Frequently Asked Questions
Dometic Sea Xchange Watermakers for Marine
- Why would I want a seawater reverse-osmosis system on my boat?
Watermakers are important for safety, fuel economy and convenience.
- Limitless fresh water supply – Having a watermaker on your boat guarantees a limitless supply of fresh, safe water for you and your passengers. The US Coast Guard recommends 30 gallons/per person per day for drinking, showers, cooking and cleaning. When travelling on long voyages, you can rest assured that you will not run out of purified water for all your needs.
- Safety – At many ports of call, such as locations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, dock water isn’t safe. In the Caribbean, for instance, marinas charge up to 50 cents a gallon and the quality is suspect. Having your own watermaker means you do not have to rely on dock water and risk contaminating your vessel and your passengers.
- Fuel Economy – A watermaker minimizes the need to carry stored water, allowing you to travel longer distances and saving on fuel costs. When water tanks are full, vessel weight is heavy: water weighs approximately 8.3 pounds per gallon, a heavy burden to carry when you are travelling. That additional weight affects the distance you can travel with the fuel you have on board.
- Convenience - Watermakers not only provide clean, pure and delicious potable water, they also supply water for drinking, ice-making, showers, laundry and cooking.
- What size of a watermaker do I need?
Dometic Sea Xchange Seawater Reverse-Osmosis Systems come in capacities ranging from 250 to 2200 gallons per day. But it’s not gallons per day you should focus on, it’s gallons per hour.
To run your watermaker, you will need to operate your generator. So the real question is: How many of hours do you generally operate your generator? For example, if you run your generator for four hours per day, and need to make 100 gallons of water per day to replenish the previous day’s supply, you will need a watermaker with a 25-gallon-per-hour capacity.
- What makes the Dometic Sea Xchange systems different from other brands?
- User-friendly – The system controls are simple and self-explanatory
- No additional accessories to buy – When you buy a Dometic Sea Xchange Seawater Reverse-Osmosis watermaker, you will get everything you need to install and run the system; there are no additional parts or components to purchase
- Low maintenance – With the Sea Xchange, fresh water flush is automatic: When the system is turned off, it will periodically flush itself with fresh water. The automatic flush feature keeps biologicals from growing on internal parts, membranes, pumps and pre-filter housings. This will greatly extend the life of your system.
- Economical to own, operate and maintain – Dometic reverse-osmosis systems use non-proprietary components; membranes, pre filters and pumps are standard-sized, so they are often half the price of many name brands.
- Stainless-steel motors – Our motors are designed to be used in marine environment, so they have 316 stainless steel shafts, which means no rusting. Our high pressure pumps are also 316 stainless steel.
- Warranty – We offer a 1-year parts warranty and a 1-year labor warranty.
- Extensive service and support network – Dometic offers the most extensive service and support network of any watermaker product. Our service teams span all 50 states and nearly 100 countries. We also offer 24/7 phone support unlike any other brand of watermaker manufacturer.
- Competitive pricing – Dometic’s watermakers are price-competitive.
- How does reverse osmosis work?
Feed water is forced under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane, which removes nearly all the dissolved solids and produces fresh, potable water on the other side. This method rejects up to 99% of salts, contaminates, and pollutants.
- Where will my watermaker work most efficiently?
Your watermaker is designed to produce the same high-quality, purified water anywhere – in open ocean waters, in harbors or in brackish water, regardless of temperature or level of dissolved solids in the water.
That said, the best place to use your seawater desalinization system is in open water where there is good tidal exchange. Harbor water generally contains more contaminants, particulates, fuel and other impurities, which will require you to change your pre-filters more frequently; however, the watermaker will make the same high quality product water in these conditions as well.
- How long should I expect my watermaker to last?
If you follow owner’s manual for recommended maintenance, you can reasonably expect in the range of 20 years of service from your Dometic Sea Xchange Seawater Reverse-Osmosis System. The Sea Xchange is made of high-quality components, with stainless steel parts and an automatic fresh-water flushing mechanism to keep it clean and well-running. The fresh-water flush occurs even when the owner isn’t on board, providing peace of mind that your system is being maintained on an ongoing basis.
- Is a watermaker noisy?
A watermaker generally creates about the same amount of noise as a generator. Considering that they run simultaneously, most people don’t perceive the watermaker as being overly noisy relative to the other systems operating on a vessel. Dometic’s Sea Xchange watermakers use a high quality Cat Pump which runs at only 1725 RPMs compared to other manufacturers, who use undersized high pressure pumps and run them at 3450 RPMs to achieve the same flow rate. These higher RPM pumps create much more noise and reduce life span on the pump.
- Do Dometic watermakers take up a lot of space on your boat?
The Dometic Sea Exchange Seawater Reverse-Osmosis system measures 18.5" x 48" x 24"; weights range from 145 to 175 lbs., depending on the model you choose. Further, with our Sea Xchange systems, if you don’t have enough space for our framed systems, they can be converted to modular systems in a couple of easy steps. This way, you can take maximum advantage of all space you have available on board.
- How long does it take for a watermaker to produce purified water?
Within minutes of starting your system, you will be making fresh water.
- Can my watermaker work while my boat is underway?
In order to function, your watermaker’s feed pump requires a constant flow of feed water. So be careful to keep the watermaker intake through-hull, well below the waterline. If your feed intake goes above the water line, it will air-lock – requiring re-priming of the pump. This is true will all centrifugal pumps.
- How much power does a reverse-osmosis system draw?
Dometic’s seawater systems are energy efficient for typical systems powered by piston pumps. The operating energy requirement for Sea Xchange systems is 2.25 kW. This requirement can readily be supported by most marine generator systems found on most vessels.
- Will my watermaker shut down automatically when the water tank is full?
It is possible to install internal water tank level controls which will allow for automatic watermaker shut-down when the water tank is full. However, most users find that it is most convenient for the operator to monitor the vessel’s water tank gauge and to manually shut the watermaker down when the vessel’s water tank is full.
- What is required for installation of a watermaker?
You need a dedicated thru-hull inlet fitting and a sea cock valve; an over board thru-hull discharge fitting; a product water tank fill-line connection; and an electrical circuit breaker and electrical wiring.
The intake thru-hull size is from ¾" to 1" depending on the watermaker; it is best to use a qualified technician to install the thru-hull fitting and electrical service. Ensure that your intake thru-hull and booster pump are well below the water line for best performance.
You can install the watermaker in your engine room, in a lazarette or anywhere else you have space for it.