UK darkroom water heater choice???

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Leon, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I am looking at different water heaters to supply my darkroom ... I have ruled out connecting to the house gas hot water system because of the extra water heating costs. So i have settled on a mains water supplied instantaneous electric type - either a shower unit or a handwash heater (like the type occasionally seen in public conveniences or workplace type wash basins).

    Wiring in a shower unit seems to be relatively complicated for me in that I have no extra space for new residual current breakers in my fuse box, so will need to get the electricity board out to fit new stuff all costing +++£££! So, i need to know whether I "need" to have a similar set up with a hand wash type water heater? I cant find any info about fitting these.

    How have other darkroom owners supplied heated water to their darkrooms?
     
  2. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    As a veteran of many "dry" darkrooms, the first question to ask is how much water do you want to bring up to (or maybe down to) 20-22 C? (Are you washing prints, with this water, or just need it to fill the holding tray"? Second question is the temperature of this water and your darkroom. These are the two key questions you need to know before you can decide on (if) how you want to heat the water in your darkroom.

    For many years the wife let me wash prints in the kitchen sink after I processed in my dry darkroom. I re-used gallon milk jugs filled with tap water for the dark room. Kept the darkroom at a reasonable temperature and never had to worry about temperature.

    When I did have to adjust for small temperature ranges, I relied a the plastic ziplock back filled with either hot water or ice cubes.
     
  3. Leon

    Leon Member

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    Hi Joe - I have infact answered my own question and found out that a 3kw hand wash type heater can be connected to a normal mains supply with an appropriate fuse and switch. I will be washing prints in the darkroom, and with summer main-supply water temps at about 16 degrees and dropping in the winter, i definately do need something to heat it up.

    so it looks like a 3 kw hand heater is the way to go, my only concern being that it isnt really designed for prolonged use, only quick bursts, so this may be a problem???
     
  4. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    The water out of the tap at this end of the country is even colder than yours in Kent and years ago I investigated the possibilty of installing the type of heater you mention and it was not going to work for continuous running as required to wash prints. I use a pre wash then hypo clear followed by a 40 minute wash in running water but in the winter I extend the time to 1 hour. So far I've not had a print stain on me due to insufficient washing.
     
  5. Leon

    Leon Member

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    thanks Les - do you mean you wash with unheated mains tap water? that would certainly help me out a great deal if that is so (and save me a fair bit of cash) :smile:
     
  6. photomc

    photomc Member

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    You know if we could just mix the water there, with the water here we would all have what we want. :tongue:
     
  7. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Leon,

    Yes I wash with unheated water straight from the tap although it is not mains our water supply is from a spring.
     
  8. Stan. L-B

    Stan. L-B Member

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    Hi Leon.

    Have no fears. I have been using a 'Redring' hand wash water heater for a few years now with no problem.
    I can even adjust the temp to within a degree for washing B&W and E6 and C41 by marking the control arm against the case of the heater. Also, I have installed a filter in the system. Used in conjunction with my Jobo CPP2, it is a perfect combination.

    You will not need to get the elecrical board in to install, as the system is designed to work off a 13amp domestic outlet socket. As far as a circuit breaker is concerned that too is no problem as you can buy a breaker that also serves as an outlet for the heater. Any other problems just shout....
     
  9. Leon

    Leon Member

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    now I'm in a quandry ... I want to save as much money as I can, and not having extra on my electricity bill would be good, but then again, I'm worried about over using water (it not metered here, but I am doing my best to be as environmentally aware as I can) and a heated supply would certainly cut down washing times (even more so with HCA) .... thanks for the help though everyone.

    I think I'll try cold first, I can always fit a hand washer heater in the future if I have any problems.
     
  10. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Thank You Leon for this thread. Long ago when I first got into photography we were very careful about the temps when we processed our prints. The last 8 years that I have been back at it again, I was told in classes at the college that the temp was of no importance when printing. So I guess my question would be how critical is the temperature when processing and washing your prints. That is for B&W, I know color is very important.
     
  11. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I don’t think the water temperature for print washing is too important provided it dosn't come out of the tap in lumps. I read somewhere that if it is below 15°C then it may take a little longer to wash, but given the very small flow rates required for washing, that should not be a problem. However you will need a heated supply for tempering water for chemical preparation and film washing so the instant water heater should be ok. I’m at a similar stage with plans for my own darkroom, so please pass on any thoughts. This evening I signed up a ground worker to clear the site, so maybe I will finish by Christmas?? :D
     
  12. Leon

    Leon Member

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    thanks Dave ... i have a thermostatic tray warmer that I will use for chemicals in trays, and I will prepare a load of water from the hot tap indoors for when I develop films (I do that indoors anyway so it's only a matter of carrying the bowl 3 steps from the front door to the out-house - no probs!).

    I'm just waiting on the plumber to run water in and take drainage out, and the window fitters to replace the rotten frames then I am away. I have already fitted the sink ( a huge affair that I got for £16 on ebay - god bless the digital revolution), worktops and units, drying racks and wall fitted the enlarger columns.
     
  13. Stan. L-B

    Stan. L-B Member

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    Hi Aggie.
    True, washes can be made well using just cold tap water for B&W prints and even film.
    But, where speed and efficiency are important factors it is best to use a washwater, at least the temp. of the developer for film and about five degrees warmer than the developer for supports, soft water will help considerably with a wash agent added.

    This is particularly important where the support is heavy grade fibre based.
    The reason is that: the warmer the wash, the more the pores of the sport will open to allow efficient dishcharge of chemicals, and even quicker with a rinse agent.

    It can be likened to us having a bath, where warm soft water will act more quickly on the pores of the skin, and even quicker with soap.

    But then you already knew that.....
     
  14. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    It sounds like you may be just a tad in front of me then. :sad:
     
  15. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Leon,

    It might be worth checking out what second-hand pro darkroom stuff Alex Falk at Mr CAD in Croydon has to offer. They are stowed to the roof with excellent abandoned lab equipment. I live in a converted darkroom sink with an E6 line to wash my smalls. Beats living in that old railway carriage on Faversham Creek any day. www.mrcad.co.uk

    Best,
    Helen
     
  16. Leon

    Leon Member

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    thanks Helen - Mr Cad is a VERY dangerous place ... an aladins cave full of childlike wonders and delights to tempt us right into our bank managers' bad books. I love it there but have been avoiding going up for fear of spending all the home-improvements budget.

    Did you really live in one of the carriages at Standard Quay? Until June, I lived next to the Rec. but have since moved to Chilham ... small world!

    This may be a familiar sight for you then ...
     
  17. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    ... well that side of it is not as familiar as the other side of it! (for non-locals: the old railway carriages are just on the other side of the Oyster Bay building)

    I didn't really live in one of the carriages, but I did have one for a few years and stayed in it when necessary. I thought about buying the water tower next to the station when it came up for sale a few years ago, and moving to Faversham permanently, but decided that it was a silly idea because of my nomadic habits. I miss my favourite two pubs of all time: the Ship and the Mounted Rifleman.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  18. Leon

    Leon Member

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    they've both been shut for a while now - sadly. Co-incidently, my great grandfather lived in one of the little 2 bed cottages in Conyer ... he used to walk to the Rifleman every friday night, and not return to his wife and 21 kids (yes ... 21!) until monday morning - sleeping in a ditch between opening times - so family legend has it. Not sure if I should be proud of my heritage or not :wink:

    I lived in the flint cottages just around the corner from the water tower ... an even smaller world!

    have you got any pics from when you were a Favvy?

    sorry - this thread has wandered way off topic
     
  19. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Just a little, but interesting just the same.