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Air consumption

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by lowlysubaruguy, Sep 28, 2019.

  1. lowlysubaruguy

    lowlysubaruguy Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: The Gorge
    I’m an air hog always have been. I’m about 200 dives in now, I do a number of things pre dive which has helped I do a yoga breathing exercise about a month before a dive trip and try to swim as much as possible as well.

    I’m pretty healthy but I don’t work out, I do see quite a bit if physical activity but my job and life are pretty stressful to understate things there just getting things in order to leave is enough of a contribution to it that it’s probably a big factor.

    Three other factors
    My left legs muscles and both knees have issues my leg will never heal it’s been since 2000 I run with a gimp but you’d never know I have an issue here from any other activity.

    I have been through two rounds of radiation to me left chest and quite a bit of that was near the lung on that side along with a lengthy dose of chemotherapy

    And something I discovered over the summer is breathing through a mask for a period of time causes me to breathe harder. I painted inside and out of three buildings and two cars this summer. All using new respirator masks. Low restriction and the right masks for each paint. What I figured out was that 30 minutes in my breathing was much more labored. To the point I wonder if this isn’t occurring when diving and contributing to my air usage. The question of which is what’s the actual cause. Is it a mental thing, is breathing through something mentally messing with my air usage is one one my lungs less effective or something else. I do not think it is the physical activity I was performing because none of these tasks are any more demanding than a lot of my daily routine.

    Ive managed my air consumption well enough. I use HP 100s and i dive with a few very experienced divers and am quite often close to the same consumption as them but my problem lies in low fills and smaller rental tanks when traveling I’d like to get five more minutes of bottom time. I believe a little actual exercise would help but I’ve dove with some really out of shape smokers that used less air than me so it’s more than that.
  2. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    You've got several potential things going here. First, as to your breathing rate increasing while wearing a respirator, that's not surprising. Even a low restriction mask is going cause you to retain CO2 more than no mask. Additional CO2 will trigger an elevated breathing rate. Similarly when on SCUBA, breathing through a regulator will never be as easy as in air. People vary a lot in their sensitivity to CO2 exposure and your respiration rate may just be more sensitive to elevated CO2. A well-tuned, easy breathing regulator is your friend in this department.

    Second, your radiation treatment may have resulted in some loss of lung function. If so, a loss of capacity could also reduce your overall respiratory efficacy. I'm not a physician, so you should discuss your lung vital capacity with your doctor.

    Finally, how is your trim and buoyancy? Some divers never get good training in this department. If you are constantly adjusting your buoyancy, kicking hard, and paddling with your hands, that will DRAMATICALLY increase your air consumption. Ideally should be floating effortlessly and kicking very slowly on your dives.
    Graeme Fraser and Bob DBF like this.
  3. Altamira

    Altamira Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    You may not be able to change your SAC/RMV rate very much, and it sounds as if you are generally compatible with rates of fellow divers. I suspect that you are too focused on breathing, and thereby contributing to what you consider heavy breathing. In the grand scheme of things, an extra five minutes of underwater time is inconsequential. In any dive group, someone is going to need to surface first, and I don't know any divers that I respect that would feel put out because they had to surface five minutes early because some other diver had a slightly higher air usage. If someone hassles you about that, you are diving with the wrong people. Also, at the risk of starting another fin debate, with your leg and knee issues, you might consider trying a high quality split fin. After years of dealing with knee problems, I bought a pair of Apollo Bio fins and have never looked back. While I don't/can't frog kick or back kick with them, I have been with divers that could do any of the finning techniques with split fins just as well as those using the more favored paddle fins. With the Apollo Bio fins, I no longer have knee pain or leg cramps, my SAC/RMV has improved, and I can more than keep up with most divers I encounter who are not professionals.
  4. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    The OP might want to go on the Diving Medicine forum and chat with the docs there about the effects of his treatment that might affect his diving. Diving Medicine

    wetb4igetinthewater and RyanT like this.
  5. lowlysubaruguy

    lowlysubaruguy Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: The Gorge
    I will post this on the medical forum in case it finds someone that might know more about what impact chemo and radiation could have on the matter.

    I’m solid on pretty much all of the functions of a dive, buoyancy is good. And its not like I’m blowing through air and collapsing a tank dry in 30 minutes so I’m fine with it if radiation has impacted my lungs I can accept that, if theres things I can do to use less air I’d like to work on them.

    Eventually the stress in my life will decrease a lot and its not that far off I think this will help, just getting my life in order to leave on a trip is a mess. I dont discount stress as a big part of the equation either. I like to blame a lot of it on my work but I will tell you My time clock ticks a little louder and than it should and I probably try to pack more into a given second than I should.

