Darkroom ventilation help, please.
Old 01-01-2009   #1
gdi
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Darkroom ventilation help, please.

I am considering turning a room in my basement into a darkroom and need to figure out ventilation.

It is a cinderblock room with a wooden door under my front porch - almost like a root cellar. About 10 feet long, but only around 3 feet deep. I will probably only be developing negs - E-6, C-41 and B&W using a Phototherm machine.

Venting is a problem, because if I go straight out the wall to the outside (under the porch) a vent/grate will look unsightly when approaching the house. So, I am considering knocking a hole in the inside wall of the room and routing duct work about 15 feet to vent it out a small window on the least viewed side of the house.

My question --- is it practical to have effective venting via such a duct work system? I think I would have an intake grate high on the opposite side of the room, bring air from the rest of the basement in, across and down the darkroom and exhaust it low in the room (adding more duct work as it comes out, up and over to the window.)

Any experience with such a problem? I know some people might just ignore the ventilation since it is only negs and not prints, but the room is quite small and has no airflow to speak of.

I would appreciate any insights or advice!

thanks
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Old 01-11-2009   #2
Graybeard
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Venting the discharge air throuh a duct shouldn't be a problem provided that the fan/blower which you use has adequate capacity. Most ceiling ventilator blowers (bathroom fans) that I've seen were clearly intended for conection to a duct and have a four or six inch fitting on the discharge end for connection to the duct.
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Old 01-11-2009   #3
oftheherd
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Sounds like a lot of work to me. It might be easier to place a small fan in the door way, with a cowling of some sort to disguise it somewhat. Spriatone used to sell those, so I am sure some of the big places still do. They were also filtered.

Sounds like you might need to consider that as well, since you seem to be able to draw air from another part of you house, and it may be over earth. In that case, a wall or the duct work may be better after all.
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Old 01-11-2009   #4
sepiareverb
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http://www.ventaxiausa.com/darkroom.htm

These are the best- the exterior cowl can be painted to disquise it.
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Old 01-11-2009   #5
marke
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If all you're going to do is develop film, why not just use a changing bag?
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Old 01-11-2009   #6
Beemermark
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I have to ask - why vent at all? None of the darkroom chemicals are that hazardous (even if you believe the worse) and for the small home developer shouldn't pose any health hazards. Unless your into heavy toning usage or something the worse thing is the vinegar smell of acetic acid. A dehumidifier for the basement is my recommendation based on experience.
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Old 02-17-2009   #7
Graybeard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
I have to ask - why vent at all? None of the darkroom chemicals are that hazardous (even if you believe the worse) and for the small home developer shouldn't pose any health hazards. Unless your into heavy toning usage or something the worse thing is the vinegar smell of acetic acid. A dehumidifier for the basement is my recommendation based on experience.

It does get stuffy in a closed darkroom if you spend much time working there. Ventilaion certainly makes things more pleasant.
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Old 02-17-2009   #8
russianRF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marke View Post
If all you're going to do is develop film, why not just use a changing bag?
Indeed. Seems like a LOT of hassle when, for less than $100, you can buy a large bag that "tents" upright around its sleeves. I have one of these; except for getting in and out of the sleeves, it's quite convenient and comfortable. Certainly I wouldn't understand how a cramped, stuffy room would be preferred.

Last edited by russianRF : 02-17-2009 at 09:20. Reason: typo
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Old 02-17-2009   #9
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I would worry more about pulling in dust and dirt from another part of the basement, especially since you say its like a root cellar. I'd rethink the need for ventilation, but the dehumidifier is a good idea. You can shut it off before you start developing and it won't push any dust around.
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Old 02-17-2009   #10
gdi
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I had forgotten about this thread

I am not looking just to load film - I need a location that is away from my family to develop film and will set up a processing machine. I have a great location now - except there is no heat and in Connecticut in February heat is needed.

I realize that a lot of people would not consider the chemicals toxic enough to worry about, but I am not convinced when it comes to the color chemicals. Plus my wife is very conservative regarding chemical fumes and will not tolerate the smells wafting up into the house.

So, I think I may be running some fairly small ductwork and installing a fan in the spring.

Thanks
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Old 02-17-2009   #11
BillBingham2
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One thing also about ventilation, you need to pull air from somewhere. Keep in mind you want your room to be light tight you can only pull out as much air as will sneak in. Using some 90 degree angles, flat black paint and a open/close valve for when you are in there is straight forward enough. Make sure you paint the walls and floor to keep down the dust.

B2 (;->
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Old 02-24-2009   #12
Steve Williams
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I used 4 inch PVC pipe and an inline fan placed outside, the kind used in Radon reduction. The pipe has inlets built right into the backsplash of my darkroom sink with a fresh air vent overhead. It is quiet and rapidly changes the air. I turn it on and off in the winter because it will suck out all the heat. I could have used a smaller fan.

Quite inexpensive and easy to install.
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