No one expects their regulator hose to last forever. But when we heard that even a few Miflex Xtreme-hi high pressure hoses failed, it came as a bit of shock. Miflex has a long history of making super high pressure hoses for many industries. Besides the convenience of having a super flexible Miflex hose, the over engineering and rigorous testing brings you comfort in knowing that this hose is built to outlive traditional rubber hoses (see http://www.scubagadget.com/?p=579). We investigated via interviews and forums and contacted Miflex to get the full story. Here what we learned:
- The numbers are small. Only a few problems were reported with the Miflex Xtreme-hi hoses and for some reason the failed hoses were only from the UK and USA (Miflex are used widely in Europe and other countries).
- The failure point was only where the hose enters the couplings.
- The forum reports stating that the hose failed in the middle or at multiple points are not correct. Those hoses failed at the coupling on the inner layer only and the air found its way through the outer layer to another point on the hose.
- The hoses did not fail from the normal working pressure, they failed from damage caused by excessive kinking by an abnormal source. For example one diver had a failure after the hose had been damaged during transportation in his car. The hose was mounted on the tank laying flat in the
- trunk of his car. All the weight of the tank was on the fitting and the hose bent at 90° under the tank. Another failure was after a tank had fallen and the entire weight of the tank was suspended by the Miflex hose.
- While no amount of engineering can prevent all failures, and divers should be careful with all hoses, Miflex now supplies the Xtreme-hi hoses with hose protectors that will help prevent a complete kink in the hose.
- Anyone that has a first generation Miflex Xtreme-hi high pressure hose can get a free hose protector from their dealer or Miflex.
There is another lesson to be learned from stories like these. It is that, while the stories and advice on forums often sound honest and helpful, you have to investigate to get the full picture. Luckily in this and in most cases the facts were much more benign and understandable than the forum rants would lead you to believe.
Finally, I still use and trust the Miflex hoses. But no matter what high pressure hose you use, here is a good reminder that it will eventually fail. When it does, there is a chance you may be underwater. I am very glad that I carry a fully redundant air source (pony bottle) on every dive. If you do not, it may be time to at the least look into a SpareAir.