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Finding potential drysuit leak

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by leabre, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. leabre

    leabre Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Orange County, CA
    My past few dives I've been removing the drysuit to find my undergarments are beyand just damp but not drenched. It's a 1 year old drysuit with only 15 dives on it. I do not yet know if it is leaking or if I'm just sweating profusely. What is the procedure for determining whether your DR has a leak or not?

    I do not wear a wicking layer (my previous drysuit wasn't this wet) but assuming it is sweat, what would be a good wicking layer and would that help?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  2. j yaeger

    j yaeger PADI Pro

    # of Dives:
    Location: Canton, New York, United States
    c'mon...what fun is there diving and not being wet????lol
    shell suit???
    underwear is wet where? all over?
    just your chest?
    try to narrow things down a bit and go from there
    i wear polar fleece
    no cottons!
    shell suit
    have fun
  3. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    Well there are lots of ways water gets in, it's troubleshooting to find where. Use cans in the wrist and neck seals , fill with air, spray with soapy water and look for bubbles. If no bubbles, check inflator and exhaust (disassemble, replace?), then it could be your seals, more accurately you moving in your seals, too loose or a physical factor. Decide to replace or live with it. Good luck.
  4. kathydee

    kathydee Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: So Florida
    I've used a lot of techniques, here are a couple.

    If you suspect a leak, notice where the moisture is greatest for an indicator of where to start your hunt.

    Have heard of others wearing clothes such as medical scrubs under the suit, where the moisture spot is obvious when you jump into a pool.

    Also you can take the suit off after dive, observe the wet spot and notice last area to dry - a good indicator of where to find the leak.

    -Dark room, turn the suit inside out & shine bright flashlight to find easily identifiable punctures. Mark & fix

    - A messier but effective method, outside on a slab of cement.. Works best on leaks below the waist but you can zip suit up and find them higher. turn suit inside out when dry - fill with hose - look for any water leaks, don't spill the water - mark with sharpie pen. This gets heavy & is easier with two people.

    - Another method - turn suit inside out, fill with a little soapy water, plug wrist seals with full plastic bottles, clamp or fill neck seal with the same. Close drysut dump valve, fill through inflator with air - slosh around bubbles - hole will be obvious.
  5. leabre

    leabre Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Orange County, CA
    If it was just an arm/arms/chest I'd think it was the seals. But in this case it is everywhere but the socks. I use a 4th Element Xerotherm. It was warm enough to me for the 55* water I dive in, but when wet and on a 3rd dive it is shivering.
  6. j yaeger

    j yaeger PADI Pro

    # of Dives:
    Location: Canton, New York, United States
    uhm...55* is 3mm wetsuit temps.....:wink:

    must be sweating in a drysuit!!!!!
  7. DA Aquamaster

    DA Aquamaster Directional Toast ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: NC
    If it's a trilam suit and you are diving in humid conditions (or sweating on the way to the water creating your own mini-climate) and then diving in coldwater, the warm moist air inside the suit can condense on the now cold suit and create enough moisture to be damp all over. That actually fits pretty well with everywhere but the socks, as the boots tend to be well enough insulated to not cause condensation.

    Are you opening the suit peeling down to the waist or removing it entirely between dives? Taking it off to let the undergarment dry while you walk around may help as will turning the suit inside out to dry for 15 minutes or so.

    If you notice an area that's actually wet, that can suggest where the water is coming from:
    through an exhaust valve if you are not keeping enough air in the suit/trying to dive it too squeezed (that's usually localized in the arm),
    past a wrist seal if you have tendons that stand out, or perhaps scootering with the seal exposed and facing into the flow (that's usually in the forearm or wrist,
    through a worn zipper
    down the neck seal if it's too loose (generally with wrist and neck seals, if any air bubbles out, water also just went in).

    If you have water on the front of your torso, it could be coming from the neck seal, zipper or through or around the inflator.
  8. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    One of the biggest problems with dry suit leaks is that the places where your UG is most soaked may have little to no relation to where the water is coming in. Neck seal leaks, for example, result in wetness around the crotch, if you dive in horizontal trim. So my first goal is to try to narrow down the part of the suit that's under suspicion. The best way we have found to do that is to put on something that will really show water spots (this is the surgical scrub thing Kathy is talking about, although any fabric that will show wetness well will do) and get in a hot tub, swimming pool, or I suppose one could even do this in a bathtub in a pinch. Stay there for only a minute or two and get out, and then VERY carefully remove the suit and inspect your underclothing for wet spots.

    Once you have narrowed down the site, finding the leak is much easier. We've found the method of obturating the seals, inflating the suit, and spraying the questionable areas with a dilute detergent solution has been the least messy and most effective way to pinpoint the hole.

    If you can't find any evidence of a leak using this method, then one of several things is true: Either you are leaking through the seals, the leak is VERY small and you need to stay in the pool longer, or the leak is one that only opens up when the affected portion of the suit is held in a certain position. If you are soaked from head to toe by the end of three dives, I think you should be able to find it.
    thirdcoastdiver likes this.
  9. Peter_C

    Peter_C Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    Cricket from Otter Bay tells the story of one of her customers that kept complaining of his suit leaking severely. She checked it a couple of times, not finding any leaks. Then one day he put on his suit and didn't make it to the water, and removed the suit to find it was soaking wet. At that point he figured out it was him leaking into the suit. If you sweat a lot doing anything physical, then it is probably moisture. You can perform leak checks, but you should know whether you sweat a lot or not. Also on trips with multiple hot dives in a day, or multiple days of diving, I will bring extra base layers and sometimes an extra main undergarment.

    Jumping in the pool with light cotton clothes does work great for determining leaks. Otherwise I always blow up the suits I am working on with air and use lots of soapy water.
  10. fisheater

    fisheater Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sebastopol, CA
    My rule of thumb for differentiating leaks from condensation is whether my feet are sloshing on exit.

    If my feet are dry, it was condensation.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    j yaeger likes this.

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