FCI Watermakers

How To Choose a Marine Water Maker

Many manufactures guarantee the performance of their marine desalinators, but there are several upfront indicators that signal their claims may not hold water. Here’s what to look for as you shop for a dependable marine water maker.

• Open frame
• High-grade materials
• Nonproprietary parts
• Low RPM components
• Necessary parts and features are included
• Customized operation
• Solid warranty coverage

Your first clue will be how the marine water maker system is packaged. Open-framed systems are designed to facilitate visual inspections and routine, onsite maintenance. Systems that are entirely enclosed require complicated disassembly to allow shipboard inspection or trouble-shooting.

Equally important are the construction materials. High-grade alloys like industrial-quality stainless steel and bronze should be used for all critical components. Plastic plumps, for example can compromise system operation and even jeopardize the vessel with flooding if the sub-waterline pump is inadvertently cracked or stepped on. Motors should be epoxy coated to help protect your system from corosion. What’s more, water makers that use commercially available parts mean less hassle and less cost for you, versus brands that feature proprietary parts such as membranes, pumps and fittings that are expensive and available only at select locations.

Your marine reverse osmosis system should be resilient to all water conditions that you encounter during your travels. One way to assure that the performance of your marine water maker isn’t compromised as it processes different degrees of salinity and particulate is by utilizing low RPM components. Pumps that turn at excessive RPMs (for instance, over 3000 RPMs) are so susceptible to feed water variances that they require special filtration (often a proprietary component). This results in more frequent filter changes and added cost of operation.

Determine if the price of the marine water maker is inclusive of everything you need to achieve rated outputs and superior performance. Often, necessary components are priced as separate packages, accessories or upgrades. For example, fresh water flush is required feature for your marine water maker to perform properly, however, it is not always part of the base price. Likewise, your marine RO system should come calibrated and ready to run. You should not be required to purchase additional accessories or calibration solutions to complete the set up.

You should be able to customize your marine water maker so it can be installed, run, modified and monitored based on your minute-by-minute needs. For instance, if your fresh water flush is pre-programmed to run every seven days, this lack of flexibility may inhibit your ability to WHAT? WHY WOULD YOU WANT A FRESH WATER FLUSH TO RUN MORE OFTEN? In partnership with customization is watersmart intelligence. A preferred system will present automatic audio and visual alerts, finger-tip data and an onscreen help menu. With today’s available technology, you should not settle for anything less than a marine reverse osmosis system that’s so easy and efficient you’ll think the entire water maker consists of just a few buttons on your control panel.

It’s important to review the warranty before you make your purchase. Some warranties are complicated and contradictory, with terms and conditions that apply to individual components. For example, a warranty may be voided if you do not purchase the manufacturer’s proprietary parts

Other questions you should ask are how extensively the marine water maker has been tested. Under what conditions and criteria did the manufacturer rate their outputs? Can you operate the system remotely? How is the marine RO unit designed to control noise — a pet peeve of many boaters. Moreover, doing your research and comparing the engineering and features of competing brands will reveal important superiorities that will ultimately make the difference in your boating experience.


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