How pleased are you with ZeroWater solution?

Water analysis, treatment, and mineral recipes for optimum taste and equipment health.
MonLon

Postby MonLon » Oct 25, 2018, 3:02 pm

Some questions for people using ZeroWater for filtering and then adding minerals...
There are mixed reviews on Amazon about these filters.
Some people are really happy with them, while others make several claims, that seem to be repeating there:
- the filters do not last as advertised
- water start to smell bad (like fish) - seems like this happens when the filter is exhausted
- low manufacturing quality of the filter and pitcher - the resin of some filters leak into the pitcher and mixes with the water etc.

I assume some claims about the lifetime of the filters must be coming from people who have a very high TDS in their tap water, but since not everyone specifies their TDS when making this claim, I wasn't sure this is the only reason (as some claimed that their filter was defective).
Most of the reviews there are based on using the filters for everyday usage, rather than for creating water for coffee.
So I'd be interested in hearing the opinions of people on HB, who've been using these filters for a while.

What is the TDS of your water?
How long do the filters last?
Are you happy with this solution?
Have you used other alternatives for your espresso machine/brew method? How does this one compare with them?

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homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Oct 27, 2018, 1:52 pm

MonLon wrote:What is the TDS of your water?
How long do the filters last?
Are you happy with this solution?
Have you used other alternatives for your espresso machine/brew method? How does this one compare with them?

1) My tap water has an actual TDS of 240 ppm, and a conductivity that reads about 180 ppm on a typical TDS meter. Hardness around 135 mg/L, alkalinity around 100 mg/L, and chloride ion around 30 mg/L.

2) I get around 20 gallons out of each filter. That agrees with the ZeroWater claims for filter life: https://www.zerowater.com/faq-filtratio ... r-life.php at my TDS.

3) At my TDS, it may be cheaper to buy bottled, or better yet to refill jugs at the store's purified water (i.e., RO) dispenser, but I like the convenience of not having to lug bottles from the store. Eventually I'll probably switch to using 5 gallon (refilled) bottles and rig an under-sink water source that I can plumb in. Right now I'm short of undersink space in my kitchen.

4) I've used other methods, but this one is simple, easy, tastes good, and allows me to mix my own where I have no chloride in my espresso machine water. When brewing pourover coffee I usually just use charcoal filtered tap, which is much harder than my home-made espresso water. But I can't say that it tastes any better or worse.

P.S.
My homemade is currently a simple mix of equal mass amounts of calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, and potassium bicarbonate to produce a water with a total hardness of ~44 mg/L and total alkalinity of ~54 mg/L as CaCO3. That gives me water roughly similar to what they use in WBC competitions and is very easy for me to mix up. I can't say that this mix is really any better than if I were to use nothing but potassium bicarb at a similar alkalinity level.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

MonLon

Postby MonLon » Oct 27, 2018, 5:16 pm

Thanks for the detailed response!

May I ask what is the difference between the TDS and conductivity?
I thought that TDS meter is supposed to measure the TDS based on conductivity.
If this is not the case, then how do I convert the reading on my TDS meter to the actual TDS?

With regard to your homemade water, what ingredients and ratios do you use to get this mix?

And have you had any issues with the filters, as some people are claiming?
From your experience, do you think these claims are coming from improper usage or defective filters (because it does seem odd that there are quite a lot of similar complaints)?

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homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Oct 29, 2018, 3:59 pm

MonLon wrote:May I ask what is the difference between the TDS and conductivity?
I thought that TDS meter is supposed to measure the TDS based on conductivity.
If this is not the case, then how do I convert the reading on my TDS meter to the actual TDS?

TDS meters measure conductivity, which is indirectly related to the amount of dissolved solids in the water. They can differ from actual TDS depending on what types of ions happen to be in the water. Most of the popular inexpensive ones, including the one that comes with ZeroWater, are calibrated against a simple NaCl (table salt) solution that gives them a conversion factor of appx 0.5, so that a conductivity of 200 micromhos/cm will indicate 100 ppm at 25C. Many TDS meters apply some temperature correction to the factor, but even with that it's best to always measure at the temp recommended in the owners manual (usually 25C = 77F).

You can calibrate them differently, and some meters allow you to easily switch between different factors. If I were to use a so-called "4-4-2" calibrated TDS meter, which has a conversion factor of about 0.65, my reading of Albuquerque water would be in close agreement with the TDS in the analysis report.

TDS meters are good enough for rough ballpark measurements, just don't take the number too seriously. For example, some folks work their recipes to hit that 150 ppm TDS number recommended by the old SCAA water standard exactly on the nose. But that measurement supposedly used a 4-4-2 calibrated meter, so it would have read more like 115 ppm on an NaCl calibrated meter like most of us are now using.


MonLon wrote:With regard to your homemade water, what ingredients and ratios do you use to get this mix?

I use powdered CaCO3, MgCO3, and KHCO3. I add about 1g of each to a 750 ml swingtop stoppered bottle for my concentrate. That concentrate is cloudy with undissolved CaCO3, so I need to shake well before using. I add a shotglass (~44ml) of that to 3L of purified water in a gallon glass jar get my brew mix. If I let that sit a while all precipitate dissolves fully - I never see precipitate in the bottom of the gallon jar. Generally on my Giotto I'm even lazier - every night I simply fill the reservoir direct from the Zerowater jug, then followup with a partial shot of my concentrate (shooting for roughly 40 ml per full reservoir tankfull.)

