Zero Water Filter Review

Like most Americans, I used to have bottled water delivered to my home and bought disposable water bottles to carry.

That was a few years ago.

Of course, I know better now so I don’t buy bottled water anymore but I don’t drink water straight out of the tap either. Why?….because my tap water is contaminated. No, I don’t live in a third world country without clean water. In fact, my water supply is treated so well that it passes all standard guidelines established by the EPA and the State Health Department every year. But according to my Water and Sewer Department – by the way, you can request a report about your water or read it on line – my tap water still contains organic and inorganic particles as well as microbes. In addition, in order to meet those standards, it gets disinfected and treated with chemicals like chlorine and sodium hydroxide. And fluoride is also added for our dental “benefit.” (oohhhh, that’s another post in itself.) Yeah, uh huh….

Well, I don’t need any of those chemicals in my body so I filter my water for drinking and in the shower. If you read my older post, “what’s under your kitchen sink”, you know I have two cartridge filters under my kitchen sink; one for sediments and one for finer particles.

Two filters under the sink. Yuk!

Time to change filters under the sink. Yuk!

And boy, do the filters get clogged very quickly, hence, more evidence that there are stuff in my water that I don’t want. I am satisfied with the filtered tap water for cleaning and cooking but when I drink straight from the tap, I want to make sure that I don’t taste the chlorine, but more importantly, that I don’t ingest any other chemicals. So, my DH (Dear Husband) bought a new filter system from Home Depot for our water cooler (from the bottled water days) called Zero Water. By the way, I have a chlorine eliminating filter attached to my shower head. My thinking is, if I am not happy with drinking chlorine, why would I want my skin, the largest organ in the body, to absorb all that chlorine? Did you read about how swimming can exacerbate asthma and allergies in kids because of chlorine? I digress…Back to Zero Water.

Zero Water

Zero Water (ZW) is a filter system that combines easy and non messy way to replace filter cartridges to produce clean drinkable water. This great filter system fits on top of any water cooler machines. Just add water to the top of the jug and the cooler dispenses clean water. It even comes with a hand held meter that measures Total Dissolved Solids (TDS.) TDS is any detectable dissolved solid particles in the water that you can taste. The electrode on the tip of the TDS meter detects ions in the water and converts the parts per million readings to a number on the meter.

Zero Water FIlters

Zero Water Filters

Just to compare, I tested my tap water before I filtered it through ZW and the reading was 47.  Mind you, that tap water already went through TWO filters under the sink! And then, I tested my old brand of bottled water, and the reading was 26 – better than my tap but still not Zero. My unfiltered bathroom faucet’s reading was in the 90’s!

BUT…when I tested the water from the cooler, you guessed it, the reading was 0. Zero!! Hence, the name of the product, Zero Water.

How does it work?

I recommended Zero Water to a friend, John, who is a tropical fish aficionado. He researched high and low to find the easiest method to generate clean water for his fish tank and learned a lot about water filters in the process. Although he doesn’t use ZW for his fish tank because he already had installed a reverse osmosis system before I told him about ZW, he was astonished that it can generate such clean water, in such a compact and efficient way. According to John, these filters work similarly to reverse osmosis. He said that the cartridges are actually a five-stage water filter system, putting the water through sediment, carbon, and De-Ionizing (DI) resin. So the system is like a compact Reverse Osmosis (RO)/DI water filter without all the plumbing and water waste like RO. RO typically generates one drinkable gallon for every four gallons of water it wastes. I did not know that. Not very environmentally cool nor very efficient since the pipes and plumbing that are required are complicated to install. So if this system is good enough drinking water for John, I figured, it’s a pretty amazing system.

I love having Zero chemicals in my water. But I was not sure if “not tasting chlorine” was same thing as “not containing chlorine”. (Blame it on my Type “A” personality…)  And I couldn’t find any information about whether Zero Water filters fluoride so I contacted the company and this is what a customer service representative wrote back.

