Temporary Darkroom Ventilation

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by shicks5319, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    Sandia Park,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Our guest bathroom doubles as my darkroom when we have no guests in town.

    Building codes here allow that if a bathroom has a window, ventilation is not required and this bathroom has none.

    My darkroom goes up and breaks down in a matter of 10 of 15 minutes and for the most part I am quite happy with how it functions; that is with the exception that I have yet to solve the ventilation problem. Long hours in the darkroom can get pretty stuffy.

    I am curious if there are any other "Temp" darkroom people out there that have found solutions to this issue. I have seen several posts here for the air filters, which so good, but I am looking for a solution that will exchange the air.

    I can not make holes in the walls. However, the door coming into this bathroom has a 1" gap at the bottom which I now stuff with towels to block light. I'm thinking an exhaust could be made to push air out this opening.

    Any thoughts people might have would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,919
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Does the window open in a way that you could put a darkroom fan or lightproof louvers on a removable board in it?
     
  3. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

    Messages:
    1,691
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Saratoga Spr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm inclined to agree with David. Get a piece of plywood the same width as the window, cut a hole in it and mount a fan. Open the window, slip the board into the opening, and then drop the window down on top of the board. You might need to add some strips of foam to get a good air seal. I would imagine that you would the fan blowing out - last time I was in New Mexico, it was pretty hot, and I would think you want to pull air out of the house into the darkroom/bathroom, and then exhaust it to the outdoors rather than pull hot air into the house.

    You probably also need to install a louver in the door to provide an inlet path - you can purchase louvers that have baffles for use in darkrooms, but it's just as simple to get a return air louver at the home center, mount it on the outside of the door, and then fabricate some kind of box baffle on the inside. In fact, if your door is a hollow core and if you are a little handy, you might be able to use the door itself as the baffle.
     
  4. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    Sandia Park,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    My earlier reply appears not to have posted.

    I really appreciated your taking the time to respond to this. What you are suggesting makes a great deal of sense. However, I am still looking for a portable fan that I can vent out under the door because:

    1. throwing air outside during the winter months will chill the house ( we live at 7000 feet and get cold winters)

    and

    2. The wife says "No holes in the door".

    In the mean time I am stuck with opening the door and venting out the room in between exposures etc.
     
  5. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,360
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I understand cold, but the only effective method to vent is to exhaust the air outside. Slow down the exhaust rate to minimized the cold intrusion into the house.

    If you have double-hung windows, the plywood sheet with fan is probably the best idea. But if your window design differs, you may need to replace the glass--use a smaller piece of plywood with a removable fan, and glass the remainder of the opening. You can always convert back.

    The idea of using the hollow core door as a baffle is pretty good. I did something similar to my interior wall, and it works great. Or, you might design a baffle-box to fit the gap under the door. You may have to slightly enlarge that gap, to allow balanced airflow for the exhaust fan.

    Darkroom ventilation is very important. My darkroom is a much nicer place after I worked out the ventilation.
     
  6. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you exhaust air from the bathroom in to the building, where is that air coming from? If it comes from the window then you are sucking cold air in to the bathroom and out into the house. If it comes from under the door, then you have no circulation as it comes in and goes straight back out again if your fan is at the same level.

    The only thing that seems to make sense in this case is to have ventilation at both the top and bottom of the door (I'd suggest air in at the top, out at the bottom so that the fresh incoming, air is at face level). Trouble is, how fresh is that incoming air going to be as you are simply pumping smelly air in to the whole house...

    As others have said, the only logical solution is to pump the air out the window. If you follow some of the low-odour suggestions on other threads, you will need very little forced ventilation in any case and opening the door when you don't need darkness may be sufficient as long as other residents do not mind the small odour that may ensue... I now have a spare room for my darkroom with two 6" fans for ventilation, but I used a bathroom for about a year with just a small fan (3") venting in to the roof space and the combination of low-odour chemicals and the small fan was sufficient as long as I didn't stay in there for more than an hour or so without a break (and I am quite sensitive to fixer odour - gives me a sore throat for days if I overdo it).

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  7. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

    Messages:
    223
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Location:
    Merchantvill
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They sell those stupid (ed. note: stupid b/c it encourages pets be left in cars) little car-window fans... perhaps something along those lines would work for you? May not be more than a couple exchanges per hour but can be low-cost, low-impact solution.

    -Brad
     
  8. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,720
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Vegas/myster
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    look at the little BlueBlower now for sale at Cosco....a very small portable 3 speed, incredibly powerful squirrel cage design fan,

    create positive air pressure in your darkroom area and room air will exhaust....
     
