Do NOT buy an Ez-Flo Fertilizer Injector
Do NOT buy an Ez-Flo Fertilizer Injector.
Here is the story:
In an attempt to give my plants the 1 tsp of vinegar per gallon of water and .25 tsp of fertilizer per gallon of water that they like I recently purchased an Ez-Flo injector. I have been using hose-end sprayers and they work very well. They are accurate and do exactly what I want (the one I'm using happens to be a Gilmour). The problem with the hose-end injectors is that they significantly throttle the flow so it takes about 5 times as long to water the same number of pots. They do, however, perform as advertised and put out solution at the rates that you set them to. I check mine daily with some very nice pH and EC meters.
Enter Ez-Flo. I wanted to be able to water at full flow. I did a bit of research and the Ez-Flo is what I came up with. Now, I understand based on their website that the unit will taper off toward the end of the cycle. This means that it will not give me *exactly* what I want but it was supposed to be consistent and "proportioning" until very near the end of the tank. You can see their claims here: http://www.ezfloinjection.com/1-6.asp
I installed my tank according to the instructions. I did note an oddity - the printed instructions that come with the unit say that a setting of "1" will proportion at a ratio of 1.333 tsp per gallon whereas the website says it will give you 1.5 tsp per gallon. Odd that they don't seem to agree with each other. I did the math on my unit (3/4 gallon size) and found that if the unit puts out 1.5 tsp per gallon then I would need 8 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of fertilizer, and 2 cups of water in the tank to get the desired output. I figured it would be best to assume that the unit put out the higher amount so as not to burn my plants (ask if you want to know the math to verify for yourself).
I made sure the setting was on "1" and started the unit up. The ppm and pH readings on my sample gallon were off the charts. The pH was *really* low and the ppm was almost 4x what it should have been. I have little 12mL syringes that I use to mix manually and take benchmark readings - .25tsp of FP in my water should give me ~380ppm NaCl - not the 1100+ ppm that the Ez-Flo was giving me.
Next I tried it on the slowest possible setting. The unit was still putting out *way way way* too much solution. Had I not tested it I would have burned and killed plants in a matter of days (they don't appreciate pH values under 4.5).
So I called Ez-Flo tech support. The guy (at extension 13, Jeff is his name) walked me through a test to make sure my unit wasn't stuck at "fully open." He had me stick a thin wire through the cap to verify that it was. My unit was "working," the wire went through.
Next he said that based on my use of the unit I might want to take off the mixing wand that is inside since the unit can be used with dry fertilizers that need to be mixed. He said this would make the unit run ~100ppm hotter than it had been but that it would proportion more stably.
Today I did a bunch of tests. This unit is actually putting out 1 part solution per 80 parts of water ON THE SLOWEST SETTING (this is after the modification for stability). That's 80:1 on slow. Assuming he knew what he was talking about (a poor assumption, I've discovered) that means the unit should be about 180:1 on slow with the initial wand in place.
Here is what their website says the unit gives:
Slow 1,000 to 1 15,000 to 1
1 500 to 1 8,000 to 1
2 250 to 1 2,000 to 1
Fast 100 to 1 400 to 1
So right now with the modification to make it actually proportion stably it is running hotter than even the fastest setting should give me - and it's on the slowest.
So what do I do? I call back today and ask to speak with Jeff. I ask him if there is any way to make the unit run slower. Putting 10 cups of water, .5c of fertilizer, and 1.5c of vinegar in a tank kind of defeats the purpose. I'd have to fill it every day, maybe twice a day on some days.
It turns out - they DO make a part that will make the unit work as advertised. Guess what? You have to buy it. I asked him if they would send me the part since the unit was not working at ALL as advertised. Had I been like most consumers and assumed that it was just because their was fertilizer coming out I would have done serious damage to the vitality of my plants or maybe killed them.
He told me that he would not send me the part. Then I started to get mad - I explained that look: I know he's just a tech support guy and the policy isn't his fault but the unit never worked as advertised - that the documentation differs from the site, that in any case it puts out WAY WAY over what it says it will in EITHER place and so on. If there is a part that makes it work as it should then the company should send me that part. I explained that this was just bad customer service and so on.
And this, fellow GardenWebbers, is where it gets good. He told me that he DID have the authority to ship me the part. That he is the "operations manager" - he just "WON'T" ship me the part.
So in short: the Ez-Flo fertilizer injectors DO NOT FUNCTION AS ADVERTISED. Not EVEN CLOSE. Not even at the START of the tank. They *could* work as advertised if they send you a different part. But they "WON'T."
DO NOT BUY these products. This company is absurd. I will be sticking with my hose-end sprayers and telling this story in any forum that talks about gardening online.
I'm furious with these guys. If you frequent other forums you will see me posting the same message there. I apologize to you in advance for that but I really want to get the word out on this "product."
Note: these are the cliff notes I can provide more details of the *absurd* conversations if you'd like but the takehome message is this: they unit does not work as it should. They don't care that it doesn't. They don't care about false advertising or angry customers. Stay away.