Unbelievable darkroom improvement.!!

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by dpurdy, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I spend an awful lot of time in my basement darkroom and it takes a tremendous amount of electric space heater use to get the temp up to 60F. Or I could run the gas furnace and heat the whole unoccupied house at an astronomical cost. This morning as I went to work the temp down there was 52 degrees F. Long johns, fingerless gloves, tuke and jacket. But a friend dropped by with a propane heater he isn't using and the thing is fantastic. A heating element about the size of a tea saucer and it cranks out the heat like you wouldn't believe and it burns at a color that looks about like my safe light. I am in heat heaven and may not come out of the darkroom till Spring. I will see how much it costs to get new cans of gas but my friend assures me it will be less than 20 bucks a month.

    Dennis
    Yes I have good ventilation.
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,075
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Yes, please don't kill yourself. Get a monoxide detector, just to be on the safe side. Keep in mind that you now have a source of ignition in your darkroom, that can ignite combustibles, and combustible vapors. I also wonder what compounds are being formed by the combustion of small amounts of darkroom vapors, but IDK.
     
  3. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    A monoxide detector sounds like a good idea. I will look into that. My basement is so drafty and I have a great fan over the sink and I keep the whole basement dark so I am not closed into a small room so I think it might not be too dangerous but if I feel like laying down on the floor and going to sleep I will drag myself over and turn the thing off.
    DP
     
  4. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    If the heat stays so does the CO :smile:
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,075
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    CO poisoning doesn't always work like that. Many a mechanic has been found slumped dead over a running engine, screwdriver in hand, with an open garage door. All it takes is the right atmospheric condition.

    I'm not a safety nazi, but please be careful, and err on cautions side with this stuff.
     
  6. Terence

    Terence Member

    Messages:
    1,346
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Make sure to get a battery powered detector and test the battery often.

    The ones that are just little strips that detect CO are not so great. You'll notice them change color just as you pass out, fall to the floor and die.

    Be VERY careful. Make sure the heating unit is one rated for ventless indoor use.

    Using a propane heater not rated as such, in an unvented, indoor area is not a great idea. Even when they are burning efficiently, they consume the oxygen. Without a sufficent air supply and sufficient exhaust (both of which are not small), you can run into problems fast. A typical darkroom exhaust fan will not be sufficient. On our jobsites, we often have problems, and that is just with leaky tarps as an enclosure.
     
  7. wildbill

    wildbill Member

    Messages:
    2,851
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You can get an adapter to go from the little canisters to a 20lb barbecue style tank. I think coleman makes them.
     
  8. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I have the large size can but HA HA the joke is on me. Even at 12 feet away it is way too bright. A nice zone 6 fog on the paper in 2 minutes. I am going to have to keep it around the corner pointed the other way. I'll check into a monozide sensor today.
     
  9. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,678
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have the same problem, but a different solution. I have an ancient mounting press and I realized that it is a pretty darn good heater. A little tape over the green light and I'm set. I can't imagine wearing out the coils given how much I use it. It doesn't get the place real warm, but a few degrees makes a big difference.
     
  10. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    SERIOUSLY BAD IDEA ALERT

    It took less than an hour to develop a nasty headache even with the heater in the next room and the wall fan running. Better to buy more long johns than to collapse and die in the developer tray.

    I better start this year over.
    Dennis
     
  11. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,560
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    911 what's your emergency, I cannnn't wake himmmmm...... He was printing......Printing??????......yes printing and heee isn't breathing........ Is he using Dektol diluted 1:1 or 1:2????????? I think he is using Selectol....... OK help is on the way...... Mam the camera shop doesn't answer.......... Will you just wait there????????? Yes, it's nice and warm now that the propane heater is going but it's almost out of gas........


    Seriously, don't heat with a propane heater in your basement. I worked in an ER in Seattle and saw first hand what carbon monoxide poisoning can do. It's a terrible scene when a family comes in and most of them die right there. It's not worth it, I am so glad that you posted this, and I don't want to preach to you but it can happen so fast that you won't even have a clue until you wake up in the hyperbaric chamber or end up on a vent in some ICU with no brain function left and the family there deciding what to do. The cheap cost of a gas heater isn't worth a darn if you aren't here to post with us.

    Curt
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,824
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Maybe a moderator can change the title to this thread to "Unbelievably Dangerous Darkroom Improvement"

    Matt
     
  13. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    Lehi, Utah
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    My darkroom is the same 52F. Go figure. I have elected to heat with a large (12,000 BTU) space heater. I have 800 sq feet and it is good to go in about an hour. In 2 hours, it is up to 72F. This includes what the exhaust fan draws off as I work. I have plugged it into a 220VAC outlet and swap it with my UV light source as it generates all sorts of heat itself. :smile:

    As for the summer, I have installed an AC unit as well. I picked one up at Costco and I vent the hot air from the compressor outside. Does a pretty fair job as well. It only get's up to about 78F, but I have a bit of paper and film I keep in there as well and would like to keep it cool.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,202
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have a confession to make. I did sometimes wonder if the U.S. APUGers weren't just a little overly concerned with health and safety issues but not this time. I had a tiny propane gas heater, originally not properly flued to the outside in a fairly large caravan. I tried it before setting off for a short period with a window open and it was clear to me that it just wasn't safe.

