It is not essential to buy a special regulator if you only plan to dive with mixtures containing 40 percent oxygen or less. Almost any regulator you already own can be used for this type of service with no special modifications or cleaning, although some manufacturers may void a warranty when a regulator not designed for Nitrox service is used with Nitrox. Check with your instructor or dive center before you start to use an existing regulator with enriched air mixtures.

Many diving equipment manufacturers now sell regulators specifically designed for Nitrox service. These regulators can usually be identified by yellow and/or green rings on the first stage, and by yellow and/or green second stages. But the real difference is more than skin deep, and Nitrox regulators have special o-rings, Nitrox compatible seats, and use special lubricants. The real value of a dedicated Nitrox regulator is shown in situations where levels of oxygen higher than 40 percent will be used.

If you decide you need this capability sometime in the future, the regulators you already own may be suitable for conversion to dedicated Nitrox service. Check with your instructor.

In addition to the markings that are used on regulators specifically designed for Nitrox service, you may also want to purchase a colored plastic hose wrap, designed to cover the low pressure hose connecting the first and second stages of your regulator. This is an additional method of identifying a regulator that will be used especially for Nitrox service.

Remember that if you purchase a regulator specifically for Nitrox you must not use it with any cylinders that have not been cleaned for oxygen service and filled at an oxygen safe facility. Use with anything but oxygen safe gas mixtures may expose the regulator to oils and contaminants that can lead to an oxygen fire or explosion. An oxygen fire could be fatal to you or anyone close by you.

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