Zero Water, Zero Help
On March 23, 2014, my husband and I upgraded to a Zero Water filtering system. We had previously been alternating between Brita and Pur, as we have hard water where we live which makes filtration essential. Zero Water’s filtration system consists of five stages, which is much more complex than Brita or Pur and should provide cleaner and better drinking water. It comes with a meter to test your water before Zero filtration and afterwards, which shocked both my husband and I, as we had far too many dissolved solids showing up in our before water. Having recently installed a filtration system in our shower, we felt confident that the Zero water pitcher was a fantastic next step for us and were very happy with our nearly $40 purchase.
Fast forward to the week of April 14, 2014, slightly over three weeks later. My husband began to notice a strange odor in the house. We cleaned and scrubbed and Febrezed and investigated. I grew paranoid when my husband sat next to me one day and almost instantly said “what is that smell??” I was confused when he went into the kitchen one evening and asked if I had made tuna. And finally, after pouring a glass of water from our Zero Water filter, he found the culprit. Our pitcher stunk. It smelled like an old aquarium. Upon removing the filter from the pitcher, the smell grew even stronger. It was enough to make us sick.
We began checking our cups to make sure the issue wasn’t coming from another source. The cups were all fine, the Pur filter we have directly on the faucet was giving us odorless water, and the water straight from the tap was free of odor as well. I hopped on Google and read this review on Ripoff Report: “I purchased a Zero Water Filtration pitcher system about 3 weeks ago. A few days ago, I noticed a fish smell in my kitchen.. So I decided to clean out the kitchen sink pipes.. The next hour the smell was still there.. I poured a glass of water from my Zero Water Filtration pitcher system and found the problem.. The water smelt like a dirty fish tank filter. I called Zero Water. They told me that where I live has a high amount of materials in the water and the only thing I could do is to change the filter every 2 or 3 weeks to prevent the smell.” This is apparently such a common problem that they include the following on their official website:
So, not only is the filter life greatly exaggerated (or grossly misleading at best), but the fishy smell is practically a guarantee once the filter has reached the end of its life span. My husband and I did some thinking, and are now left wondering if the filter issue that caused the odor is the same thing that was causing me to have migraines, nausea, and caused the water to have an odd taste when it warmed to room temperature. The FAQ on the Zero Water site, along with common sense, urges the consumer to remember that filters don’t last forever, especially in certain areas of the country, and filter life times do vary greatly. That being said, I did not shell out nearly $40 just to have three weeks of acceptable water before having to throw my nearly $40 pitcher in the trash can.
For our Brita and Pur water pitchers, we would fill it from the kitchen faucet that is also filtered by one of their products. This double filtration system of ours would allow us to get months out of our filters. Even at the end of a filter’s life, we would notice no odor and little to no change in water taste. I don’t care how bad the water is in my city, there is no excuse for any consumer to be given fish-water after three weeks of using a filtration system. I would rather go out in my backyard and drink straight from the pond than drink aquarium leftovers from an overpriced so-called “top of the line” water pitcher.
According to the Water Resources Authority in Massachusetts, a fishy smell is caused by algae growth. The public health department of Washington says that organic matter is to blame for the odor. Plumbing Supply says it could be from chlorine and ammonia used to treat the water supply by the city, or naturally occurring elements barium and/or cadmium. While I have no doubt that there are all sorts of minerals in my water, I feel 100% confident that my water supply is not to blame. I have been using the same water supply for over six years now at either my own home or my mother-in-law’s, and have not once had an issue with foul-smelling fish-water until wasting my money on a Zero Water pitcher.
Even positive reviews I’ve read about the pitcher acknowledge the fishy smell. And while I can’t say for sure, I feel confident that something in the filtration system was making me sick and causing headaches. I would not pay $5 for a filtration system that is going to make my water and home stink after three weeks, nevermind pay $35 plus tax to get started and $15 for every replacement filter in the future. Zero Water is a rip off, plain and simple. I wish I had done more research prior to making the purchase, but I hope that putting this out there helps sway others from making the same mistake I did. Pur and Brita are fantastic, and I wish I had stuck with what I knew instead of making the switch to a water filtration system that was Zero Help.