No floor drain for big sink, pumps?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Randy Moe, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Randy Moe

    Randy Moe Member

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    I have become tired of my tiny bathroom darkroom. Now I have 14 feet of sinks and the floor drain I was going to use is no good and not fixable. Any ideas how to handle large sinks in a condo. It's first floor, cement slab floor with only a bathroom and kitchen. I have been thinking holding tanks, pumps or draining through the wall into the bathtub. I am sure I am not the first with this problem.

    The neighbors and association are not a problem as the building is artist owned legal work/live space. 10 years ago the plumber 'forgot' to install my utility sink! I let it pass and now I am lost without it.
     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'm not an expert in any way, shape or form.

    But I do know some people have used the sorts of solutions that people use to put bathrooms and other plumbing in basements, when the sanitary drain for the building is higher than the level of the fixtures that needed draining.

    This may give you something of an idea: http://www.saniflo.ca/
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    There are many pumping options, often based on a submersible pump in a tank with a float switch. Goes under sink with drain via P-trap into top, pumps out to wherever. If you want to get heavy, you can buy a "masticating toilet" - same idea but it has a 4" infeed, chews up solids too and pumps it all out. If you go to a local plumbing showroom, they can probably demo a couple systems for you - it's a common problem for people with basements that are below their sewer lines.

    If you're using this for photo chemicals, you will need to ensure that the impeller and shaft are stainless steel or plastic; there cannot be brass ANYWHERE in the pump, including bushes. Brass is a commonly used material in pumps because it casts and machines so easily and is relatively corrosion-resistant... but diluted fixer from your wash-water (let alone if you discard fixer down the drain) will eat it.
     
  5. Trond

    Trond Subscriber

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  6. Randy Moe

    Randy Moe Member

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    Thanks for the brass warning.
     
  7. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If your darkroom will be on the other side of a wall between your bathroom or kitchen plumbing you should be able to tie into it. It's just a matter of opening the wall then making whatever mods in the existing plumbing that are needed.

    A hole through the wall with a drain empying into the bathtub isn't such a good idea. For one thing, it will stain the bathtub. For another, the chemistry may eat the drain assembly (DAHIK), plus it's probably a huge violation of plumbing codes.
    You may want to get a plumber in to help you come up with a plan, if it's stuff you are able to DIY, great, if not you can pay him for the stuff that requires professional work and do whatever else you are comfortable with taking on.

    Even though your owner's association is ok with what you would like to do, you want to keep things legal according to your building codes, otherwise you may get into insurance liability problems if something bad happens, or you may have problems if you want to sell the place in the future. Not to mention that the codes establish a minimum standard for your health and safety, there's a lot of stuff in your plumbing that you don't want loose:wink:.

    Too bad about the floor drain, they are really handy in a DR.
     
  8. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    My two sinks currently drain into five gallons buckets, until further notice. I usually only need empty them once per printing session. Not ideal, but not nearly as challenging as the lack of a sink.
     
  9. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    +1
     
  10. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Try taking a Shop Vac and sucking the dirt and crud out of the trap of the floor drain. Alternate between pouring water down the drain and sucking it back out with the wet vac. It is also possible that during construction concrete or grout went down the drain and plugged the trap. That is a harder fix.
     
  11. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    I built a darkroom lower than drain level and it was pretty easy to adapt a washing machine pump to remove the water if you match the bore of the pipe to what the pump can handle. You could add a switch in the system downstream of the 'U' bend to automatically turn the pump on when the water in the pipe gets to a certain level.

    Steve
     
  12. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I once rigged the wash outflow from a processing machine into a big plastic garbage can (Rubbermaid "Brute"). From there, a submersible sump pump was PVC-piped into the modified cleanout of a drainpipe. It was temporary, but it served flawlessly for a few months. The cleanout was several feet above the garbage can catch basin. The little sump pump was an amazing thing, very quick and powerful.

    Peter Gomena
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    In the same vein, aquarium and garden fountain pumps are often pretty cheap and capable of significant flow rates. You'll need a separate float valve to control them.

    Next step up is a 12V automatic bilge pump designed for boat use, the float valve is built in and you can clamp a corrugated plastic washing machine drain hose straight onto the outlet. Often designed for saltwater use, so they're all-plastic and should be safe for photochemistry.
     
  14. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    My darkroom is a converted bedroom, and there was no water or drainage in it originally. I had a plumber route hot and cold water into the room through copper pipe in the attic. He installed a drain pump under my sink. It's an electric sump pump in a sealed bucket that is actuated by a float, sort of like what Trond made, but more compact. I had them route the 1.5 inch effluent pipe into the wall under the sink between two studs and then up into the attic, across to the other side of the house, and down to the main drain stack by the washing machine. They had to dig down several feet under the foundation to tie in the drain so as to prevent any siphoning of sewage. I've been running that way now for 10 years or 12 years, with no problem.

    Installation wasn't cheap, but it was worth it.

    It is the Zoeller model 53, number 105-0010.
     
  15. Randy Moe

    Randy Moe Member

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    Thanks for all the ideas. I finally found a working drain under the water heater. I did not think it worked since AC condensation was leaking onto the floor and not down the hidden drain. I need a mirror to see it. Ran a garden hose down it for 2 hours and it seems to flow enough.