The Ultimate FAQ Guide for Fresh Water Makers

If you live and cruise on a boat all year round, there must be a problem that often bothers you, and that is the high cost and difficulty of obtaining drinking water on the boat. If you want a complete solution that allows you to cook, drink, shower, etc. on board without any worries, this article will provide you with the best solution.
By choosing a marine desalinator that fits your size from a small sailboat to a large work boat, getting and producing water on the boat is no longer a dream. Not limited to boats, off-grid homes, island homes, remote areas, emergency situations, camping, and RVs.

Figure 1 Freshwater maker.

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1. What is a Fresh Water Maker?

Technically, a fresh water maker is a water treatment machine chiefly reliant on the reverse osmosis process to shrink salt levels in seawater. Freshwater makers are essentially seawater reverse osmosis units primarily utilized to eliminate or fundamentally lessen the concentration of dissolved solids in seawater.

Consequently, they have characteristically high TDS levels (on average 35,000ppm) to ensure smooth operations even under extremely saline conditions. Their application is mainly engineered to supplement the supply of fresh water for offshore and on-shore personal and commercial projects.

2. Where are Fresh Water Makers Mostly Used?

The premier application of freshwater makers is the boundless supply of potable water to offshore and onshore enterprises. They are mainly exploited to eradicate salinity from sea and ocean water and consequently provide first-rate product water.

The application scope of reverse osmosis water makers is further enhanced by the integration of auxiliary technologies like UV sterilization and activated carbon filtration. The list below depicts some of the primary uses of fresh watermakers.

  • Generation of product water for boats.
  • Coastal homes and beach resorts.
  • Emergency response services.
  • Coastal farming.
  • Health centers and small businesses.

NEWater Boat Water Purification Systems Applications

3. Which Processes Are Utilized by Fresh Water Makers?

Primarily, freshwater makers exploit the renowned reverse osmosis process to transform seawater into fresh product water. Nonetheless, other processes are varyingly deployed as pretreatment or post-treatment solutions for reverse osmosis watermakers.

The reverse osmosis technology employed commences by subjecting the seawater pretreatment. Ordinarily, sediment or multimedia filters are exploited to eradicate seaweed, colloids, and debris and ultimately mitigate membrane clogging.

Using a high-pressure pump, the seawater is subsequently compelled to pass through the RO membranes. The partially perforated membranes keep hold of the dissolved salts, microbes, and minerals while granting the pure solvent (water) passage to the permeate side.

The retained solution (brine) is found on the retentate side and obliges treatment before disposal. The permeate stream is harvested and can be instantaneously used or subjected to further treatment to advance the quality. The desalination process employed by RO watermakers is visually illustrated in this video.

Figure 2 Process of reverse osmosis.

4. What are the Advantages of Fresh Water Makers?

With coastal communities steadily being deprived of freshwater, water makers are literally life-saving. They diminish the concentration of objectionable salt levels to acceptable standards consequently fulfilling the demands of most enterprises.

Freshwater makers are by and large portable units made of preassembled components that make transportation easier and their operation unsophisticated. Here are some of the other advantages of fresh water makers.

  • Reduced footprint.
  • Economizes on fuel costs and is energy efficient.
  • They have stunning impurity removal rates.
  • They eliminate an array of undesired pollutants.

5. What is the Basic Composition of Fresh Water Makers?

Typically, freshwater makers have all their components interconnected into one assemblage housed in a skid-mount or metal rail. Although the construction material used may be different, the components deployed in all freshwater makers are similar and perform similar roles. Underneath is a brief breakdown of the chief components synonymous with salt water makers.

-Pretreatment unit.

A pretreatment chamber is often a necessity in fresh water makers. Typically, water filters like sand, sediment, and carbon filters are deployed alongside a chemical dosing unit.

-Pressure-pump.

A pressure pump is mandatory in watermakers given that high pressure is required to counteract the typical osmotic flow for the RO process to alienate the dissolved salts from freshwater.

-Reverse osmosis membrane chamber.

Freshwater makers constitute high-rejection and partially permeable membranes that essentially act as the filtration medium.

-Post-treatment unit.

This is largely optional and its deployment is stipulated by the product water quality desired. It may include an integrated UV sterilizer or an activated carbon filter.

