Clean Drinking Water on Board - Part 1, Watermakers for Boats

How do watermakers work?

Watermakers use Reverse Osmosis to make water. This is the opposite process of osmosis that plants use. Wiki definition of Reverse Osmosis and description; Reverse osmosis (RO) is a separation process that uses pressure to force a solvent through a membrane that retains the solute on one side and allows the pure solvent to pass to the other side. The membrane is designed to allow only water to pass through this dense layer while preventing the passage of solutes (such as salt ions). This process requires that a high pressure be exerted on the high concentration side of the membrane, usually 2 to17 bar 30 to 250 psi, for fresh and brackish water, and 40 to 70 bar 600 to 1000 psi, for seawater, which has around 24 bar 350 psi, natural osmotic pressure which must be overcome.

Types of watermaker Modular, Self Contained or Portable units are made for use on boats. For very small boats or even kayaks portable units are the way to go. For most boats however modular systems are best. Modular systems can be mounted in individual parts and do not require one large space, but several much smaller spaces. Most manufactures produce self contained units that house all the parts of the watermaker between the through hull and the water tanks. These setups are easily controlled but require a large amount of space.

Components of a typical modular system A typical installation involves a seawater supply, preliminary filtration to remove weeds and large contaminants, a low pressure pump to push the water through the particle filter which remove particles down to 5 microns, a high pressure pump to supply the RO membrane. Fresh water from the membrane is then sent to the water tank. For every gallon of fresh water produced roughly 10 gallons is required to pass through the membrane, the remainder goes overboard in the form of brine. Hose runs should be minimal especially in low energy systems.

Power to the pumps, can be supplied by battery, generator or engine driven pumps. Large capacity watermakers generally need an AC power source. Smaller capacity and low energy watermakers can use DC AC or engine driven pumps.

How much water are you going to need, what size watermaker do you need? Calculate how much water you need by estimating your daily usage/person/day. Older estimates allowed for a minimum of 1/2 to 1 gallon/person/day. This rate does not include showers, dishes and other extras. Nowadays with modern conveniences its more like 2 1/2 to 3 galls/person/day. Work out how much you want to run the watermaker. You don't want to run it all day, but you may want to run it while the generator is on, while the engine is on and your charging your batteries. So maybe 2-3 hour per day run time is reasonable. Tank size is also an issue. Its no good making 400 gallons if the tanks are not big enough. Normally watermakers give their estimated outputs based on 70 degree F. Colder water temps may produce less water.

Maintenance The membrane needs to be flushed regularly to remove the particles and salt that have been built up on the supply side of the membrane during the RO process.

Conclusion You now have fresh water, what no, what do you mean no. Water from the membrane goes into the water tank however there maybe contaminants in the tanks and pipes. Read part 2 of the making fresh water series to find out how to keep water fresh in the water tank and water lines before use.

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Pilot Won't Stay Lit on Hot Water Tank?
First, what kind is it? Two weeks ago, our three year old Whirlpool had the same problem. WE had to replace the gas valve and the thermal coupler. It's under warranty and hopefully we will reimbursed soon. It seems they have a problem with this.1. brand new hot water tank but still no hot water?open a hot faucet, does water come out? yes? good. no, facing the front of the water heater there are 2 pipes coming out the top, the right side is the cold feed to the heater, look for a valve on this pipe and make sure it is turned all the way open, counter-clockwise. second option, near the bottom of the heater there should be a large dial just to the right of where the gas goes in to the heater, what is is set at? it starts at "vacation" and ends at "hot" warm is in the middle, look for the notch and set the dial so that it towards the hot side. Or just call the landlord. well at least it only took 2 days for you and your bean to discover a leak big enough to use all your hot water, congratulations.2. whats the best way to increase the humidity in my snake tank?Install a small cooler with water tank filled with water this will increase the humidity. Make sure at what humidity your pet Snake is lived or leaves, there are some snakes live in Dry climates like sand deserts. or some live in water.3. In Kelvin Water Dropper, Does Volume of Water In Water Tank affect the Frequency of Static?Possibly, depending on the specifics of your device. The more water you have in your tank, the greater the water pressure at the bottom of the tank, and the drip rate (drips per second) likely increases with pressure. The higher the drip rate, the faster charge accumulates on the electrodes and you get more frequent static discharges.4. A water tank is 1.2 m square and 1.5 m deep. It is half full of water. How many times can a 9-litre bucket be filled from the tank?1.2 x 1.2 x 1.5= 2.16 cubic metres in total, So 50% = 1.08 cubic metres = 1,080 litres of water 9 = Answer = 120 times a 9 litre bucket = total of water is 1,080 litres5. What causes the pilot light on hot water tank go out?I am a plumber. It is the Thermocouple. You need to remove the burner from the bottom of the heater, vacuum out the burner to make sure the burner tube is not stopped up. The thermocouple goes out to shut off gas, it is a safety device. You will need to replace the thermocouple. It will cost around $15. 00 to $20. 00.6. What Nice Pretty Fishes Can I Put In My 30 Gallon Salt Water Tank?Be careful with adding too many damsel fish. They are territorial and will fight to the death. Maybe two different species will not fight. Remember that fish will NOT grow bigger if they feel limited by the size of the aquarium. The copperband butterfly has a nose/mouth that is suited for eating coral polyps. You may find him a picky eater. The damsel fish will quickly beat him to the sinking food bits every time. Tangs are "grazing" vegetation eaters. I think you should consider the eating habits of each fish, otherwise you will have to supply 4 kinds of food types. A Clown Trigger, from the Pacific I think? is a very expensive fish. If you are a beginner... keep your fish budget down until you have a year or two experience. A salt water tank AINT EASY.7. Toilet water tank sometimes takes hours to fill and sometimes it fill up right awaySince you do not mention lots of water running in the bowl (and when I have that problem from the flapper/flush valve it NEVER fills until it's fixed): I have one of the "modern" no-ball-arm fill valves that will stick closed sometimes. Generally taking the lid off the tank and giving it a sharp rap will get it back to filling. Ultimately I will replace it when that gets to be too much of an annoyance.
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