Frequently Asked Questions: Zeta Rod Home Water Conditioning Systems

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What is a Zeta Rod® System for Home Water Conditioning, and is it affordable? The Zeta Rod® green technology offers a highly economical and environmentally sound method of water conditioning that uses the physical and electrochemical effects of electrostatic fields to disperse bacteria and nano-crystals that form biofilm and scale. A Zeta Rod system will normally pay for itself in chemical savings (salts), water conservation (no back-flushing) and maintenance over a period of months rather than years.

Why the name Zeta? Zeta Corporation borrows its namesake from the term zeta potential, which is simply defined as the measurement of electrokinetic forces that cause suspended colloidal particles to repel each other. By increasing the zeta potential of suspended colloidal particles in fluids, they remain in suspension, rather than uniting to form hard scale or biological deposits. Visualize all the suspended particles in your water, each with its own natural force field. The Zeta Rod boosts and strengthens that field, causing particles to repel each other.

How does a Zeta Rod system work? The Zeta Rod forms a capacitor involving the sub-colloidal particles within the water, the piping, and the vessel walls. Within this capacitor, tiny particles that would otherwise become part of scale, sludge or bacterial deposits are electronically charged to the same sign. Behaving within the laws of physical chemistry, described as DLVO theory, having been charged to the same sign, they repel each other. Since the colloidal particles can’t link together or stick to the vessel walls, they pass through the system without forming harmful deposits.

Are chemicals used? No chemicals, acids or other additives are required for a Zeta Rod system to create this capacitor.

Will the Zeta Rod replace my water softener? Many people do not care for the slippery feel of “softened” water, some love it. That being said, the Zeta Rod functions differently than salt or potassium based ion exchange systems and is often chosen as a preferred alternative, eliminating the need to store salts and re-generate media. The maintenance and space required by traditional salt-based water softeners is also eliminated. Because the Zeta Rod does not change the chemistry of the water, the water treated can be used for irrigation and drinking. The Zeta Rod is an ideal choice in areas where governmental bans on salt-based softeners are in effect in an effort to protect ground water quality.

Will the Zeta Rod purify my water? No, a Zeta Rod system affects the physical behavior of water without adding anything to the water or removing anything from the water. The system acts as an electronic conditioner that mitigates the effects of hard water without the use of salts or other chemicals. The Zeta Rod is not a purifier, however, if purified or filtered drinking water is desired, the Zeta Rod system will keep those filters or membrane systems from fouling, thus enhancing their performance.

Does the Zeta Rod cause corrosion? No! One of the main uses for the Zeta Rod in industrial water treatment applications is for corrosion prevention. Because the Zeta Rod is a true capacitor, there is no electrical current flowing across the water. Other conditioning methods that pulse electrical current through the water have the potential to cause corrosion by electrolysis.

Will old deposits of scale and biofilm be removed? The Zeta Rod is not sold as a scale removal system, however, any existing bond between old deposits and the wetted surfaces to which they are attached will be affected by the action of the Zeta Rod.  Existing deposits may dissolve slowly over time, or may flake away from pipe or vessel wall surfaces in a faster, more noticeable fashion. The removal process is normally very gentle and usually occurs over a period of time.  Chips of scale caught in aerators are signs of scale removal, not scale formation, and can be flushed by opening and rinsing the aerator.  Hard sludge in hot water heaters will tend to re-fluidize and may move through piping, causing temporary cloudiness in your water.  Best practice is to flush water heaters and remove hard scale from fixtures at the time of installation.

Will the Zeta Rod stop those spots from forming on my shower walls & bathroom fixtures? As water droplets evaporate, they leave their salts behind. This is simply a fact of physics. Because the Zeta Rod does not add or remove anything from the water, spots created by completely evaporated salts may still form. However, because the Zeta Rod reduces the surface tension of the water, the crystallization behavior of those salts is altered, allowing them to be more easily wiped away, rather than forming hard etching scale. Unfortunately, the Zeta Rod is not a maid, and you still have to clean your house :(((!  A Zeta Rod system will allow the user to back off significantly on the amount of soap used for laundry, dish washing, etc., while at the same time improving the performance of those appliances.

What will happen if there are existing deposits in my pipes? It is possible that the biofilm “glue” bonding old scale deposits to piping and tanks may lose its bonding, allowing old scale to be dislodged, rather than to dissolve slowly over time. It is also possible that some dislodged old scale deposits may become entrapped in shower heads or aerator screens in sink faucets. Simply open those screens and flush with water. Of course, new scale and biofilms are prevented from forming.

