these contaminants is mandatory for commercial operators and highly recommended for private compressors.

Non-fatal symptoms vary by contaminant and can be broadly describes as follows:

Carbon Monoxide (CO) - Headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, impaired judgment, confusion, unconsciousness

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - Hyperventilation, dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness

Volatile Hydrocarbons - Fatigue, headache, confusion, impaired judgment, numbness, cardiac arrhythmia, loss of consciousness

Oil (condensed) - Headache, nausea, impaired respiratory function

Dust (particles) - Impaired respiratory function

Reference: The Divers Alert Network (DAN) - Breathing Gas Contaminants

The testing procedure

Testing of remote air compressors by Air Purity LTD is straightforward and convenient:

  1. Air Purity dispatches two specifically designed self-sealing air-sample bags with step-by-step instructions by courier to the agreed address
  2. The step-by-step instructions include a few simple questions to be filled out by the customer
  3. The compressor is started
  4. Air is purged through the whips/airlines for at least 60-seconds to remove moisture.
  5. The pair of self-sealing bags are filled in only a few seconds
  6. The sample bags and form are returned to Air Purity via the included self-addressed courier bag
  7. Air Purity tests the air at its office
  8. Air Purity provides the test certificate as a pass or fail, depending on the results

To arrange this important air test, please contact Air Purity by phone on 09 623 3252 or by email on info@airpurity.co.nz

Tests cost $250 including GST. This fee is payable before the sample bags will be couriered from the Air Purity office.

Contact Air Purity to get your compressor air tested

Important: Pre-Christmas testing needs to done by the 19th of December!

Further Information

Compressor air is tested for the presence of the following potentially dangerous issues:

  • Any presence of odour or taste
  • Water vapour above 100mg/m3
  • Carbon Monoxide above 5ppmv
  • Carbon Dioxide above 480ppmv
  • Oil mist above .5mg/m3
  • The presence of hydrocarbons

A test certificate is issued outlining the results and a number of other relevant details. In a commercial application, this certificate is valid for three months. A copy of the test certificate can be viewed here: Example test certificate

In the case of a failed test, Air Purity can recommend several service agents nationwide.

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About Air puriTY

Set up in 2013, Air Purity Limited is an independent, and 100% owned subsidiary of the New Zealand Underwater Association. In 1982, NZ Underwater identified the need to ensure safe diving practices were supported by quality assurance procedures extended to dive cylinders and air filling equipment, thus developing the SCAP (Scuba Cylinder Audit Program). Today, Air Purity is a primary point of contact for clean breathing air testing, SCAP cylinder audit and certification, air-fill operator certifications, and recreational boat training courses specific to the New Zealand underwater community.

Contact Air Purity