    I found a few exercises that have increased muscle mass in my left leg a little while its all growing in from the front and sides of my leg there is now muscle appearing where there were none. I do know this has an impact I cant run I trot with a gimp you wouldn’t know watching me work or walk but its probably a bigger factor than I used to think. If I could rewind the clock I would have found a doctor that had a clue how to deal with that injury.

    This may help me a lot and in a couple years I will start taking more time off and loosing some of the stress my hectic life produces but thats still a couple years out. I think these two may have a bigger impact than anything else.
  6. W W Meixner

    W W Meixner Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ontario Canada

    Tweak your trim...with assistance...perform your buoyancy check in the shallows to ensure you're not over-weighted...pre-dive...fill your BCD orally as opposed to using cylinder gas...avoid saw-tooth dive profiles...especially if you're over-weighted...your BCD will inhale/exhale more breathing gas than you...

    If you find yourself struggling on the dive boat and exhausting yourself...take a breath...and slow down...no points are awarded for first in the water...

    If on any prospective dive day you feel over-stressed...for what ever reason...don't dive...you may want to have your blood pressure checked by your physician...and check it regularly at home...portable blood pressure monitors are not expensive...recent statistics seem to indicate one of the most common dive accident root causes is heart attacks...

    Lots of things you can do to conserve breathing gas...the above are a few of the most common...


  7. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
    I would suggest you accept your air consumption as a fact, stop worrying about it, and use a larger tank if available, or cut down on your depth. I can almost guarantee that the less you worry about it the better it will get. Relax and go with the flow.
  8. lowlysubaruguy

    lowlysubaruguy Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: The Gorge
    I’m solid on the dive I’m a very fast paced person my low gear is mosts red line. When it comes to gearing up I am the last to start gearing up and usually one of the first ready to dive and its not like I’m racing I just figure things out and do them at that pace I’m very mechanically inclined its actuallly what I do for a living figure mechanical things out. I figure things out and master them quickly which is one reason I’m looking for ideas to help me here that I have not come up with because I usually master physical things very easily.

    I’m not stressed out in a panic I just know I live a high stress life its two weeks into a vacation before I have actually left my home life behind and my vacations are usually pilling 20 pounds of stuff i a ten pound sack. That I cant change right now but its in the works I’m on the 15 yard line 1st and ten and am up by 8 points so there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m young enough to hopefully get over the stress my lifestyle has put on me. But I do think stress is part of it and its not the stress of diving. My little sister goes on vacation and lays in a lawn chair most of her trip. My vacations are not like that but one day maybe I will lay around relax probably not. I remember laying on a beach in Hawaii a while back just laying there in the green sand of course I had just helped a park ranger back pack about 25 pounds of green sands 2 miles to return it to the beach where people had taken it and ha bad luck after returning home even on my vacations I’m working:) It was funny we walked the entire way in my sister found another path in by Jeep and met us there just about the time we made it there.

    I’m trimmed well and buoyancy is good. Its not anything a new divers is struggling with it more than that. Which is why I brought up my experience using masks this summer. Ive been painting cars since 1983 wearing masks is a familiar process but I’m physically laboring more to breathe through a mask now and I’m sure a little with a scuba regulator and I dive a regulator that breathes well. I do think I have about 4 or five things that are contributing factors between the leg what my body and for sure right lung has been through and the mental stress I carry from my lifestyle.
  9. lowlysubaruguy

    lowlysubaruguy Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: The Gorge
    This is pretty much how I go about it now fact is I dive a 133 when I’m local and the waters really cold in a dry suit I never use it all up I’m always ready to surface well before I’m even low on air I think the last couple of dives were just over an hour and I was probably close to 1000 PSI even after hitting 90 feet on the dive so its really not an issue that is concerning.
  10. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: acworth ga
    Three questions:
    How often do you dive? 200 dives can be a lot of diving in the last six months, or one week of diving each year for the past decade, and they give vastly different results in my opinion.
    How easily can you stay horizontal for 1-3 minutes underwater, within 18" of your starting depth, without moving your feet or your hands? I recognize you believe you have good trim and buoyancy, but the "motionless hover" is one of the few ways to really see if trim and buoyancy are really dialed in.
    Have you ever evaluated "where" in your dives you tend to use air the fastest? I learned a while back that if I jumped in a headed straight down, or surface swam for a while and dropped immediately, the exercise of doing that stuff leading up to starting the dive increased my initial air consumption dramatically. Pausing for a minute or two to get settled in the water before descending did wonders for extending my airtime initially.

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