Apartment--using washer-dryer hookups for darkroom.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by BetterSense, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I just checked out my new apartment; we are moving there tomorrow. The spare bedroom (soon to be the man room) actually has washer-dryer hookups, with two spigots, and in between them, is what appears to be a blank drain hole. It's a bit weird to me because I expect a drain to have some kind of fittings on it, but I guess you are supposed to just stick the drain pipe from the washer down the hole.

    Anyway, this should be good news for darkroom use, but I'm trying to figure out how to make both the running water and the drain useful. I could just use a big funnel and drain my liquids down the hole, but I know I've seen trays with a drain hole in the corner. As for the spigots, I'm not sure how to make them useful either. I could attach short lengths of garden hose to each of them, but I don't know how I would keep water from getting everywhere. Maybe I would have to get a little sink and hook it up somehow.
     
  2. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    You can buy (Lowes, Home Depot, hardware store) washer hookup hoses. They are metal wrapped flexible hoses with female-threaded fittings on both ends. One hose for hot, one for cold. They are standard faucet size and would hook up to the spigots for your sink just fine.

    Drainage could be more a problem, if the drain outlet is located higher up the wall than you'd want the bottom of your sink to be. You may have to drain the stuff into a bucket and then siphon it out into the drain outlet. The drain outlets for washing machines never have any fittings, because washer drain hoses are just, well, hoses that empty quickly; they are relatively large in diameter, and you just shove them down into the drain hole in the wall box. Simple, and works.

    Bottom line, those connections would work fine for a darkroom sink or even a Jobo processor with a temp mixing panel, with a bit of ingenuity.
     
  3. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Oh, good. I can look for a sink with a spigot then. I had planned on using a blank sink, and just putting hose-ends on the lines from the hookups.

    The drain is about 4 feet high, up with the spigots, so if I put in a sink it would have to be like a foot higher than a normal bathroom sink, not that that's a problem. Of course there's no provision for installing a sink, so I would have to build something.
     
  4. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    If you have the dollars you can get a grey water pump to put under the sink that will pump the water up to the drain automatically.
     
  5. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Go to Lowe's, Home Depot, Menards or whatever you have. Look at plastic laundry tubs: you ought to be able to get one for somewhere in the range of $10-$20. Get an inexpensive faucet set to go with: Maybe $5$-$10. Get laundry hookup hoses to run from the water outlets to the fittings on the faucet set. Get a length of drain hose and a hose clamp. You ought to be able to get the whole thing for $30-$40 or less. My laundry sink is large enough to hold an 11x14 tray; I use it as a holding tray, and then wash negatives and prints when I'm ready. The chemical trays sit on a cheap table; check second-hand stores, Goodwill, etc. I made mine but I had some spare lumber laying around.

    Mike
     
  6. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    That's exactly what I would do. You could then install a regular darkroom sink, and not worry about spilling chems when transferring them to the drain. And it wouldn't be that expensive.
     
  7. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Grey water pumps look like they are about $150, which is far, far too much. I'm looking at a small stainless sink w/faucet on craigslist for $20. If I can mount that high enough to gravity into the drain I'll be good. All I really need is hot/cold water and somewhere to dump chems. Actually, before I found out I had laundry hookups, I was planning on just hauling water to/from the bathroom across the apartment. Just having closer water and somewhere to dump chemicals will be great.
     
  8. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    The 2 spigots with drain in between is a common approach for washer/dryer hookup. You are correct that the washer drain hose just goes into the drain hole. I should have a trap built in it some where so a trap shouldn't be necessary in the sink. In every case where I've seen this hookup, it's been relatively high (about 36"). So it could be difficult to raise the sink up high enough.

    I don't think you need a specialized grey water pump; any small, submersible sump pump should do (smaller the better). Ideally with a garden hose adapter. Maybe even a cheapie fountain pump like this: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=41287 (just don't expect it to last long).

    In all likelihood, the spigots are 3/4" threaded and the faucet is 1/2" threaded. Washer hoses are typically 3/4" on both ends, so an adapter for one end will be necessary.
     
  9. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    A submersible pump? Would you put it in a bucket or something, and maybe get a float switch?

