Welcome back to SD hydroponics and organics. We’re here at the customer appreciation sale at our San Marcos location, 2011. We have Chris Witton from Horticontrol. You may have seen Dust Shrooms out there, so these are the guys.
How has customer appreciation been for you so far, Chris?
It’s been pretty great. We got to talk to a lot of customers and give them that knowledge that otherwise they wouldn’t get without speaking to the actual representative of the company. So, it’s always good.
Their website is www.horticontrol.com Tell us something about your products, Chris.
We make the Dust Shroom – the hepa filter that has no CFM loss, and it’s coated in light oil; it’s washable and reusable. We also make a ballast flip box, which allows you to run two bulbs on one ballast, not simultaneously, but one bloom room for 12 hours and then it will flip the output of your ballast to a secondary bulb, so you can buy half the ballast and have double the space.
Let’s start with the Dust Shroom. When did it come out?
We’ve been developing it for a few years; we finalized the actual design, the pore size of the foam and released it around March of 2010.
No loss of CFM. Can you explain why that is important?
Well, this industry has traditional hepa filters, made out of woven synthetic fiber in an accordion shape. It led to significant decrease in air flow because the weave had to be so tight to block the particles. We use reticulated foam covered in oil which is similar to a dirt bike or a Baja race truck filter. The pore size allows more air flow through the unit without restricting the air flow – that allows you to exchange your air much quicker, as well as keeping the air cooled hoods clean because there is no CFM loss.
Where do you connect the filters?
You connect the filter on the in-take side – if you’re using it on air cooled hoods and putting it on the in-take side of the air cooled hood; if you are using it to exchange the air of the room you want to filter the incoming outdoor air, you would install it on the in-take pipe.
So you can use it to blow air or suck air?
It’s unidirectional – it works either direction, so you can blow through the Dust Shroom or draw through the outside surface.
How long do they last?
The foam has a shelf life depending on the UV exposure, of 7 to 10 years; we give the product a 5 year warranty.
So, let’s talk about your other product, switches you call it?
They are known as flip flops or flip boxes. Basically the idea came about probably 10-12 years ago. There was a magazine that had a little description about the possibility of doing this and we’ve started to play around with it and trying to figure it out. It really helps when you have limited electrical capacity. Maybe you have a circuit box that has only one spare fuse in it and you can’t put any more breakers in it. So it allows you to expand your growing area without purchasing additional ballasts. You run your lights continuously 24h / day so you don’t have current spikes.
Can you give us a specific example of this? The first time I heard it, it didn’t quite make sense to me. What would somebody with one a room grow, find this useful?
You can go all the way from just a person growing that has, let’s say, a tent in their spare bedroom. They run one light in there and the other 12 hours of the day that light is off. They could have a second tent and then they could have the light in one tent of 12 hours flipping on the other tent and now you’ve doubled you growing area, with the equipment you already own, all you have to add is another bulb and reflector. On a larger scale, say a warehouse, if you only have a 200 panel and would like to run a 2o 1000 watt lights that will draw at least 200 amps. You might not have enough left amperage to run your air conditioning fans and other equipment. What you can do in that situation is divide the space into 2 separate ten light areas and this draws only 50 amps for 24 hours instead of 100 for 12 hours.
What about digital and magnetic ballasts?
It works with all magnetic and most digital ballasts, global greenhouse lighting, it does work with. We’ve been selling them to Family hydroponics stores with GGL ballasts for over 5 years. Some magnetic or some digital ballasts have error sensing technology and when you flip it the ballast thinks you’ve unplugged and replugged the hot bulb so it won’t fire the new bulb. We have a suggestion for that: if you just turn the ballast off for a few seconds before you flip it and then turn it back on, it resets that. Besides that we are also developing a timer that would do that for you, fully automated.
What about high pressure sodium and metal halide bulbs?
If you have a digital ballast that senses the type of bulb it’s on, you can run an HPS on one socket and the metal halide on the other – it will work with all wattages, including the Galaxy 1500 watt ballast by Sunlight Supply. We had it tested with that and it works for that as well.
Are there any new products coming up from Horticontrol?
Well, at first we had the 4, 6 and 8 inch Dust Shrooms. Just recently we’ve completed the 10 and 12 inches models. And we finalized all the packaging on our cleaning and regeneration kit – called The Dust Shroom regeneration kit. It includes a bottle of biodegradable cleaner, and an aerosol can of biodegradable plant based oil which contains rosemary and cedar oil. So when the filter is dirty, you just spray the cleaner on, rinse it with warm water, allow it to dry and recoat it with the biodegradable oil. That will be out probably in the 2nd week of April and would retail for about $20.
You will be able to purchase them from 188.8.131.52 also.
What will the kits contain specifically?
The Dust Shroom regeneration kit will contain: 2 cans, a can and a plastic pump spray bottle that are shrink wrapped together, the one bottle is about 5 and a half ounces of cleaner, the other is an aerosol can with approximately 5 and a half ounces of the Dust Shroom oil and that should clean the average filter 2 to 3 times.
What makes the Dust Shroom superior to the other filters on the market?
The Dust Shroom’s main competitor is your standard hepa filter, found in this industry for a long time. It kind of looks like a car cone filter. The number one thing is that the CFM restriction on those filters is as much as 75% and we’ve tested this in a laboratory.
Secondary, those filters have no warranty. They say they’re washable, but once they are wet, the fibers swell and upon drying out, they contract and it opens up the filter and allows more dirt through. They’re not made in USA.
Chris, thank you so much for coming by. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Horti-Control before you go?
Yes, just look for us at any good retailer. We recently signed with Sunlight Supply and Hydrofarm, so most hydroponics stores should carry our products now. We’ll be at the Denver International Gardening Expo, the 31st of March through 4th of April. So come by and see us.