  9. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,684
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I think you may be somewhat more sensitive than most
    to the fumes some chemistries produce. I personally was
    not distressed but the odor permeated my home. For that
    and other reasons I switched to an odorless fumeless
    chemistry. Is your chemistry to blame? Dan
     
  10. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    Sandia Park,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thanks to all

    Sorry for not responding earlier.

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts. You have given me some ideas, which I will pursue for now.
     
  11. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,270
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Use the fan that ppl use to get rid of the smell. almost everyone has it
     
  12. kwmullet

    kwmullet Member

    Messages:
    889
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2004
    Location:
    Denton, TX,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey Steve!

    After the workshop, I too am doubly motivated to improve my darkroom situation.

    My last darkroom was a converted bathroom, and I just opened the window and nailed a piece of plywood to the outside of the window sill with an exhaust fan and a switch mounted in the middle, and a light-tight louvre mounted on the fan (calumet purchase... I'll post a pointer if someone asks). This affair just plugged into the wall outlet.

    With regard to the local "no holes in doors" policy, it occurs to me that sheetrock is much easier to patch than a hole in a door. Perhaps you could cut a hole between two studs, build (as I know you're really handy with wood) a small box into which you can mount a second light-tight louvre and all the air for your darkroom would be pulled from within the house, and exhausted out thorough the window. No direct air from the outside coming in. When you're not running the fan, just unplug it and close the window. Someday when you move, you'll have a few nail or screw holes to patch and paint over.


    best of luck, and thanks for all the coffee!

    -KwM-
     
  13. Max Power

    Max Power Member

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Location:
    Aylmer, QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As an additional comment,
    What I did in my DR was to take a regular bathroom fan and I built a plywood 'box' around it. I then wired in a switch and fed current through an extension cord. I then attached flexible dryer ducting to the outlet of the fan and ran that out of the darkroom. In this way, the fan is portable and can be placed virtually anywhere you need it to go. Join this with a piece of plywood in the window and you'd be all set.

    Kent
     
  14. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    A window air conditioner with thermostat woulf be ideal. It may cost little more than an exhaust fan for darkroom work.
     
  15. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,490
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Ask your wife how long she plans to keep this husband?

    If you like the answer, ask her if she would consider a temporary replacement door with two holes. One with a fan in it exhausting the air from the bottom of the room, one with a filter box to clean the air coming in the top part of the room while blocking light. Many people make the mistake of drawing the fumes out of the trays, past their nose and out. Then put a seal around all four sides to keep out the light, dust and maintain the flow through the holes. Ask her what color she would like the door painted. When you move to a bigger place with a real dark room put back the original door.

    John Powers
     
  16. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Would a standard bathroom ceiling exhaust fan work? Some can do pretty good volume, and have cubic volume exchange rates so you can figure minutes/complete air exchange. I'd also recommend looking for quieter models.

    Lee
     
  17. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    Sandia Park,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thanks to all

    Wow, I can't believe this thread came back to life. Lot's of good ideas here.

    Over the past year since I first asked the question, we have decided to move the darkroom out into my shop. Not quite there yet, but getting closer.

    New set up has ventilation built in. The next problem is the dust mitigation required. If it's not one thing it's another.

    Thanks to everyone responding.

    Steve Hicks
     
  18. kwmullet

    kwmullet Member

    Messages:
    889
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2004
    Location:
    Denton, TX,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format


    cool, steve. I didn't check the dates and assumed it was entirely a post-workshop thread.

    Makes sense to move your darkroom into your shop, what with all the contact printing frames and custom ULF cameras you'll be making. :wink:

    -KwM-
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Dear Steve,

    As a friend of mine said, the trouble was that the dust from his photography kept interfering with his woodwork...

    Any idea how long your branch of the Hicks family has been out there? Or why (hard rock mining was a popular reason)?

    Cheers,

    Roger W. Hicks
     
  20. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    Sandia Park,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Ah, the Hicks clan

    Roger,

    The Hicks clan that I can claim started with a John Hicks from someplace called Southwark, London England. He ultimately migrated to the Long Island area of New York in the 1630's were his quaker descendents were shipbuilders for gnerations there until my great uncle lost the family fortune in the crash of 1929. Many of us were woodworkers of some kind.

    Thankfully my dad fell in love with a Douglas, Arizona girl and they compromised on New Mexico.

    I have never imagined describing that to a photography forum, but hey anything possible these days. Anyway, you and I might be related.

    Then again, there really are only about 5000 people on this planet. The rest of us are just relations of one kind or another.
     
  21. shicks5319

    shicks5319 Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    Sandia Park,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format

    Thanks for the note. I'm pretty sure that woodworking and phtogragphy are strange companions in such close quarters, but it is interior space. I let you you know how it turns out.

    Steve