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Old 29-03-2023, 18:02   #1
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Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

I have a question about using water makers when you stay somewhere for a while.


I tend to stay in a location for two weeks or a month sometimes. possibly even longer at times.

how do you get water when you are anchored in a harbor for a month?

do you just run the water maker and then change filters more often or something?

do you have to go to the dock and keep filling tanks and pickle the water maker?

do you just jug the water?

I want to get my watermaker in service during the summer and I can’t really see how I’m going to use it when I am in a harbor for a while. Easy enough to fill up the tanks when you are actively traveling. But when you are staying somewhere, then what?

I can already picture of the girls I will be having out to visit and the showers they will be wanting.

Lots and lots of water.

and I’ll probably have to take a shower as well. You don’t want to know how long 50 gallons of water lasts me. Ha ha ha.
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Old 29-03-2023, 18:31   #2
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

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how do you get water when you are anchored in a harbor for a month?
We anchor in locations with nice clean water. Running the watermaker in these locations is not a problem.
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Old 29-03-2023, 18:39   #3
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

What comes out of the water maker is probably cleaner than the dock spigot.
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Old 29-03-2023, 19:20   #4
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

Ok. For the sake of a better picture, imagine you're on a mooring in Titusville. Or in a harbor on long island sound.

Yes, I have to anchor in populated places in order to work, see friends and complete a boat.

Not just sitting at the head of a fjord in Norway or on an atoll in the Pacific.

What I don't understand is if I can run the watermaker in busy harbors.

Obviously oil slicks are no good. I know that much.

I really just don't know how (where) to use a watermaker. I do know there are plenty of chemicals they let through too and I hadn't even thought about that until SY Harmony's post.

A carbon filter can take out most of those chemicals though for drinking
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Old 29-03-2023, 19:56   #5
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

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Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
I can already picture of the girls I will be having out to visit and the showers they will be wanting.

Lots and lots of water.

and Iíll probably have to take a shower as well. You donít want to know how long 50 gallons of water lasts me. Ha ha ha.
You may want to consider adding another tank or two.

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Old 29-03-2023, 20:00   #6
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

We have two water makers. I don't hesitate to use them anywhere except a marina because of the oil that's always in the water. Filters are cheap. Use them.
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Old 29-03-2023, 20:06   #7
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

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We have two water makers. I don't hesitate to use them anywhere except a marina because of the oil that's always in the water. Filters are cheap. Use them.
Ok, so if the water is semi fresh from tidal action, it'll be fine?
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Old 29-03-2023, 20:21   #8
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

Trace oil in a marina is no problem since it floats as a thin film on the surface - your intake seacock is well below it.

And bacteria from dumped holding tanks is also no problem since bacteriia and viruses are an order of magnitude larger than the salt the watermaker is removing.

But in water with lots of suspended material, filters can clog very quickly. Iíve had filters clog after just 100 gallons in Maine. The water is not polluted - just full of algae of different t sorts. Gets expensiveÖ
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Old 29-03-2023, 20:23   #9
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

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Ok, so if the water is semi fresh from tidal action, it'll be fine?
Yup, good enough.
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Old 29-03-2023, 20:25   #10
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

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Trace oil in a marina is no problem since it floats as a thin film on the surface - your intake seacock is well below it.



And bacteria from dumped holding tanks is also no problem since bacteriia and viruses are an order of magnitude larger than the salt the watermaker is removing.



But in water with lots of suspended material, filters can clog very quickly. Iíve had filters clog after just 100 gallons in Maine. The water is not polluted - just full of algae of different t sorts. Gets expensiveÖ
This is true most of the time. The marina we just left was like a washing machine when the wind blows which makes me think that it could get some below the surface to be sucked through the intake.
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Old 30-03-2023, 03:49   #11
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

Watermakers, ALL watermakers should be considered "OFFSHORE" pieces of equipment where the water is gin clear, the Bahamas, Carib etc. In "theory" in a perfect world you could drop your intake into a septic tank and make great water. Until you clog the filtration system. Most boat based watermakers in the cruising boat range use pleated filters. These of course come in all different qualities. Even the best ones are not 100% perfect, all will eventually let something by and it will begin to accumulate in your system slowly and gradually. Larger systems which for the most part are impractical on a cruising boat, will use large media filters which are far better than pleated filters. Every year a few months after the Annapolis boat show we usually get a few brand new watermakers that have sat for a few months making water in the Chesapeake and then on their way down the ICW with impaction problems.
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Old 30-03-2023, 04:15   #12
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

thanks for piping in Tellie. Your expertise in water makers is pretty much unmatched.

what if you are cruising in an area where there is no gin clear water? For instance, Maine? it’s cloudy water. Completely clean. Untouched by humans. But kind of greenish and there is turbidity, even well offshore. Does that just mean you’ll go through pre-filters faster and some of the organisms causing the turbidity will make it into the water maker as well?

and in general if things begin to accumulate in the system like you are describing, is that really that big of a deal? Does that just mean you need to buy some new membranes once the junk accumulates? Or can you backflow it and flush it out?

I’m assuming the production quantity starts going down as it clogs up? Is that the symptom? It wouldn’t change the TDS value really would it? And it doesn’t seem like the pressure would really go up because the overflow brine discharge would regulate pressure, right?

finally a question to anyone. Do they make more expensive and reusable/washable pre-filters? Or do you have to just buy disposables?
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Old 30-03-2023, 05:25   #13
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

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Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
how do you get water when you are anchored in a harbor for a month?

do you just run the water maker and then change filters more often or something?

do you have to go to the dock and keep filling tanks and pickle the water maker?

do you just jug the water?
Any and/or all of those depending on ease. The biggest concern I always have running WM in a harbor is oil, but ran mine in Nassau and later could tell there was oil scum there based on bottom of my dinghy.

Don"t have to pickle the WM, can just just fresh water flush it every 5 days if not going to be going to the dock or "jugging it" for a long time.
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Old 30-03-2023, 05:43   #14
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

In a harbor, I'd only make water on the incoming tide, as the water should be cleanest at that point. And definitely think about upgrading to bigger and better pre-filters, as well as good carbon filtration to take care of any VOCs or other stuff the watermaker doesn't. If you're really worried about oily harbors you could install a hydrocarbon adsorption filter, but I think that's overkill. If the water doesn't look oily and you're drawing from a bit below the surface, I wouldn't be worried about sucking up oil.

Carbon filters should be installed to filter the water coming out of the tank, not before it goes in. The flow rate is lower going from the tank to the taps, so the size of filter required for adequate carbon contact time is smaller. It'll avoid most concerns about taking on funky tasting (but otherwise safe) dock water in some places too.

If you know what the watermaker comes with as far as pre-filters, you should be able to assemble a new pre-filter setup that filters to the same or a finer level, but uses larger off the shelf filters and housings so they take longer to clog. Finer prefilters will get more of the junk out before it gets to the membranes. And ideally, you use filters that are easily available at Home Depot, etc. in case you need a few extras in a pinch.
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Old 30-03-2023, 06:09   #15
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Re: Watermaker Usage Question: I have an old Spectra

You already know how filled the harbors are w/algae, etc. that will quickly clog up your filters. It is a wash on time spent changing filters and playing with the watermaker to get an appreciable amount of water in the tanks.

If it were me, would suck it up and jug the water (every time you go in). Will get old quickly lifting 5 gal jugs/40lb ea., but just think of the work out you will get to keep you in shape for the ladies!
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