6. Which Type of Water is Generated by Fresh Water Makers?

A fresh water maker guarantees you a continuous supply of type III water. The reverse osmosis water maker gets rid of up to 99.7% of the dissolved solids but fails to effectively eradicate specific pollutants. The presence of these contaminants makes the permeate exhibit a certain level of electrical resistivity (>4 Ω-cm to be precise). Ideally, the product water generated is not purified water (type II) but with the right post-treatment systems, ultrapure water (type I) can be generated.

7. Which Forms of Feed Water are Treatable Using Fresh Water Makers?

Conventional freshwater makers are specifically constructed to desalinate seawater and consequently satisfy a myriad of onshore and offshore process water applications. Nonetheless, specialized water makers for distinct water sources like brackish water and well water are also available.

Characteristically, these saltwater makers support extremely high TDS ranges (15,000-45,000ppm), which are synonymous with seawater. The exploitation of seawater, which is primarily enabled by freshwater makers and other desalination systems continues to proliferate as coastal populations inflate.

Figure 3 Skid-mounted fresh water maker.

8. Which Pollutants Are Eradicated by Fresh Water Makers?

The perennial dominance of reverse osmosis water makers in seawater desalination is primarily founded on their high rejection scores on varying impurities. The chief inhibitor to seawater usage is the high salt concentration and by removing up to 99.7% of the dissolved salts, freshwater makers provide an alternative source of product water. Here are the other pollutants taken out of seawater by RO water makers.

  • Seaweed, colloids, and debris.
  • Microplastics.
  • Organic chemicals.
  • Objectionable minerals.
  • Viruses, bacteria, and microbes.
  • Metals.

9. How Much Do Fresh Water Makers Operating Costs?

The price commanded by a freshwater maker is chiefly determined by its functional prowess, design, and production capacity. Therein, projections of freshwater makers’ estimated costs could be misleading. To avert this, NEWater has a price inquiry section on our website that ensures you easily access the rightful quotation of your specified water maker.

Additionally, operating a freshwater maker accrues varying production expenses. The principal operational costs accrued relate to labor, maintenance, pretreatment, and power usage. Taking into account these operational costs, typical seawater desalination using RO water makers amounts to $0.79-$3 per cubic meter.

10. What is the Production Capacity of Fresh Water Makers?

Standard freshwater makers are manufactured with distinctive production capacities to reflect the diversity in product water applications. At NEWater, you are guaranteed to find intelligently designed RO watermakers with daily capacities ranging from 380 to 10,000 gallons per day.

We however supplement our standard freshwater makers with customized units reminiscent of your exclusive capacity range. Additionally, we expertly design home water makers to comfortably handle the uninterrupted desalination of large volumes of seawater.

11. Do Fresh Water Makers Produce Drinking Water?

Health experts stipulate that drinking water should exhibit TDS concentrations in the range of 300-600 ppm. Well, typical seawater has TDS levels ranging from 17,000ppm to 35,000ppm, and reverse osmosis drinking water systems customarily lessen these levels to <600ppm.  Coastal homes chiefly depend on home water makers for drinking water. Due to the comprehensive removal of minerals, remineralization is often mandated in drinking water treatment using fresh watermakers.

Figure 4 Drinking water RO water maker.

12. How is Solar Energy Utilized in Fresh Water Makers?

Coastal regions, arid and semi-arid areas neighboring the sea are synonymous with high extremely sunny days. When innovatively harvested, the thermal energy emitted by the sun is put to use in varying applications like seawater desalination. Freshwater makers utilize solar power directly or indirectly.

The direct utilization of solar energy in seawater desalination entails the use of solar stills whereas the indirect application of solar power involves the incorporation of two separate systems. Essentially, the solar energy is collected using solar collectors before being transformed into electrical energy by photovoltaics.

Generally, solar desalination systems lessen the cost of production by utilizing a freely available energy source. They also supplement environmental conservation efforts by minimizing carbon emissions. Common applications include boat watermakers and home watermakers.

13. How is Reverse Osmosis Technology Used in Fresh Water Makers?

Ideally, freshwater makers are portable reverse osmosis devices utilized in seawater desalination applications. The reverse osmosis process is the primary technology incorporated into salt watermakers. Essentially, reverse osmosis membranes are utilized as the chief barrier that provokes the alienation of dissolved salts from water.

However, prior to reverse osmosis filtration, pretreatment using sediment filters or multimedia filters is employed to eliminate particulates. The alienated streams are collected in distinct containers with the permeate immediately utilized or stored for late use. The brine is appropriately disposed of to mitigate environmental pollution.

