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Scuba Tank Refill, Can I Trust My Scuba Fill Station or Dive Center?

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A scuba tank refill can be difficult if you have never done it before. In addition, it can be dangerous to trust some scuba fill stations, because managing them has strong requirements the owners have to follow, if they don’t, they can put your health at risk.

In this article, we talk about filling scuba tanks, what possibilities you have, scuba fill station problems, and how to fill a compressed air tank the right way. Are you interested in this? Keep reading.

The article revolves around three main characters, three scuba divers with different needs. Let’s meet them.

Like all of us, John is a scuba fanatic. He has his own scuba gear, his own zodiac even his own scuba air tanks for scuba diving, but he prefers using a sidemount system and carrying smaller diving tanks than usual. He has to go to a dive center for his scuba air tank refills.

Lu is a dive instructor, as well as Troy, her husband. They no longer work in diving industry, but they still love to dive every weekend. Also, having spent years working in dive centers around the world, they know that not everyone properly maintains their scuba compressors. Lu and Troy, in addition, are nitrox divers. So, they have just bought their own scuba tank fill station, but they still don’t know how to use it yet.

Our last protagonist is Pearl. She dives in the Caribbean with Dressel Divers and doesn’t worry about a thing. She enjoys scuba tanks refilled by the dive center staff, free nitrox, and also knows that everything has strictly complied with the necessary revisions.

Look at the table of contents and discover common worries about scuba tank refills.

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1. Scuba Tank Refill Near Me

John needs to refill his scuba air tank every time he goes scuba diving. So, he looks for scuba diving centers or clubs on the internet for a scuba tank filler.

But for him, filling scuba tanks is a real headache because he doesn’t trust the maintenance of the compressors.

1.1. Scuba Tank Fill Station Maintenance

A scuba tank air compressor is a machine that works to take air from the environment. Then, it compresses it for the scuba tank refill.

However, the air has moisture and organic matter. Thus, every scuba fill station compressor has a filter that removes moisture and organic matter from the air.

The compressed air in the cylinder must be dry because the water contains bacteria that could develop inside the tank. On the other hand, the decomposing organic matter could produce carbon monoxide and poison us. Therefore, the filling station filter is responsible for the air inside the tank being breathable and non-toxic.

If a compressor filter lasts for 30 hours of filling, after that time, it is dirty. Therefore, it is unable to perform its task, and it urgently needs to be changed for a new one. However, filters are expensive. So, some scuba tank fill station owners change filters when they start to smell bad. It implies a high risk to divers’ health because, by that time, the filter is full of bacteria.

This knowledge is vital for John, who just chooses those dive centers that have strict maintenance of their scuba tank fill stations. He knows that if the air has an odor, it is because of its poor quality. Air is always odorless. So, if it smells, there is something rotten.

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2. Turn Yourself into a Scuba Tank Filler

Lu and Troy have their own scuba tank fill station and they plan on filling scuba tanks themselves.

   2.1. What Are Scuba Tanks Filled With

A refillable compressed air tank needs upward of 3,000 psi / 200 bar pressure to be useful for scuba diving, so, Lu and Troy had to purchase a compressor capable of satisfying this requirement.

Every diver knows that compressed air tanks are not filled with oxygen, but with air. However, there are a lot of people who call scuba air tanks oxygen tanks.

Air is a mixture that has 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, and 1% other trace gases, and as we said before, the scuba tank fill station takes the air from the environment. Nonetheless, Lu and Troy are Nitrox divers.

So, they will have to fill their tanks with a partial pressure method.

We explain that.

The most common nitrox gas blending, EAN32 or Nitrox I, has 32% oxygen and 68% nitrogen. Therefore, our couple will refill thanks with pure oxygen first and common air later.

    2.2. How To Fill Compressed Air Tank

The steps Lu and Troy will follow to fill compressed air tanks are these.

  1. Check the scuba tank for leaks and purge any air it may contain.
  2. Attach the scuba tank to the oxygen bottle and check that about 430 psi / 30 bar is transferred, purge the excess and close the tank.
  3. Turn on the scuba refill compressor and set it for the air tank volume they want to fill.
  4. Connect the compressor yoke to the scuba tank and open it
  5. Press the fill button. When the tank is refilled, it will turn itself off.
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3. Scuba Tank Refill Included in Your Dive or Dressel Divers Air Tank Fill Style

Pearl dives into the Caribbean and does not want to lug around refillable compressed air tanks from New York, where she lives. Pearl has chosen a Dressel Diver dive center because she is completely confident in the quality of the air she breathes during her dives, and she is right.

Dressel Divers has professional air fill station staff, including a compressor mechanic at each base.

Many years ago, our CEO Javier Ibrán requested a study to calculate how often we should change the compressor filters. The study stated that each filter could last 300 hours. Nonetheless, Javier knew they had not considered the extreme Caribbean hot and humid climate conditions. His decision was: “Dressel Divers will change filters every 100 hours.”  That’s the way air tank fillers work in our company.

In addition to the compressed air bottle filling station, we have a Nitrox filling station in just about every dive center. These compressors do not work like Lu and Troy’s.

Our nitrox fill station has a membrane system. The problem is that this membrane system requires clean air to work. So, if the compressor filters need to be changed regularly, the membrane system filters must be pristine.

At Dressel Divers, scuba tank refills with nitrox are for free. Do you come to dive with us? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram.