We believe marine watermakers should come fully functional without needing to purchase additional accessories. Some unnecessary items include an oil water separating cartridge and an on-system UV sterilizer. The theory on the cartridge is that it will remove oil from the water before it hits the water maker membrane, but since water is pulled from below the surface where oil floats, the component ends up being a frivolous design feature that you end up paying to replace because the owner’s manual tells you it naturally degrades over time. In 30 years of manufacturing, we’ve never seen a membrane that has been dulled by oil build-up. Similarly, for a UV sterilizer to work properly it should be put in the discharge side of your fresh water holding tank. But competing manufacturers mount it on the intake side as part of the water making system, presumably to sterilize the water before it hits the tank. Because holding tanks are vented (inviting potential for contaminants) and are also fed by dockside fillings from shore, the holding tank itself could be contaminated with algae or bacteria. So, it makes no sense to take the extra step in purification if the UV sterilizer is placed before the holding tank.
Other things to look out for when buying a water maker are:
— systems that require proprietary components, such as membranes, pumps and fittings that are harder to find and more expensive to replace;
— water maker systems that use inferior materials, such as plastic versus high-grade stainless steel or bronze;
— special tools that are required for assembly or calibration;
— and compact systems that are completely enclosed in a frame that inhibits easy service and maintenance, such as changing the oil or replacing a fitting.