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Old 18-01-2018, 10:41   #1
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Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

Weve been cruising the PNW for the last couple of years with little need to run our water maker.

As we head south to Mexico and beyond Im wondering about the need to sterilize WM water. We currently have no UV sterilizer but was thinking of adding one. We currently turn over our water at a pretty good rate as we live aboard.

What do others do? UV Sterilizer, chlorine or bleach, nothing at all?

Cheers!
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Old 18-01-2018, 10:51   #2
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

Nothing at all But I keep our drinking water in separate smaller containers that we use to refill our water bottles. As long as your getting good turnover you really don't need anything but RO water doesn't last as long stored in the tropics so either a very small amount of bleach or peroxide will do the trick. I personally don't like even a tiny amount of bleach as we have aluminum tanks but a small dose of peroxide will do the trick without the after taste. We do have a charcoal filter on our cold water side.
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Old 18-01-2018, 13:10   #3
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorePlease View Post
Weve been cruising the PNW for the last couple of years with little need to run our water maker.

As we head south to Mexico and beyond Im wondering about the need to sterilize WM water. We currently have no UV sterilizer but was thinking of adding one. We currently turn over our water at a pretty good rate as we live aboard.

What do others do? UV Sterilizer, chlorine or bleach, nothing at all?

Cheers!


If your RO system does a "membrane flush cycle" after use, do not use any bleach or chlorine in your water tank as the chemicals will destroy the membrane if you do not have a good charcoal filter in-line on the flush plumbing. Chlorine and bleach are the #1 destroyer of membranes.
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Old 18-01-2018, 13:28   #4
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

Nothing at all, ever.
Been doing it like that since 1987.
Canada, USA, Mexico.
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Old 18-01-2018, 13:41   #5
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

In theory the output from the R/O system is clean and sterile. The potential for problems would be in the tank and in the plumbing, especially if you took on water from some other source and it "brewed" while in the tank. Chemicals are all well and good except for issues like chlorine eating aluminum and some plastics and needing several hours to kill all the real nasties, so you might consider UV-C either in the tank or just at the galley tap for your drinking water. UV-C really is the most effective way to nuke the water, with zero effect on the system. If you just use it in the galley, the bulb and power drain should certianly both be reasonable.
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Old 18-01-2018, 13:46   #6
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

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If your RO system does a "membrane flush cycle" after use, do not use any bleach or chlorine in your water tank as the chemicals will destroy the membrane if you do not have a good charcoal filter in-line on the flush plumbing. Chlorine and bleach are the #1 destroyer of membranes.
Thanks John..good point that I overlooked.
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Old 18-01-2018, 14:08   #7
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

I use a UV sterilizer after the watermaker and before the tanks. I also add minimal chlorine in the tanks. Organisms that grow in water can come by air thru the water tank vents. Only putting sterilized water in the tanks doesn't solve the growth problem. Especially in warm climates.
Another option is don't use a sterilizer, add chlorine to the tanks, and have a filter after the tanks that removes chlorine.
I do both the sterilizer and chlorine and then refilter the water to the galley and bar to remove any taste issues. Usually needed only if I get too much chlorine in the tanks or use marina water.
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Old 18-01-2018, 14:39   #8
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

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If your RO system does a "membrane flush cycle" after use, do not use any bleach or chlorine in your water tank as the chemicals will destroy the membrane if you do not have a good charcoal filter in-line on the flush plumbing. Chlorine and bleach are the #1 destroyer of membranes.


Very good point and one I may have missed. Thanks!
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Old 18-01-2018, 14:49   #9
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

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Very good point and one I may have missed. Thanks!
I would think all watermakers have a charcoal filter inline for backflushes
but no use taking too much of a risk.
Hydrogen Peroxide does a good job and turns back into water, that's what we use when we feel the need.
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Old 19-01-2018, 10:13   #10
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

I'm very curious about the strength and amount of H2O2 that you use in the tank?
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Old 19-01-2018, 10:28   #11
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

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I'm very curious about the strength and amount of H2O2 that you use in the tank?
The strength is commercial grade 50%. If the tanks are suspected of being dirty then use 100ml for 800 liters for the first and second time. There after use 50ml for 800 liters. When I was getting water in the Med it was all suspect and I treated it regularly but now we are on straight RO in the Caribbean and I would only do it after a lengthy storage period and I only use the reduced dose.
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:39   #12
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

Practical Sailor has an ongoing series of articles on this topic- some very recent.

This one might be a good starting point in answer to your question.

On our boat, watermaker product flows directly to the selected tank. Potable water is filtered with a 0.5 filter with its own tap at the galley sink.

Our potable water tanks are vented inside the vessel [into the galley sink- a tell tale when a tank is full...] so I believe the risk of contamination [saltwater, insects, etc.] is lower than with externally vented tanks.

If we feel the need to treat the water in the tanks, we use this commercial H2O2 oxidizer similarly to how Robert described his methods in post #8.

In case this is useful.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 19-01-2018, 11:41   #13
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

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... but a small dose of peroxide will do the trick without the after taste. We do have a charcoal filter on our cold water side.
To my knowledge, and I have really searched, there is no recognized protecole for treating drinking water with peroxide. By the time the dose is high enough to do any good, it is unhealthy for people. Below that, it does not actually kill bacteria, it only freshens the taste of the water.

If I am incorrect, please quote a health department-approved (any government) protecol for peroxide. The WHO and EPA say no.

There has been some research into silver stabilized peroxide and a few jurisdictions have approved it. This is much different that plain peroxide. However, to my knowledge, there are no retail sources. Again, if I am incorrect, please post the links.
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Old 19-01-2018, 12:26   #14
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

There has been some research into silver stabilized peroxide and a few jurisdictions have approved it. This is much different that plain peroxide. However, to my knowledge, there are no retail sources. Again, if I am incorrect, please post the links.[/QUOTE]


I was going to ask about this.. I've read about aftermarket silver systems for RO Watermakers. It also greatly increases the time interval for pickling the system between periods of non-use. Does anyone know about such Silver systems?
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Old 19-01-2018, 13:23   #15
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Re: Do you use any sort of sterilizer for water maker water

We run the watermaker directly to the tanks (via a mineralizer). We have an in line carbon block filter before the drinking water faucet. If there is any doubt about what is in the tanks we use a ceramic candle from Doulton the "Supercarb" - for bacteria and cysts - it is re-usable, but water flow is cut right down - so a bit annoying. Occasionally thought about UV sterilizer but never got around to it. We clean tanks and lines with diluted bleach and then flush every 6 months, so far not a problem in last 3 years full time cruising.
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