Underwater Housing Maintenance

This video tutorial discusses underwater housing maintenance. I went a bit over two minutes in this one, but it’s worth it because we discuss prepping the housing, maintaining o-rings, and how to properly rinse and dry the housing.

These meticulous exercises are essential for making sure your camera stays dry and your gear continues working like new.


Underwater Housing Maintenance

Flooding your housing and drowning your camera (and lens) is easier than you think. Each o-ring forms an airtight and watertight seal, and even a strand of hair, eyelash, sand grain or towel lint can break that seal.

The key takeaway here is that every o-ring and every o-ring groove need to be carefully cleaned before and after every dive.

Vacuum Valves & Leak Detect Systems

Vacuum valves and leak detection systems have become commonplace on underwater housings the last few years. The vacuum valve allows the diver to test the integrity of the housing seals (by pumping out air to create a vacuum inside the housing), while the leak detect system will indicate if the seal is compromised (no vacuum) – before, during or after your dive.

Meticulous underwater housing maintenance is critical even with these systems.

Housing Cleaning Supplies

All underwater photo and video shooters should carry supplies to clean their o-rings, along with a light source (I like camping headlamps) to help see when building the housing system in a dark room. This includes the kitchen at home, your room at a dive resort, or even the camera table on a liveaboard.

We need to be extra vigilant cleaning our gear when beach diving, where we often end dives with a layer of sand coating every o-ring surface.

my underwater camera gear layout

Curious about what gear I use?

Check out my Underwater Photo Gear page.

Brent Durand

Professional writer and underwater photo instructor. Brent is an avid diver and surfer, and has led many intensive photo workshops around the world. BrentDurand.com.