14. What are the Disadvantages of Fresh Water Makers?

There are not many drawbacks witnessed by the use of fresh watermakers. In fact, they are highly prevalent owing to their weighty rewards and comparatively fewer limitations. NEWater’s perception of the drawbacks of freshwater makers is that they are an area for improvement and our developers are incessantly working to nullify them. Underneath are the three common limitations of freshwatermakers.

  • A lot of the seawater is not desalinated.
  • The waste produced is a potential risk to the ecosystem.
  • Not all impurities are eradicated hence the need for supplemental technologies.

15. Are There Mobile Fresh Water Makers?

Yes. We manufacture compact freshwater makers with characteristically lesser weights that are easily movable. The small-sized nature of freshwater makers qualifies them for classification as portable desalination units. Mobile freshwater makers only consume a few moments to set up after delivery thanks to their preassembled components. They are chiefly deployed in boats, homes, beach resorts, construction sites, and emergency response.

Fresh Water Maker

16. Do You Manufacture Fresh Water Makers for Boats?

NEWater’s entry into the boat water makers manufacturing industry dates back to 2001. Our boat water makers are exclusively endowed with high TDS levels (up to 45,000 ppm) to accommodate distinct concentrations of seawater. They are available in modular and skid-mounted designs to bolster flexibility in their applications.

Their reduced footprint and characteristic lightweight make certain they economize on space which is a valuable asset in water vessels. Moreover, we have boat water makers with varying capacity ranges meaning you can trust NEWater to deliver a befitting system for your water vessel irrespective of its size.

17. What is the Energy Consumption of Fresh Water Makers?

The energy consumption rate of freshwater makers is largely similar to that of typical reverse osmosis seawater desalination systems. However, the consumption is considerably lower because of the lesser operational scale characteristic of household and boat applications.

The decreased power consumption rates are a testament to the efficiency of contemporary technologies like energy recovery and efficient RO membranes. The energy consumed by a water maker to convert an m3 of seawater into product water is approximately 3 to 5.5 kWh.

18. Where Can I Purchase a First-Rate Fresh Water Maker?

Even with the recent inflation in manufacturers of freshwater makers, there are not many who can match the proficiency and sophistication of NEWater. Our vast experience has inspired us to build state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that ensure our production processes are first-rate and our products are of unquestionable quality.

Moreover, NEWater boasts varying accreditations such as ISO 9001, which are a testament to our high-quality water treatment systems. We literary manufacture virtually all water treatment equipment thereby guaranteeing you a convenient shopping experience all under one roof. Enjoy exclusive discounts on standard and customized freshwater makers from NEWater by simply ordering your equipment from NEWater.

Figure 6 Solar water maker.

19. Do You Repair Fresh Water Makers?

A key advantage of portable freshwater makers is that they are easily returned to the manufacturer for repairs. NEWater provides repair services on freshwater makers and water treatment systems in general under two policies; warranty or lifetime repair policies.

Ordinarily, we advise our clients to seek repair services from the manufacturer rather than engage third parties. Our proven team of technicians utilizes our first-rate repair components to ensure your system’s malfunction is amply resolved.

20. What is the Role of Feed Water Testing Prior to Treatment Using Fresh Water Makers?

Prior to acquiring a freshwater maker, it is advisable that you first determine the concentration and configuration of your imminent feed water. This is because distinct feed waters have characteristically distinct configurations and concentrations and the freshwater makers are uniquely customized to treat specified feed waters.

In the case of seawater, sample tests designed to establish the water’s TDS levels, pH, temperature, and VOC concentrations are paramount. With accurate data on the specified attributes, manufacturers develop an effective solution to your particular problem.

21. What is Your Warranty Policy on Fresh Water Makers?

We have devised an elaborate warranty protection policy that applies to all our freshwatermakers. The warranty protection has a validity period of one year after you have made the purchase. The rewards of our customer-oriented warranty protection include the provision of ample time to familiarize yourself with the water maker and free repairs. Caution is however advised given that the manufacturer does not repair freely fabricated defects (only mechanical-related).

22. Which Pretreatment Processes Are Used in Fresh Water Makers?

Pretreatment of feedwater is a basic necessity for most seawater desalination devices because of the varied impurities harbored in seawater. Luckily, there are numerous technologies to choose from based on the seawater’s composition.

Pretreated feed water makes certain the RO membranes are at a lesser risk of clogging and mitigates the scaling or corrosion of other parts. Underneath are the primarily utilized pretreatment processes in fresh watermakers.

