Fridge/Freeze Guidance

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by nbagno, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. nbagno

    nbagno Subscriber

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    Looking for a small refrigerator/freezer (I think). I want to keep both chemistry and film as fresh as possible. Looking for a garage unit that' not to big. Any specific guidance?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  2. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    There are "apartment" size fridges, they are smaller than the standard home fridge.
    But you have to hunt for them.
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you intend to keep large printing paper in the refrigerator or freezer, it is important to have the dimensions of the boxes in mind when you evaluate the internal dimensions of the units you are considering.

    So called "frost free" units bring rise to some concerns, as they use warming cycles to deal with the frost.
     
  4. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Garage? Use a chest freezer of whatever size you prefer. You'll have it filled in a week.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I have a 14 cubic foot chest freezer in my basement filled with film and paper.
     
  6. nbagno

    nbagno Subscriber

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    I won't have any paper to keep, just color/b&w chemicals and film. So film in the freezer chemicals in the fridge right? Good point about the defrost feature, just the reason I asked this question. Sound's like I should just get a normal freezer/fridge, they are cheap enough on craigs list.
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    It is my understanding that liquid chemicals should NOT be kept in an refrigerator as component may separate out.... I don't know about powdered ones.

    Personally, I keep film and paper in fridge but not chemicals - liquid or powder.
     
  8. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    If you are planning to stockpile film or paper and hold it for years, you want a freezer (chest type, because they tend to be more efficient and over time the electricity cost adds up). If you just want to make sure that your stock doesn't degrade before you can use it, a refrigerator is fine, and you will not have to plan so far ahead when you want to bring something out and use it.

    From experience, I would recommend sealing anything intended for freezer storage in an airtight package. Not that the air is an issue, but when the inevitable freezer failure, power loss, or accidental-door-left-ajar event comes along, melting frost and condensation will be kept away from the material. For anything that will fit, a vacuum/heat seal food packaging appliance is great. (I still haven't found a really good solution for 11x14 film and paper boxes, so maybe an industrial-size bag sealer is something to consider.)

    Regarding chemicals (b/w only, in my case) I have never had a problem with degradation that wasn't connected to air exposure. The backyard darkroom gets into the Fahrenheit mid-90s on hot days, but I have to keep it warm during the winter lest I go out to work and find crystals in the bottoms of the Dektol and fixer bottles.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Yes
     
  10. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Nope, get a chest freezer - like the kind your parents may have stored meat in. The defrost cycle is not really as big a concern as people make it out to be.

    I also keep chemicals outside of the freezer or fridge, but powders should be fine frozen. There's no water involved and they're already solid, so I can't really see how freezing would harm the chemical makeup of things. That being said, most powders are nitrogen sealed from the factory and aren't really going to do much on their own unfrozen as it is.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I agree.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    don't waste your time with chemistry in the fridge.
    you can easily make a water jacket ( a tray with cold or hot water in it to raise the temp of your chemistry )
    a chest freezer is good, greybeard speaks wisdom
     
  13. Clovis Blevins

    Clovis Blevins Member

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    Many upright freezers are frost-free. Most chest freezers are manual defrost. Self-defrosting models circulate air through a box where a refrigeration evaporator is mounted. The frost builds up on the fins of the evaporator and this is melted off by heating the box with a small electric heating element, usually every 12 hours, while the refrigeration compressor is not running. Only the evaporator is heated, not the contents of the interior.

    However, most chest freezers have coils of refrigeration tubing routed all over the interior surface of the food box. The only provision to defrost these is a drain plug in the bottom. You turn them off for a day and let the ice melt. If you are in a humid environment and you open one of these freezers often, you'll be removing the contents and manually defrosting every few months. What would be really sad is if you had an extended power outage while away and came back to find photo materials soaked to the bone then frozen in a solid block when the power came back on. That exact scenario happened to the father in law during Sandy recently and ruined a grand in paper - most not replaceable since Kodak discontinued those lines.
     
  14. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    That is why I have a frost free refrigerator freezer in which I keep the film and paper.

    Do not bother with the chemicals in the refrigerator. But do keep the chemical bottles in a bucket or pan because at some time the choose to leak.
     
  15. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Do NOT store solutions in the frig. This can cause various chemicals to crystalize out. When this happens they can be very difficult to put back in solution. I repeat no solutions in the frig.

    In the frig film should be stored at 0C to 4C. This is the usual temperature recommended for food storage. For more permanent storage film should be stored in a freezer at -10C. Get a refrigerator thermometer to check temperatures.
     
  16. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I bought an upright freezer, a small one, from Sears last year, and store film in it. My main kitchen fridge/freezer has the freezer on the bottom, where you have to bend over and pull frozen items in and out to uncover what you want, so I appreciate the fact that in my film freezer I have four or five shelves that make it much easier to find what I want. I've triaged my film according to size (35mm, 120, 220), color or B/W, or bulk rolls, and keep it all in quality freezer bags. So I can pull out a bag and quickly find the Agfa 50 slide film or a roll of APX100. I do have a bit of frost on the shelves, but I've not yet had to defrost the unit.
     
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I do too.
     
  18. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have an upright freezer in my garage, almost stuffed with film and paper. I say almost, because I keep the bottom drawer for longer term storage food items, like summer picked berries, etc.

    If the power fails in this sort of freezer, any frost accumulation on the shelves, where the chiller pipe sections are, will melt, lightly wetting the stuff on the shlef below it, and then will gradually migrate to the bottom of the freezer, where my plastic bags of food will see the outside wetted.

    I have a pal with a chest freezer where the power got pulled accidentlally over one weekend, and noticed mid week. I just bought the last of his stocks, since he has stepped to the dark side. All of the packages were stacked veritcally, and all smell of off beef juices. Fortunately I had enough spare empty paper envelopes and boxes to toss all of the fouled outer paper packaging.

    Power wise, I am mid way though a study of where the power we consumes goes in our house. I now know that my upright freezer takes 1.3 kWh per day when the door is not openned.
    That is over some of the hottest weather we typically see in the summer that we experienced last week.
    I typically only open the door once every few weeks, usually in the winter. Too much to do in the summer to pull paper to print all the time .

    Where I live, for a good part of the winter the compressor does not run much at all, becuase the garage is typically a few degrees below freezing between mid December and mid March. .
     
  19. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I take it you got a great deal on his stocks of Kodak Tri-Tip 400 though?

    (don't hurt me guys, its Friday)