    Now, the apartment is on the second floor. Assuming the pipe runs straight down at least a couple feet, one could possibly stuff one of those check-valve-ended quick-siphon hoses down the pipe low enough to simply start a siphon.

    I think gravity feed is the way to go. If I get a pump like that I can never brush my teeth or shave in the sink, which I may want to do, having only one each of wife and bathroom. It's true that the sink will be inconveniently high, but at least I'm tall.
     
  10. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I quite agree. A simple siphon is what I had in mind in my first post; you'll use it to evacuate to the washer drain outlet whatever water and chems have accumulated in whatever holding vessel you use to collect the sink effluent.
     
  11. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    If it was me, and I wanted to maximize functionality without a major replumbing, I'd do exactly that. The sink would drain into a 5 gal bucket and a submersible pump from the bucket to the drain.

    My guess is that you'd tire of this fairly quickly. I'd be easier to go to your funnel approach. I'd use one of those large funnels with the long flexible spout.

    I'm not sure that a pump would preclude tooth brushing or shaving. Certainly a sump type pump would not. But I agree that gravity feed is best (gravity hasn't failed us for many, many years :smile: ). But, even without a trap under the sink, it likely would raise the sink up high. If not too high, that's the way to go.
     
  12. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    It has on occasion here in earthquake village. :smile: :smile:

    Back on topic, I'd go with a 5-gallon bucket containing float switch-controlled submersible sump pump. Not too expensive and mighty convenient. It could empty through a clothes washer drain hose. They have a U at the end to hook into that 4-foot high wall drain pipe.
     
  13. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I recently picked up a discontinued utility sink complete with legs and faucet for about $30 at the local Big Box. It's around 2X2X1.5 Feet. I don't think you'll have much success draining into the wash drain without a pump though. The water has to be lifted around two feet to get to the drain. The five gallon bucket with a fountain pump should work but probably wont keep up if you're trying to wash with a constant flow.
    What about finding a sump pump on craigslist? just set it in the bottom of the sink & let it run.
    I use an upside down plastic milk crate to set a dishwash tub on. You could put a sump pump under a milk crate.
     
  14. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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  15. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Even though we aren't completely moved in yet, I already got a small stainless-steel bathroom sink on craigslist, with one of the high-looping faucets that you can easily stick stuff under. I also bought all the plumbing I should need to directly drain it into the drain and some 2x2s to build a frame for it. Since it's fairly shallow it will only end up about 6-inches higher than a typical bathroom sink, which is too short and makes you lean over anyway IMO. I'll post pictures eventually.
     
  16. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    I built a portable plumbing unit including a variable temp shower valve using copper tubing and solder. There was a thermometer attachment used to be sold in photo stores that took a dial thermometer. All I have to do is pound a nail in the wall in the right place to hang it up, connect it to the outlets with laundry hoses, and turn it on. I had great temperature controlled water. I used ball valves for hot, cold, and tempered water. If I need to move, I undo the hoses, drain it, and put it in a box.

    It looks like a strange musical instrument, but works great.

    Oh yes, for a drain, I got a switch at Sears (I don't know what you would find there today) that had a switch controlled by a float. I happened to have a pump. The water drained into a five gallon plastic bucket, and when that got full the pump turned on.
     
  17. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Did you find the shower valve "precise" enough? I.E. could you alter the temp in 1 or 2 degree increments?
     
  18. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    I could do c41 and e6 with it - until the hot water started to run out, that is. Watch out for other people using the water, though; that can effect the temp.

    It isn't as good as the Wing Lynch unit, or that other one that some apug folks are using -- the computerized ones -- but it beats two faucets with a big stick. It is plenty good enough for black and white processes.
     
  19. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I installed the sink temporarily last night. Since my faucet is only a cold-water faucet and I have a tee-fitting running to both hot and cold water, I stuck my digital thermometer in the running water and adjusted the two source spigots for a steady 21C. I'll have to see how consistent that is. Although I will be using my 5-gallon container of room temperature deionized water for development anyway.
     
  20. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    If that's a little too high to be comfortable, you might be able to use a high stool or chair (like a bar stool) to help matters.
     
  21. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    It's not bad at all. Since I'm 6 feet tall, I like it better than a 'normal' sink height.