Has anyone heard of Zeta Rod Water Softener Systems?

osorry1July 22, 2006


I am at the last stages of a new home construction and the builder has suggested this type of water softener over a regular salt water system. This system apparently uses an electric current to prevent mineral ions from forming scale, etc. I was also looking at the Fleck system.

Has anyone heard of this, what are your suggestions for a 2600 sq. ft. home in southern Arizona (read hot!! minerally water). Kinetico has also taken a water sample from the home so that I can get their recommendations.


Here is a link that might be useful: Zeta Rod Conditioner

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The WAter Quality Association (WQA) has never validated the claims made by catalytic system manufacturers for scale inhibition. Out there in AZ, the only proven method for treating very hard water is thru ion exchange, or standard water softening.

You'll find plenty of companies out there that can take care of your problems. Be sure to check out their credentials, too (insurance, bonding, workman's comp, etc) and that they pull any necessary permits prior to installation. If you want someone to install a system, always go with a company that handles the sale/rental and installation "in house" to maintain accountability to you, the customer.

Good luck out there!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 2:03AM
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osorry1, I live in Phoenix and my new home is nearing completion. The plumber suggested Zeta Rod as well. What have you decided, and are you happy with your decision?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 3:43PM
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It was installed 2 weeks ago (i'm just moving in now after much delay from builder). It was installed in the main intake for water to soften/de-inonize all the water coming into the house (I want to put mister along the back patio, so this way I won't need RO or another water softener for the back yard water lines). So far it seems to be working well, I still have a hot/cold faucet with RO on it in the kitchen, but I'm not seeing the usual water spots on faucets/stainless sinks that I did in my old house. Only time will tell.

I'll try to post again in another month or so. Good Luck, Where are you building??

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 9:15PM
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By the was, the guy that sold me this system, his son works in water/sewage treatment and has traveled over the US to upgrade/redo city water treatment systems. So he should know what's a good thing for water treatment. The father and son did the set-up for my house (son is here for 6 months on contract with the city improving Yuma's water treatment systems d/t the recent rapid growth).

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 9:19PM
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I am considering a ZetaRod system. I have two concerns: 1-the cost, about $3500 (can this be right?), and 2-particle/suspensions are not actually removed so evaporation of drops/drips on counter tops, fixtures, etc. will leave calcium deposits. I would appreciate any comments that will help me to decide yes or no.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 5:37PM
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I've had the system now for 6 months. It seems to work pretty well, I see water spots and have noticed some white buildup on my glass vessel sinks (is this a calcium deposit, not sure, I haven't bought CLR to try it out) but otherwise seems to be working. The water is not RO though and can't be used instead of reverse osmosis for good tasting water. I notice the water droplets but they don't appear stained on other surfaces. We've questioned at times though, "how good it actually is versus a regular water softener," but since I have no comparison (rental house had no softening at all!) it's hard to tell. We still have to add vinegar to dishwater to prevent water spots, jetdry alone isn't enough. Hope this helps.

I paid about 1/2 of your quote from a distributor- the guy who works on sewer systems.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 12:55AM
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Here's the problem as I see it. Right now, you are endorsing this system but you are doing so out of supposition and not scientific fact. That's not fair to all those people who may stumble across this thread while Googling "zeta rod" in search of information.

IF......you really want to know for sure whether the Zeta Rod system works, then you have to do the following.

Get two clean containers about a quart in size. Fill one container with water entering your home BEFORE it reaches the Zeta Rod unit. Label that container "A".

Fill the other container with water that has passed through the Zeta Rod unit and label it "B".

Now take both containers to an INDEPENDANT water testing laboratory and, without telling them anything about the water or where it came from, hire them to test both samples for all things relating to water hardness. The results will tell you whether the water is identical or changed.

