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Watermaker Tips

Our Village Marine "Little Wonder" watermaker has performed just fine so far.  We installed it in 2002.  Click here to see a schematic.  There are a few operational things we have learned that likely apply to all water makers. 

1)  If the water cloudy or brown or green with plankton,  don't use the watermaker.  Try and move to clear water before starting the machine.  While you can make water under these conditions,  filters will plug quickly and the produced water will soon be stinky and not so pleasant.

  2)  You can reuse the filters a couple of times.  Clean them with blasts of clean water.  Then leave them in strong sunlight for a day or two to cook any smells out of them.  Cleaned filters will last about 1/2 as long as the last time you used them - depending on the cleanliness of the feed water.
  3)  The manuals say you can leave the machine for a few days without flushing,  but I find a fresh water flush after every use helps avoid stinky water and shortens the start up time.
  4)  Water production varies significantly with water temperature and water salinity.  In the Straights of Georgia,  where the water is not very salty,  but quite cold we were hitting and exceeding specified production rates.  Out in the Pacific, however, production dropped.

At first I thought we had plugged or screwed up our membrane because of low production.  After applying the manufactures correction factors for temperature,  the unit was meeting its design production.  It was disappointing to find my 200 gallons per day unit does about 150 gallons per day in Southern California waters. Then again it was great to see production climb back up to its 200 GPD specification as we reached the warm waters off mainland Mexico. Output was steady until we hit cooler waters off South America.
  4)  Filters need monitoring if feed water is less than perfect. In Mexico, filters lasted a few weeks at best. In the South Pacific filters lasted months. The oil in the high pressure pump needs changing every six months or so. The manufactures recommended secondary boost pump was very low draw but failed twice in two years. We now carry a spare.