    Unless it is properly flued to the outside and you have carbon monoxide detectors as well I think this could be very dangerous, given the time you'll be in there and your isolation.

    At least get a qualified gas engineer to look at everything.

    pentaxuser
     
  16. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format

    Yes. Combustible heaters, without chimneys or dedicated exhaust tubes that run outside, aren't meant for indoor use. They consume oxygen and they output toxic gas. The heat is basically the same as the exhaust (simplification, but effectively true), so if you have adequate ventilation you won't stay warm and the whole schebang is pointless.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2008
  17. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

    Messages:
    1,888
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Blue Ridge,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Man, I'm glad that guy survived his experiment, and recognized his headache for what it was. Any kind of fuel burning heater must not be used unvented indoors unless it is specifically made for that purpose (and even then I'd be suspicious.) As well as being odorless and colorless, carbon monoxide has an anesthetizing effect while it it poisoning you. It makes you feel like you just want to take a nice little nap, and next thing you know you wake up dead.

    I fought the same cold winter basement darkroom fight. My problem is mostly solved with a very small wired-in 220VAC electric baseboard heater, finished off with a really cool temperature controlled water bath for my developer tray to sit in.

    Dan
     
  18. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    For a cheap heater to use in a small room use a hair drier. They also make good emergency heaters for kids rooms when the central heater stops working. In your case you'll probably need to make sure it isn't on when developing or enlarging as the heater coils are usually in the end of the tube, other wise there are plug in wall timers that can set them off at intervals. Best to put on a non-flammable surface and set to low if sleeping. Some are quite powerful so look for a larger one if heating a cold room like yours.
     
  19. CBG

    CBG Member

    Messages:
    894
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just bought a little oil filled electric heater for our second bathroom. It appears safe and throws a ton of heat. I was surprised at how warm the space got after a while.

    C
     
  20. Markus Albertz

    Markus Albertz Member

    Messages:
    117
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format

    I also recommend getting an oil-filled radiator heater. They sell for around 30 to 60 USD, heat up quickly, include a thermostat, and keep warm for a long while. I have used one during my Nova Scotia days and was very happy with it. No increase in electricity consumption detected... Regards, Markus Albertz
     
  21. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

    Messages:
    2,411
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Van Buren, A
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    There are Kerosene heaters that are designed as room heaters..as well as if you have natural gas service you could install a "blue flame" type of gas space heater that has built-in sensors for oxygen depletion..shuts the heater down if oxygen gets below a certain level. I used one of those round wick cylindrical style Kerosene heaters in my garage for years. The garage is not air-tight due to big garage doors at either end that are leaky..but the Kerosene heater put out plenty of heat...multiple times more heat than any electric heater. I wonder what makes a propane heater so much more dangerous??
     
  22. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Yeah, those are really great. There's a 1500W limit (at least in my part of Canada) on 110V AC heaters (because most household circuits are rated to only 15 amps), but for some reason the 1500W oil-filled radiators seem more effective than the fan-coil heaters despite the same power consumption.

    I had one that a friend gave me for free and it took awhile to warm up but was incredibly effective once it got going; unfortunately it conked out after a few cold nights. Just bad luck I guess.
     
  23. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Can't believe you need heat in Portland. But if you do, I second the oil radiator - quiet, no dust, pleasant heat.

    Also, you might add one or two of these radiant floor mats:

    http://cozywinters.com/shop/tfw.html

    The mats can have a rubber smell which dissipates with time.
     
  24. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
  25. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

    Messages:
    2,936
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    Misissauaga
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    another heating idea

    I have a cool darkroom too - but not quite as chilly as yours. Mine gets doiwn to about 17C over the winter. The up side is that mixed stock solutions last for a long time before they oxidize off when kept so cool. Paper does not go back in the fridge every night, like in the summer, either. I have an old microwave oven near the darkroom , next door on a shelf in the laundry. When starting a session, or when a tray gets too cool, I just pop the storage jug or even a small tray of chemistry into the microwave for a half a minute or so. and we are ready to print again.
     
  26. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Amen!

    I am an engineer and works in the energy industry and am thankful that the originator of this post brought this subject up so we could properly diffuse the ignorant assumption that a combustion heater can be used indoors with proper ventilation. Absolutely NO under ANY circumstances. We all want every photographer to be safe and alive so please give the propane heater back to your friend and use a safe alternative.

    With high energy prices hundreds of people lose their lives each year to this form of carbon monoxide poisioning in their desire to stay warm and it is most unfortunate in the information age we currently live in. Ignorance is no excuse.