If you are not prepared to do this, then IMHO, you are simply deluding yourself but that is your choice.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 7:09AM
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osorry1 - Let me get this straight. You installed an expensive "softening" system and you are experiencing all of the problems associated with hard water (spots, buildup, etc.) and yet you think the system is working? The zeta Rod is just an absolute scam for hot water applications. The reason hardness doesn't build up in rivers and streams, but does in your home and in hot springs, is because hardness (primarily calcium) has a reverse solubility. Most substances dissolve better in hot water, but calcium is backwards. It dissolves better in cold water and falls out of solution as it is heated. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do to change this natural characteristic of calcium. You can temporarily modify particle charge, but that only lasts until you disturb the particle. In order for the charge to do any good, those particles must be physically removed, filtered, from the water. Any charge placed on a dissolved ion will not affect what happens when you heat the water. It can't. When you heat water with calcium dissolved in it calcium will fall out of solution. Real softeners remove calcium and replace it with sodium or potassium, which stays dissolved in water. Even their own technical information does not suggest this rod for use prior to heating. The only way to softer water is to remove the hardness.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 12:27PM
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One of your references was someone who works with water treatment and sewage.

Now mind you, these are people who work for municipalities and they "officially" have little concern with water quality concerning hardness. Their primary concern is to follow EPA and other regulations that assure users of potability and health concerns.

It would be a travesty to them to admit that the water they produce causes problems. Every city/county water engineer I have tried to introduce water treatment to brush me off with the standard...Hey, my water is fine...routine. So I rarely rely on their expertise to set the standard for higher water quality. Maybe safe, but not the quality I strive for.

Plumbers are another odd group when it comes to water treatment. A good friend of mine is an excellent plumbing contractor but his plumbing and fixtures at his home are so badly damaged, that it makes me cringe when I see them. I guess it's true: a shoemaker's children run bared footed...

You also said you need vinegar to remove hardness from dishes, and so on. And all this in only six months! What will it look like in six years?

These anti-scale devices MAY be good for industrial purposes where scale build up can cost millions of dollars in equipment damage. They have little need for all the practical attributes appreciated in residential applications.

No one enjoys coming to the realization that their investment went south, but I would get a softener---and a quality one at that---and treat you water well.

Andy Christensen, CWS

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 9:10AM
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Those anti-scale devices are WORSE for industrial purposes and cost companies millions of dollars when good mechanical folks purchase them against the advice of good chemical/water engineers. They work only to charge particles (ie. dirt)for easier filtering - they do nothing for scale. Nothing.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 10:28AM
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Please send me the money and I will use my powers to teleport the hardness out of your water! There iI just about said the same thing they did!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 2:01PM
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I've had the system now for 6 months. It seems to work pretty well, I see water spots and have noticed some white buildup on my glass vessel sinks (is this a calcium deposit, not sure, I haven't bought CLR to try it out) but otherwise seems to be working.

Hey! That sounds great! It's doing everything it should except removing the calcium, magnesium and iron and leaving spots! If you wanted to get rid of the water spots, you could install a salt type of water conditioner.

Sorry. I'm feeling especially sarcastic tonight.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 11:26PM
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There seems to be quite a bit of excitement created by the Zeta Rod, and that is good. My name is Rodrigo Romo, I am the Vice President of Engineering for Zeta Corporation and I would like to try to briefly clarify some of the misconceptions that seem to be going around. The Zeta Rod is a patented technology that has been used in industrial applications since the mid 90's. We recently ventured into the residential market using the same technology and materials that we use in our industrial applications. The Zeta Rod prevents the formation of mineral and biologican deposits on wetted surfaces not by removing hardness from the water but by creating a strong electrostatic dispersion effect amongst colloidal particles and microorganisms in the water. The Zeta Rod is not a softner in the sense that it does not remove hardness from the water. So if a sample of treated and untreated water is taken to a laboratory for a hardness analysis, there will be no difference between the two samples. The spots that are seen on surfaces after the zeta treated water evaporates are the results of the salts still present in the water remaining behind. The difference is that these spots are easy to remove with a damp cloth. We have published numerous papers in peer reviewed journals and given presentations in different engineering conferences in the US and Europe. There are also papers published by independent third parties that investigate the effects of the Zeta Rod technology.
Our customers include major airports, fortune 500 companies, convention centers, automotive plants, soft drink plants, municpal water treatment plants, aluminum can making plants and many more. We have customers throughout the US, Europe and Asia. We understand that there have been several 'non chemical' technologies that have left poor impressions in the residential market, and that was one of the reasons that we waited so long to enter this market.
There is just not enough space in this forum to give a full detailed explanation of our technology but I would be glad to answer anyone's questions or provide more 'scientific data' to anyone with an inquisitive mind. Please feel free to contact me at rromo@zetacorp.com.