  • Sediment filters.
  • Multimedia filters and carbon filters.
  • Membrane filtration e.g. ultrafiltration and nanofiltration.
  • Water softening.

23. What are the Required Specifications for Feed Water Intended for Treatment Using Fresh Water Makers?

Water destined for treatment using reverse osmosis watermakers needs to meet various criteria to guarantee optimal results. In addition, feed water preconditioning averts the untimely fouling of RO components like the partially permeable membranes. For optimal desalination, your seawater should exhibit the following attributes.

  • Minimal hardness to mitigate scaling.
  • The turbidity should be eradicated.
  • Iron levels should be fundamentally low.
  • The feed water should also be devoid of TSS.
  • The temperature and pH levels should be in line with the system’s specifications.

24. How do You Post-Treat Product Water from Fresh Water Makers?

Permeate post-treatment is a supplemental process added to reverse osmosis systems to polish up the product water’s quality. Typically, freshwater makers will deliver type III water but the incorporation of a post-treatment process makes it possible to generate type I or II water.

The commonly exploited post-treatment technologies include UV sterilization, remineralization, and electro deionization. Remineralization is primarily enforced when generating drinking water while electro deionization makes certain all objectionable inorganics and organics are eradicated.

Figure 8 Freshwater maker components.

25. What is the Life Expectancy of Fresh Water Makers?

Freshwater makers are primarily built to facilitate incessant seawater desalination uninterruptedly. Thanks to the high-grade components and materials used to manufacture NEWater’s freshwater makers, their life expectancy averages 15-20 years. Moreover, we deploy reverse osmosis membranes tested and tried by leading manufacturers.

For our freshwater makers, periodic membrane changing is only necessitated after 3 years. Factoring in the high durability of watermakers, it is conceivable to conclude that they are smart investments that promise substantial returns over extended periods.

26. Where Can I Purchase Custom Spare Parts for Fresh Water Makers?

With NEWater, purchasing custom repair components for reverse osmosis watermakers is equally as easy as purchasing the comprehensive unit. You can order your specified spare part from your office’s comfort and we will ship it to your desired location.

Our supply list is tremendously long given that we reinforce our supplies with first-rate components from respectable manufacturers. Therein, you are guaranteed to find any repair component for freshwater makers at NEWater at a discounted price.

27. Are Fresh Water Makers Environmentally Friendly?

When appropriately utilized, freshwater makers are eco-friendly solutions to the ravaging water shortage in coastal areas. First, they relieve freshwater reservoirs of the stress of serving millions of people, consequently mitigating overexploitation.

Even though they have a volatile waste product (brine), their appropriate disposal or treatment averts further environmental degradation. The use of solar water makers further contributes to environmental conservation by thwarting the emission of carbon gases.

28. Do You Provide Technical Consultations on Fresh Water Makers?

Our engineers and customer support team work round the clock to ensure all your queries and need for technical advice are gratified. Our technical consulting services entail guidance on the befitting freshwater maker for your application, feedwater analysis, and operational recommendations.

To access NEWater’s technical advisory team, you only need to contact us via email at info@newater.com or phone at +86 188-5927-5056. These services are free and accessible even after purchasing the water maker.

Figure 9 Modular fresh water maker.

29. Do Fresh Water Makers Remove All Waterborne Impurities?

No. Reverse osmosis membrane filters are characteristically proficient at eradicating TDS levels and other impurities from seawater. However, their proficiency in eliminating other objectionable impurities is not as impeccable as their salt rejection rates.

Although freshwater makers can eradicate certain quantities of impurities, supplemental processes are mandated. Beneath is a list of low-molecular-weight impurities that evade the swing sword of RO membrane filter systems.

  • Dissolved gases.
  • Chlorine.
  • Specific organic compounds.
  • Herbicides and pesticides.

30. Which Maintenance Practices are Demanded by Fresh Water Makers?

Typical freshwater maker maintenance involves recurrent sanitization and periodical membrane and filter replacements. Additionally, the incorporation of a decent pretreatment system is considered a proactive approach to maintaining your freshwater maker.

Periodic cleansing is undertaken to wash down the foulants accumulating on the membrane’s surface before they clog the membrane perforations. The replacement of membranes and filters is carried out every 3 years and one year respectively. The timely enforcement of the aforementioned practices ensures your water maker continues to optimally desalinate the seawater.

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