I'm not a true believer in this mix. It's easy for me, but I'm not convinced it's any better than simple 100 mg/L KHCO3 (rpavlis) water. Like the rpavlis water, my water has good alkalinity and zero chloride or sulfate, which appeals to my paranoia about brass and copper corrosion in my older espresso equipment.

MonLon wrote:And have you had any issues with the filters, as some people are claiming?

I've let it go too long and noticed that fishy odor. I sometimes see some resin beads or charcoal break through into the top part of the filter jug, but have never seen them down in the filtered water.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h
★ Helpful

MonLon

Postby MonLon » Nov 02, 2018, 7:43 pm

Many thanks for the detailed response!!

As for the TDS measurements, your explanation made me realize that I've been misinterpreting the readings from my TDS meter.
I have a HM Digital COM-100, which I've purchased quite a while ago, based on some recommendations.
However, I must have lost the manual, but I'll try to look for it online to see how it should be used properly (it has both a 0.5 and 0.7 conversion factor).
At least for the other water parameters I am using a droplet kit with the conversion table, so I hope I have the correct values there :)

With your water recipe, I'm quite intrigued.
It looks like a very balanced one.
However, after reading the part about your Giotto, I'm not sure whether you were talking about 2 different recipes (the first being for brew and the second for espresso machine) or they're the same one. Because you first mentioned mixing everything in a bottle and then described a different routine with your machine.

homeburrero wrote:...which appeals to my paranoia about brass and copper corrosion in my older espresso equipment.

what happened with your older espresso equipment?
What was wrong with your water back then and how long did it take before the damage became apparent?
Were there any health risks involved as a result?

homeburrero wrote:I've let it go too long and noticed that fishy odor. I sometimes see some resin beads or charcoal break through into the top part of the filter jug, but have never seen them down in the filtered water.

It seems like you're describing having occasional phenomena with the filters, as some users have mentioned in their negative feedback, but it sound like it's nothing to be worried about. Good to know.
I've seen someone mentioning using 2 jugs of ZeroWater, when he uses an old filter (that showed 006 on the TDS meter) in the first one to get the TDS of the tap water down (it will not reduce the TDS to 0, but according to him it can still reduce it). Then he would filter the same water again through a fresh filter, which will reduce the TDS to 0. He claims that this enables to use the fresh filter for a longer period.
Any thoughts about this? Even if this works, I couldn't understand whether this fishy odor will go away after the second filtration.

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homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Nov 05, 2018, 1:43 pm

MonLon wrote:what happened with your older espresso equipment?
What was wrong with your water back then and how long did it take before the damage became apparent?
Were there any health risks involved as a result?

I've always used good water and have never seen a problem that I could attribute to my water. The few problems that I have seen (e.g., pinhole w/ dezincification, blue-green scale on mushroom) was on used equipment with an unknown history. I've never worried about health risks.

MonLon wrote:However, after reading the part about your Giotto, I'm not sure whether you were talking about 2 different recipes (the first being for brew and the second for espresso machine) or they're the same one.

Same recipe. One is more precisely mixed in a glass gallon jar and stored there before pouring into the machine, and the other is less precisely mixed by adding the zerowater and the concentrate directly to the machine reservoir.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

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homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Nov 05, 2018, 1:48 pm

MonLon wrote:I've seen someone mentioning using 2 jugs of ZeroWater, when he uses an old filter (that showed 006 on the TDS meter) in the first one to get the TDS of the tap water down (it will not reduce the TDS to 0, but according to him it can still reduce it). Then he would filter the same water again through a fresh filter, which will reduce the TDS to 0. He claims that this enables to use the fresh filter for a longer period.
Any thoughts about this? Even if this works, I couldn't understand whether this fishy odor will go away after the second filtration.

I think the overall filter use with this strategy would come out the same. If you were to let the first one go too long and the charcoal in the second one was still in good shape it might absorb the fishy odor.
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h

OldNuc

Postby OldNuc » Nov 05, 2018, 5:24 pm

The fishy odor is from the anion resin and indicates the cation bed is depleted. This is not a good place to be water quality wise.

MonLon

Postby MonLon » Nov 05, 2018, 7:29 pm

Thanks a lot guys for the very informative replies.
Much appreciated!

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homeburrero
Team HB

Postby homeburrero » Jan 23, 2019, 5:14 pm

This topic had about six posts that were related to my water recipe ...

homeburrero wrote:I use powdered CaCO3, MgCO3, and KHCO3. I add about 1g of each to a 750 ml swingtop stoppered bottle for my concentrate. That concentrate is cloudy with undissolved CaCO3, so I need to shake well before using. I add a shotglass (~44ml) of that to 3L of purified water in a gallon glass jar get my brew mix. If I let that sit a while all precipitate dissolves fully - I never see precipitate in the bottom of the gallon jar. Generally on my Giotto I'm even lazier - every night I simply fill the reservoir direct from the Zerowater jug, then followup with a partial shot of my concentrate (shooting for roughly 40 ml per full reservoir tankfull.)


... and not so much about zerowater, so I split all of that discussion off to a different topic here:
An all carbonate water recipe (cloudy concentrate, no sodastream)
Pat
nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h