MDW - 11/01/2018 10:22 AM
Yeah, most areas your best bet is to find the nearest fire extinguisher company. They usually have the hydro test equipment right there already for all their own tanks (extinguishers, halon tanks, etc) so they can do SCUBA tanks easily and cheaply because they have already amortized the cost of the equipment (so the SCUBA business is just extra income). Most charge $20 to $25. SCUBA shops charge $50 because they have to send the tanks out (usually to the same fire extinguisher company) for hydro and are paying $25 for that. They want to make some profit for their effort, so they charge you $35 for the $25 hydro and their time to take it there and pick it up. Then they add $15 for the vis (even though that is already a required step in the hydro retest process) and maybe for filling (which you won’t get directly from the hydro tester).
It’s not totally unreasonable; your just paying for the extra convenience of not having to take the tanks to the hydro tester yourself and then go back to the shop for a fill after.
I go directly to Kistler O’Brien Fire Systems because it is just as close as the 2 nearest shops, they take their tanks their for hydro anyway (and I don’t have to wait the extra time for them to get my tanks there and back), and they do the hydro for $20 (Eddy Test $30 if required). With my 20+ tanks, that saves me $500 every 5 years. After they come back from hydro, I vis them myself, put on the stickers and get my fills at Dutch Springs (who also take their rental tanks to Kistler O’Brien for hydro, BTW).