Hard Water - Problem ?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by thefizz, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I live in an area which has very hard water and I am wondering if this has any bad affects on film & print developing, fixing etc. I can get a water purifying tap which has a Katadyn filter but I am not sure it is necessary. Its mainly designed to improve your drinking water.

    Any thoughts?

    Peter
     
  2. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    We have the same problem where I live. Tucson is called "the kidney stone capital of the west" by some here. What I've done is use distilled water for mixing my developer solutions for film and final rinse in photo flo. Everything else gets tap water with a simple Britta filter from a home supply. I mix developer with water from a water station close to home, which is cheaper than distilled from a grocery store at about US $.35 a gallon. I keep a jug handy when doing film because all of my numbers have been worked out with this method.

    If your local water quality changes from time to time during the year, has some iron from water or old pipes or just isn't consistent, your film may show changes you can't control. For me it is cheap insurance to know that I am making the mistakes on my own. tim
     
  3. gchpaco

    gchpaco Member

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    The water here is very hard--I get white deposits on the insides of pots that I boil water in. I use distilled water for developers and for an afterbath for the film or I get deposits; simple as that. But I've been doing okay with tap water for fixer and stop and even washing as long as I finish with distilled.
     
  4. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    I didn't know what hard water was until I spent a decade in Paris, where you can see the calcium precipitating out in a glass of drinking water. After my first couple rolls of film covered with calcium flecks, I did two things that cured the problem.

    1. Got an in-line filter on my darkroom faucets--the tall ones with the screww-off bottom so that you can replace the inserts which looked like elongated rolls of twine). I replaced the inserts about once a year.

    2. Gave all my film a final rinse in water that contained some water-softening crystals along with Photo-flo. I could re-use this for quite some time because it wasn't the wash water, just a place to give the reels a final dunk before hanging them up to dry and "squeegeeing" them with two fingers also dipped in the softened water.

    Never had any problems after that.

    Larry
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The only real problem is the final wash. Everything else can handle the minerals. Commerical mixed developers get stuf like calgon added to deal with what's in the water.

    I use distilled water for colour chemicals but that's mostly because I don't trust the keeping quality of that stuff so anything I can do to make it last longer I try.
     
  6. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Yes, but if you mix your own from scratch and it has a carbonate in it, it's going to precipitate out the calcium and magnesium that are in the hard water. Borax and TEA do not have that problem, but sometimes you need the extra pH. To get the extra pH, you can use various combinations of NaOH and borax.
    In the summer here the humidity is quit high, so I have a dehumidifier that produces copious quantities of mineral free rain water.
    I don't think Calgon works like it used to, now that it does not have phosphorus in it. Tetra sodium EDTA works.
     
  7. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I live in a hard water area. When I first started processing my own film I ended up with calcium flecks all over my film. I now mix all processing water to temperature in the sink, then put it through a Britta jug filter.

    It takes a while and make processing the film (even more of) a chore, but no more flecks.
     
  8. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for your help.

    Peter
     
  9. hortense

    hortense Member

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    I have very hard water; use it for everything including developers; no problem. However, my vertical washer needs to periodically have the upper vertical plate clean where evaporation take place.
     
  10. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    We have very hard water, as I found out when our new dishwasher quit working within 9 months of being installed. At that time I had problems with strange marks on the surface of my prints. After I put in a water softener, these marks went away.

    -Peter
    www.desmidt.net
     
  11. Will S

    Will S Member

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    I am right in thinking that a water softener system would alleviate this issue? Or should you use distilled water or humidifier water anyway for mixing chemicals?

    Thanks,

    Will
     
  12. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    A true water softener system will remove that problem. If it were my system, I would use the softened water for photography and laundry, but use the hard water for drinking. The frequency of heart problems is lower in hard water areas, and some softeners leave sodium in the water, which may be bad for those with existing heart problems. Needless to say, get advice from a true expert in case of doubt.
     
  13. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I'm considering the purchase of a small counter top distiller; apx. $100.
    I've very hard water and use distilled for processing, start to finish. Also
    for all drinking; coffee, orange juice. Dan