Rodrigo Romo
VP Engineering
Zeta Corporation

Here is a link that might be useful: Zeta Corporation

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 11:19PM
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Mr. Romo,

Your site is short on science and long on conjecture. I see no independent study of your device. While it may (and I am purely giving you the benefit of the doubt here) have some application in cold water, even your own inadequate "data" does not suggest using it in hot water applications, such as those found in a home water heater. It looks to me as if you are using a minor commercial business to attempt to expand into the residential market where there are fewer people who have water chemistry/physics background to recognize snake-oil when they see it. Even in commercial facilities, there are rarely folks who understand water chemistry well enough and I'm sure you've managed to obtain some customers. However, no legitimate company sends its VP of Engineering (what type of engineering, BTW?) to web forums to attempt to gather customers.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 11:33AM
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Alice in wonderland:

I'd be glad to send you references and documents explaining the technology behind our products. As for the hot water application, I'm sorry to inform you that you are incorrect. We have systems installed in large commercial sites treating precisely the hot water distribution systems where mineral scaling was an issue. Again if you would like to find out more information about our technology, please feel free to send me an email to rromo@zetacorp.com.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 5:36PM
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In my 35 years as a water treatment engineer in residential and industrial water treatment I have not seen an "electronic" device such as the Zeta Rod contribute anything useful to either water or the water-carrying hardware. Most of my career I was a V.P. for R.& D. in water treatment and tested several such devices because if they had potential I would certainly like to have pursued them. I found nothing to pursue. Later, as a consultant I worked closely with an end-user who wanted to use either a Zeta Rod or similar system. I was hopeful that it would work and I'm glad that I insisted that the seller agreed in writing to remove the devices at no cost to the user if they didn't work. We incorporated various metal "coupons" into the water stream to test for improvements and found none after one year. The system was removed.
I also write about water treatment and I'd love to have something as exciting as a new technology to write about but Zeta Rod and others have not been willing to subject their products to testing even if they participate in the test-writing protocol. I can't write about a product that has no proof of performance.
The language used in the cited website here is a combination of terms from the disciplines of chemistry, physics, and electronics that, as combined, make no sense to experts in any of those fields.
So far, the product and others like it appear to have no merit. My literature file on similar devices goes back to the 1940s and they still haven't caught on. Don't you think that the major players in water treatment (now including GE) would be offering this type of technology if it was legitimate?
If you are offered one of these, ask the seller if they will install and rent it to you and remove it (at no cost to you) if it doesn't work. Other water treatment products are marketed this way. Ask them to be specific about what criteria will be used to determine its effectiveness so you can both agree on its performance.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 1:04AM
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Zeta Corporation has now created a new blog to address these types of questions, and any other concern that a home owner may have about our technology.
Please visit our blog site at http://www.zetablog.zetarod.com
Or our website at http://www.zetarod.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Zeta Rod Blog

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 9:10PM
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I live in Livermore, CA. During summers, it is relatively hot and the water is pretty hard. When I bought my house, it had a traditional water softener. They are illegal in my area and when it failed, I replaced it with at Zeta Rod.

Results: For several months after the installation, I was suddenly getting a lot of scale at the faucet screens. This was scale that had built up in the pipes with the previous water softener. After the first few months, the scale problem disappeared.

I haven't had the water tested, but my perception is that the water quality is at least as good as I got with the traditional water softener.

I haven't noticed anyone discussing filters on this thread. I would recommend that filters be installed downstream from the Zeta Rod system. I am using a 20 micron particulate filter followed by a 5 micron carbon filter.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 7:35PM
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I think a lot of the criticism of the Zeta Rod system on this forum has been a bit unfair. First, I have no association of any kind with Zeta Rod. I don't sell or install water conditioning equipment. I do have a degree in chemistry.

First, Zeta Rod DOES NOT claim to remove calcium and other dissolved minerals from your water. In fact, they have been very clear that they DO NOT remove anything. Therefore, and chemical test of water that has been conditioned with a Zeta Rod system will have exactly the same chemical composition as the water prior to the test.

If you collect some Zeta Rod conditioned water and let it dry, you will get a deposit -- again, exactly what Zeta Rod states.