1. Does your system filter out fluoride?

When it comes to water there are 4 types of contaminants found, organic, inorganic, radiological, and micro biological. Zero Water filters have the technology to reduce organic, inorganic, and radiological elements out of water. The TDS meter included will test for inorganics in water such as salts, metals, minerals, chlorides, fluorides, etc.  Fluoride is an inorganic and is treated with Zero Water.  Zero Water is best compared to distilled water, minus the distilled water taste.

2. When the system was certified for “Chlorine taste and odor”, does that mean it filters out chlorine?

Yes, we filter out chlorine to an undetectable level on a parts per million basis, the water tester test on a parts per million basis, so when you see a reading of 000, you know it’s only H20.

3. If the system has the patent to filter out microbes, why isn’t it filtering out microbes?

That’s not available for U.S use yet, we look to release it in the near future

So that means, if TDS meter reading is Zero, there are no detectable solids in the water; no chlorine and no fluoride. I love that!…especially since there has been so much news about pharmaceuticals ending up in drinking water. That doesn’t mean we should switch to bottled water; it just means we should filter our drinking water. What’s more, ZW will take back your used cartridges to recycle them. So you don’t have to throw out the used plastic cartridges. Just send them back to the company. How great is that?

TDS meter readings of various types of water

TDS meter readings of various types of water

Pros

  • Pretty simple to use. The cartridges fit in the top water well. Pour water in the top water well and it filters down to the cooler.  You can  dispense water from water cooler.
  • Better for the environment since there’s no waste of water to generate drinkable water, unlike Reverse Osmosis filters.
  • Eliminates complications of changing filters under the sink.
  • The filter system fits any water cooler.
  • Now, there is a portable pitcher model available if you don’t have room for a water cooler.
  • Replacement filters may seem costly but Amazon sells cartridges at $50 for 4 cartridges. It uses 2 cartridges at a time and needs to be replaced at our house about every 3 months – so just under $10/month. Pretty inexpensive, if you ask me. But remember, I put in filtered water as I pre-filter through the under the sink filters before I put it into the Zero Water. Your cost may vary.
  • They will take the filters back to recycle!!! Totally awesome!

Cons

  • Sometimes, leaks can occur when the seal between the cooler and the top water well is not tight.

Overall

I love ZW filters so much that I have recommended it to friends and family. Here is a review about the Zero Water filters by Good Housekeeping. See? I’m not the only one who loves this system!

[Update] GIVEAWAY! Enter a giveaway for a chance to win a 23 Cup Dispenser System! Giveaway ends on March 30, 2012!

The Zero Water website also has more technical information on how their filters work. When water tastes this good, you’ll never want to drink any other filtered water or bottled water or just plain tap water. Ever!

I give this company FIVE green hearts for making my tap water taste so good and recycling used plastic cartridges!

♥♥♥♥♥

Addendum
Since I posted this review, I became curious about their blue plastic bottle and if it contained BPA so I contacted the company. The customer service supervisor reassured me that it does NOT contain BPA and the plastic is made of “food grade styrene”. Phew!

Also, some of you asked if I noticed any smell in the water as some other reviews reported. I am pleased to say that I never noticed any smell in the water. But from reading through the company’s FAQ section, water can smell fishy if filter needs to be changed. My water was always clean and refreshing. The company’s website under FAQ section addresses many questions you might have. Click through all the categories on the left. But, if you have questions about my personal experience with the filter system, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the Contact form. I’ll be glad to answer any questions.

I was not paid to do this review nor do I make any commission from Zero Water if you purchase their products. But I will make a few cents from Amazon if you purchase the Zero Water Pitcher or replacement filters or from the Amazon widget to the right. So if you need to buy filters, you can use the widget and it will take you straight to the Zero Filter page on Amazon. We bought the water filter pitcher for my son who started college and he swears that it makes him drink more water.