Zerowater - Zero Water Stinks!

I was happy with it at first.Although more expensive than other water filtrations systems, I did not mind because I liked the way the water tasted.

After about 30-45 days usage, I noticed a foul fish like smell in my kitchen. I cleaned out the fridge and cabinets and the odor remained. I narrowed it down to the Zero Water so I changed the filter. Everything was fine for about 3-4 weeks.

Then the odor returned.

I bought 2 more filters from because they offered them at a reduced price.Even with the reduced price they were expensive and not worth it!

I am going to return it.

1190c801 review #220352
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Had the same issue29 Comments45
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Jan 24

Yes, of course changing the filter is imperative but if you have to do it after only a week to 2 weeks of use, it becomes very costly and annoying. I don't think it's worth the $$.

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Jan 24

Whether it's the filter polymer or bacteria, it still stinks! We have hard well water and we need to have some way of getting better drinking water. I'll have to weigh the pros, cons and costs of either continuing as we are with the Zero Water vs. a whole-house filtration/softening system; or, a home delivery water service. Very disappointing.

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Dec 15, 2014 Enterprise, Alabama

Mine taste like a dirty fish tank after 4 weeks. My husband says it must have polymer in the filter. He used to haul it to water treatment plants. It stunk so bad like dead fish and was very slick. They nick named it elephant snot.

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Jul 03, 2014

I have been using PUR for as long as I could remember but about 5 months ago I got a Soma water filter and love it!
There are a couple things that really makes Soma stand out for me besides how yummy the water tastes and how gorgeous it looks on my dinning room table.
The first nice thing about this filter is you don't need to go to the store when your filter is old! Soma sends you a new water filter to your house every two months automatically so it saves you time.
Another thing that I especially like about Soma over PUR is that the actual filter is made out of biodegradable material and then the carafe is made out of surprisingly strong glass (I dropped it at least twice and it was perfectly fine!) which makes it eco-friendly and sustainable. Since it is made out of glass you can wash it in your dishwasher making the lifespan of the Soma that much longer. The fact that is a more eco-friendly filter was/is a hugeeee bonus for me being and makes me love Soma that much more.
Check out their website if your interested just search drinksoma

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May 16, 2014

Jim from NuWater USA Resin Manufacture
Anion exchange resins, especially strong base anion exchange resins in the hydroxide form, may emit odors such as a dead fish smell. The main cause is release of very low levels of amines from the resin (trimethylamine for type I strong base resins). The amines are released due to slight de-amination of the resin by the Hofmann's reaction. This is the primary degradation mechanism for anion exchange resins. Higher temperature will accelerate the rate of resin de-amination, as will allowing the resin to dehydrate (become dry). Amines, such as trimethylamine, have a very low odor threshold (5 ppb) and will be smelled at levels well below the hazardous limits established by regulatory agencies. Trimethylamine is also released by decomposing fish, hence the association of the resin odor with a dead fish.
A type 2 Anion rinsed with high purity DI is suited beter for drinking water applacations and do not give off a dead fish smell. Check out or like us on facebook.

1 1 Reply

Oct 21, 2013

I have noticed the same thing. We have had our zero water water cooler for a few years. After some time we also noticed the fish thing and narrowed it down to the cooler. Personally, I have no sense of smell so I can't smell it unless it gets real bad. My family says it doesn't affect the taste...but the smell trips them up. We found that it only stinks when the filter needs to be changed. It's a great reminder, really, because otherwise...we would never change the filters at all! Once we change the filters we clean out the entire unit and drain all the stinky water still in it. We refill with clean tap water and flush it out. It solves the problem. It sounds like a lot of work...but you're doing it pretty much already when you put new filters on. I still love my cooler. I'm willing to do the extra work.

2 1 Reply

Jul 04, 2013 London, Ontario

ME TOO, I opened the tank and found there to be slime all around the filter - slippery and frog-pond stinky. OBVIOUSLY the filter allows for micro-organisms to go through or multiply in it... MAN, that`s a sure way to ruin a decent gin on the rocks, using that water... there MUST be a fix the co. has.

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Sep 10, 2013 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Read Hintonian's post below... not true, it is the resin in the filter breaking down.

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Oct 30, 2013 Tucson, Arizona

I too had the same problem, and I called Zero Water direct and voiced my concerns. The very nice & professional representative explained the problem and sent me a new filter free of charge. I am very happy that they stand by their product, and will continue to use their products.

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Oct 30, 2013

These are not bloody micro-orginisms... it is a fishy smelling substance formed when the resin (filter material) breaks down chemically. The black stuff is charcoal which is another filter material.

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Zero water - DO NOT BUY

May 19, 2013 Buffalo, New York

Not only does the water stink like fish, it gave me a headache too.There was black stuff floating on the bottom of the pitcher. I will Never use zero water ever again. I would rather drink the water right out of the tap With All of the contaminates in it.

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The Hintonian

Mar 31, 2013 Saint Paul, Minnesota

The fishy smell you smell after you have had a filter for a while is the break down of the resin inside the filter, NOT bacteria. When the resin breaks down and a byproduct is an amine which smells fishy. If your filters are only lasting a week or two you probably have higher than normal water usage, or higher than normal contaminates in your water supply. If the latter is the problem, if you want to get pure drinking water from your tap you need to consider a higher volume filtration system.

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Mar 25, 2013 Atascadero, California

I too have had the fish problem after 2 weeks of use. I don't care what the filter changers say.Or what the intructions say. That is bacteria and algae growing in the filter that gives it that fishy smell.I don't need a meter to tell me bacteria has started growing from day one.I'm guessing good concept, bad design.

1 1 Reply
Water Chemist

Jun 26, 2013 Denver, Colorado

The fishy smell is the cracking of the resin due to use, not bacteria.

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Feb 15, 2013 Cottage Grove, Minnesota

We received the zero water filter for a xmas gift and have used 4 filters and the water stinks like dead fish after a weeks use,What is the problem ?Is that how they work"

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Jan 10, 2013

Hollins *** me. Ive had this thing for 14 days and the water tastes like lemons/metal.
When I sit down the filter on the white plastic, grey water seeps out, not crystal clear. It is not lazyness when the meter jumps 200 overnight. There is obviously a problem with this product, and I wont be using it anymore-but I think you most definatly should.

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Nov 23, 2012

I've had my zero water pitcher for about a month and today I noticed the horrible fishy smell. I'm pregnant, so at first I thought it was just me - something weird happening with my senses, but I took a cup of water to my husband and he said he smelled it too. It is SO incredibly disgusting and of course I don't have the box or any idea where the receipt is. I can't believe this is happening after how expensive these are compared to others....I'm going back to Brita.

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Sep 14, 2014 Hastings, Minnesota

This just happened w my Brita. It's not just the brand.

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Nov 17, 2012

Just to add my thoughts, I just got the bad smell after my second filter and I have to say, it seems like the new filters are the problem. My first filter lasted about twice as long and when I changed it there was no smell. The number just went above 006. The replacement I got at Walmart was a different style and only lasted a few weeks before we started getting the smell. Didn't realize it was the water at first. The numbers seemed to rise exponentially after that.

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Feb 11, 2013 Alliston, Ontario

I so agree, I tore my kitchen apart trying to find what died in there all to find its the zerowater , had to replace my tassimo filter and keurig filter on both my coffee machines couldnt figure out why my stomach was upset for last month and why my coffee tasted like dead animal. took mine back to wallmart but still waiting to hear from zerowater.

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