Friday, February 21, 2014

Water, Water Everywhere and TONS to Drink

New membrane ordered prior to our departure from USA
 Woot Woot!!
Sometimes it takes a few taps from a hammer

After a few days of installing replacement parts, troubleshooting, and watching You Tube videos on watermaker maintenance and repairs.....Tom got our watermaker working yesterday!  Yay!
Pre-filter to keep crud out of membrane

Water flow -check

Of course I knew he would.  He wasn't so sure yesterday morning.  "Well.....I will give it another go and see if I can't figure out what is going on but...."  A little while later he casually called me up into the cockpit "Hey, come see this."  I thought a new boat had pulled into the anchorage.  No, water was flowing out of the watermaker and into a small container!  Woo hoo!  *I have the best husband ever!
Installing membrane part

Old O rings and pump seals replaced with pump rebuild kit

Pump rebuild in process

Clear, fresh water from sea water.  He tested it with the water tester thingie ( I forget the official name of this thing).  The water was an acceptable level for drinking.  The watermaker keep producing (of course) so we had to scramble to find a couple pitchers to put the water in.  Further testing...the water kept getting better into the really good range on the tester.
Success - first water and big smile

Final test......drink it.  "Ah....refreshing!"  He grabbed the blue (for water) jerry can and started filling it.  The watermaker ran for two hours and made almost 10 gallons of fresh water.  FREE water!  The power pull was big - 25 amps but we knew it would be big and will plan for that.

We now feel like a totally independent, proper cruising boat with solar, wind, watermaker, sails and iron genny (engine).  Look out world, here we come!!  

Yes - my husband took sea water and turned it into fresh, clean drinking water.  In turn, he will take that and turn it into diet tonic tonight around sundown!

For those interested - basically a watermaker takes sea water and filters it through a very, very fine membrane (filter) that takes out all the particulates out like salt.   Our watermaker is a S&K with various parts installed in various locations in the hole (cockpit locker) thus taking up less space over all and allowing easier access to the various parts to service them.  It is a low output model - 5 gallons per hour (however we have already produced more than that in an hour!)  Previous two owners used it with great success.  The membrane was pickled when we bought the boat - meaning it was sort of put into sleep/storage mode if you will.  We did not fire it up before now because once you un-pickle the membrane and fire it up, you need to keep making water every so many days.  That wouldn't work while we were commuter cruisers.  Additionally the seawater needs to be relatively clean ie you don't really want to run it in a marina or crowded or dirty anchorage.  First, Tom replaced the membrane only.  Water was flowing out of the pump but not like it should and thus not through the membrane. After much troubleshooting and discussions with S&K president Jack, it was determined that the pump seals might be beyond their years.  Sure enough.  However, after the pump rebuild a few days ago, NO water flowed.  Argh!  After more research and head scratching,  Tom and Jack decided that air had been introduced into the hydraulic part of the pump during the rebuild and it would need to be bled out and 5W30 synthetic oil added back in.  Finally after that, Tom force primed the pump with a bit of water to get it going.  FYI - S&K has been terrific in terms of customer support.  They take Tom's calls and emails and promptly get back to him - often times the president Jack himself called Tom back.  S&K is located in Florida somewhere.


  1. So, Tom as officially become the Diet Coke Jesus! Yay!!!!! Congrats!!!!

  2. I can only imagine how excited you both were -- good going Tom! Now you're ready to go wherever your hearts desire. Congratulations!