Will the Zeta Rod keep my evaporative (swamp) cooler clean? Yes, the Zeta Rod has been used for many years to keep industrial and commercial evaporative cooling equipment free of scale and biofouling without the use of any chemicals. Given the low volume of water in a swamp cooler, the constant make up with freshly treated water ensures that the cooling pads remain clean (provided that they are evenly wetted), distribution tubing and nozzles won’t plug; and fan belts, motors and recirculation pumps last longer since there is no scale accumulation. Evaporated salts on the outsides of pads are easily rinsed off and in many cases allow for their use over many seasons without having to be replaced. The best part is that the swampy odors inside the home are eliminated because there is no biofouling of the water.

Will the Zeta Rod protect my water heater? Yes, if the Zeta Rod is installed upstream from the water heater, then the water going into the heater will be preconditioned and the heater will be protected against scale deposits.

I have a reverse osmosis (RO) unit under my sink, will the Zeta Rod affect its performance? The Zeta Rod will help your RO system perform better. Many industrial and municipal RO systems are being pretreated with the Zeta Rod to help reduce membrane fouling, increase membrane life span and improve the flux of the system (that is the amount of water produced at its normal operating pressure).

The water where I live is very hard, will the Zeta Rod be able to protect my plumbing and fixtures? Yes, the Zeta Rod has been used for many years protecting industrial evaporative cooling systems operating at with very high levels of hardness, it has also been used for many years in protecting heating and cooling equipment in sea water applications. One major international airport in Texas treats all of their domestic hot and cold water with the Zeta Rod. The result has been a dramatic decrease in maintenance costs to replace flush valves, seals and faucets in restrooms, as well as reduced effort required to keep these areas clean.

Is the Zeta Rod® System energy efficient? Because there is no continuous electrical current flow within a capacitive system, power use is almost too low to measure. A Zeta Rod® System costs about two cents a day to operate.

Does the Zeta Rod require maintenance? No, since there are no moving parts, filters to change, or wear components, your Zeta Rod system should require no maintenance other than to periodically check the status of the green LED indicator lamp.  The green LED indicates not only that the system is receiving power, but that its output is within specification for effective operation.

Is there any danger in being around the Zeta Rod system? There is no danger of being around a properly installed Zeta Rod system. The system is completely insulated and unless the protective conduit, insulation or grounding wires have been damaged, there is no possibility of shock. While the voltage used to create the electrostatic field is very high, the available current is very low. The internal controls built into the power supply will instantly reduce the current output to near zero if the system ever shorts to ground. All Zeta Rod systems are IAPMO certified, assuring conformance to appropriate UL electrical standards as well as to the Uniform Plumbing Code requirements and NSF/ANSI standard 61 for Drinking Water Systems Components – Health Effects. Because the Zeta Rod affects the way water behaves rather than adding or removing anything from it, assuming that your water is safe to drink to begin with, your water will remain safe to drink once treated.

When should the Zeta Rod System be turned on? Once properly installed and grounded, the Zeta Rod system may be turned on and should then remain on at all times in order to properly protect plumbing from deposits, scale, and biofilm. Other devices that attempt to cause scale to precipitate out of water, are flow dependant and will only operate when the water is flowing across them. The Zeta Rod’s electrostatic field treats the water and protects the piping at all times, even when there is no water flowing. Because the field generated by the Zeta Rod extends both upstream and downstream from its point of installation, the plumbing system will be protected even during long periods of minimal water flow, such as during an extended absence from the home. This makes the Zeta Rod system an ideal choice for people who own homes that are lived in for only part of the year.

How will I know if the Zeta Rod system is operating correctly? The green LED on the Zeta Rod power supply enclosure is not simply and on/off indicator, it is connected to the high voltage output of the system. As long as the green light is illuminated, the power supply is supplying its nominal voltage output and the integrity of the system is ensured.

Are there any components that will have to be replaced as part of routine maintenance? No, a Zeta Rod system is designed for a maintenance-free, long life. There are no filters or media to replace. Zeta Rod systems carry a three year limited warranty for parts and workmanship and most systems would be easily repaired for a nominal fee after the three year warranty period has expired. Zeta Corporation uses advanced materials and electronics in all of its products, with the expectation that they will last for many years of service. Since the electrode is not a sacrificial anode or cathode, there is no wear to the electrode; and since there is no measurable current being drawn from the power supply, the electronic components are rarely put through stresses that would cause failure.

Is a Zeta Rod system easy to install? The Zeta Rod is installed in the main water line coming into your home or building. While the installation of the system is relatively simple and straight forward, Zeta Corporation recommends that a licensed plumbing contractor perform the installation and if necessary, a licensed electrician provide an AC power source near the installation site.