What Zeta Rod DOES claim to do is to keep minerals dissolved in the water, so that they do not precipitate on (coat for the non-chemists) pipes, dishes, sinks, etc. (at least prior to the water evaporating). Zeta Rod also claims that any scale present due to evaporation will be easier to remove than normal scale.

I have been using a Zeta Rod system for almost two years and my experience is that both of Zeta Rod's claims are true.

Here are the trade-offs between a Zeta Rod and a traditional water softener; at least as I see them:

1. A Zeta Rod system may have a higher installation cost, but a lower operating cost.

2. In municipalities where traditional water softeners are not allowed, the Zeta Rod is a LOT better than nothing.

3. A traditional water softener will remove metals from your water -- the Zeta Rod will not. However, the Zeta Rod does appear to prevent the metals from depositing on pipes and other surfaces (as long as the water is not allowed to evaporate). During the first few months of use, the Zeta Rod also appears to remove any existing scale that has built up on pipes. Based on my personal experience, the Zeta Rod appears to be MORE effective than a salt based water softener at preventing scale buildup on pipes.

4. While the Zeta Rod does not remove anything from the water, it also does not add anything to the water. A traditional water softener replaces metals (usually calcium and magnesium) with sodium and/or potassium, depending on the kind of salt used with the water softener.

5. A traditional water softener should prevent water spots. A Zeta Rod will not prevent water spots.

6. The Zeta Rod system is MUCH smaller than a salt based water softener.

If I had to install a new system and salt based water softeners were legal in my area, it would be a pretty close call for me. I would probably opt for the Zeta Rod system because of lower operating costs, smaller size and not lower maintenance (don't have to mess with bags of salt).


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:27PM
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I can agree with what Don said. I have had one for three years and my cleaning lady has told me that my house is a lot easier to clean than anyone's. Plus I don't want to take vital minerals out of my water and add salt. Which isn't good for one's health or the environment. That is why they are often illegal. Additionally my skin was really dry and itchy before I had this installed and never so anymore.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 11:42PM
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"I can agree with what Don said. I have had one for three years and my cleaning lady has told me that my house is a lot easier to clean than anyone's. Plus I don't want to take vital minerals out of my water and add salt. Which isn't good for one's health or the environment. That is why they are often illegal. Additionally my skin was really dry and itchy before I had this installed and never so anymore."

This is all a barely useful anecdote.

keep in mind that the patent office does not decide if an invention works as described, just that it does not conflict with anyone else's patent claims.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:28AM
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While electrostatic precipitation has some applications, preventing scale formation is not one of them.

Save your money.

If it did do anything, the electrode or the area around it would end up covered with scale and need frequent cleaning, just like every other electrostatic precipitator.

They are implying that the same technology used in electronic air cleaners (high voltage to charge particulates and then attract them to a surface) works in water.

Water is not air, and only very pure water has a very high resistance.
The chlorine, chloramine, and other ionic compounds in ordinary tap water make it a decent conductor.

The whole idea looks foolish on the face.

While high voltage can be used to remove solids from water, it is not going to do anything significant to dissolved material.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:33PM
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I service & install water softeners, R/Os, scale reducers and a veriety of water treatment / conditioning systems every day. My humble opinion is that all these "high $" systems are mostly smoke & mirors. That would include such products as Zeta Rod, H2O Concepts, EZ Water, and many more brands. Most products on the market are over priced / over sold. Ask your neighbors who takes care of their water needs.

PS. 2 Kings 2:19-22 NASB
19.Then the men of the city said to Elisha, "Behold now, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad and the land is unfruitful."
20.He said, "Bring me a new jar, and put salt in it." So they brought it to him.
21.He went out to the spring of water and (AA)threw salt in it and said, "Thus says the LORD, 'I have purified these waters; there shall not be from there death or unfruitfulness any longer.'"
22.So the waters have been purified to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:40PM
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"I'd be glad to send you references and documents explaining the technology behind our products. "

Why don't you put all the data on your web site for all to see?

We are not wrong, you are selling snake oil to gullible people.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 10:46AM
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Yes I have heard of Zeta Rod Systems and sold them commercially for about a year (10 years ago) to industrial refrigeration warehouses. The skinny is that they appear to work fantastically at first, then after a few months the rod itself scales up...it is a flawed device which the inventor and company president has never acknowledged even in the face of overwhelming evidence. My advice, stay away from anything Zeta.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 2:20PM
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