Dealing with dust
I recently moved from a house with a nice darkroom in the basement to an apartment where I am converting one of the bedrooms into a darkroom / guestroom. The basement darkroom was pretty dust free and I could hang negatives to dry out in the open and never had a problem with dust spots on my prints. The apartment is a completely different matter, dust everywhere. Don't know where it comes from but there is a significant amount of dust on the equipment one week after cleaning. One problem seems to be the furnace filter. Looked like it was never changed when we moved in, and I have been changing frequently to try and improve matters. It helps, but not a lot. I should also mention that I have 2 cats that add their fur to the room.
Once my son returns to college in the fall, I plan on bringing the darkroom fully on-line, and was wondering if any of you have had a similar solution and how you dealt with it. One thing I will do is a thorough cleaning, then keep the door closed to the room and install some sort of filter on the heating / AC duct running into the room. Not sure if a simple furnace type filter is a good idea as I don't want to significantly restrict the heat / cool air coming through the duct. The other thing I was wondering about is an in-room dust reduction filter (something with a fan) to further reduce the dust. Have any of you tried these and if so, could you recommend a good unit. Any other things I should consider?
Your help is greatly appreciated.
You know.... you are breathing in that much dust yourself! How about having your HVAC system professionally cleaned first? Do you own the apartment? Do you rent? Either way,it doesn't sound healthy!
Of course you are right on that one. As I mentioned I have been changing the filter and I wanted to monitor the dust to see if that brings the level down. We have lived here 2 weeks now and the 1st week was not good, but the second is better but still high. The heat wave has passed for now, so the AC is off and I can see how much dust is in the ambient air. In a week, the AC will probably go back on given the forecast and I will get another data point. If not to normal in another couple of weeks, I will do as you suggest.
Even so, there is still much more dust than I had to deal with in my previous darkroom and I can still see dust as being a problem that I will have to deal with. Would have been true in my previous homes as well if I had the darkroom upstairs. The cats (both long hair) are enough pf a problem, darkroom wise, on their own.
Maybe you can hang your negatives in closed cabinet or shower cabin? There are some portable cheap cabinet (for example in ikea) made from nylon hanged on metal construction.
If possible do it in night time when there is no big movement in the apartment.
It will only work for drying prints and negatives but there's something called portable closet. It's basically a vinyl or cloth walled cabinet on a wheel. It's not expensive. If you go to amazon and search on "portable closet", you'll find a bunch. Personally, I do not use these but it has been suggested here on APUG many times as solution to avoiding dust on negatives when drying.
Maybe it'll help you to solve some of your problems.
I achieved a significant reduction in dust problems during drying by using a zipper-closable clothes hanger bag that's about 16" wide, 18" deep, and about 54" long when hanging. I rigged something out of hard cardboard to give the hanger bag permanent shape. It takes a little longer to dry than in open air, but beat the heck out of the cost of a drying cabinet.
Get rid of carpets, rugs and soft furnishings in that room. If necessary, you could cover any guest-bed etc. with polythene sheet, to floor level, to stop that source of dust. Use dustcovers on the enlarger etc.
Keep out cats and filter any incoming air. A desktop air-filter is cheap and can be left to circulate/clean for a day or so. After any regular cleaning, wait a day for any disturbed dust to settle again before printing. The film-drying cabinet idea is useful, or you can make something from foamboard and polythene sheet for a more collapsible alternative which can fit the 64" length of a roll of 135 (most of the fold-up temporary wardrobes I have looked at are too short).
Isn't most house dust made of dead human cells? This could suggest that you are currently breathing in the remains of the previous occupants, repeatedly. What fun . . .
Thanks for the great info... I can see taking one of these and putting a high grade filter on the top and a small fan to pull the air out at the bottom. Might be overkill, but could be helpful. Another, more expensive, option that I saw looking at the web is a whole room air purifier. Kinda pricy but this would allow all of my equipment to be subjected to much less dust... and I can use it when I move into my permanent darkroom once we move.
I also saw these:
Anyone use either of these options?
Use a fan to draw outside air through a good quality furnace filter. The air gets "forced" into the room creating positive pressure and therefore it won't allow dust to be drawn back into the room. The fan does not need to be powerful, all you are doing is creating positive pressure. Disclaimer: I have never used that method, I read it in a forum many years ago and some of the fellows that used it reported very positive results. I hope that helps.
All the cats I've owned have had a common desire in life - to be allowed in the darkroom and they never have been! While you can do a pretty good job of dust proofing a room that is a dedicated darkroom it is much harder in a room that has to do service as something else, even it's just storage of surplus household goods. A double door light trap, if you have the room, also keeps out a lot of dust as does air conditioning of the type that introduces fresh air (most split systems only recirculate) using the same air pressure effect mentioned by another poster. In the end, unless you build a clean room and suit-up appropriately to work in there, there will always be times when dust will spoil a print or two. Good reason to learn spotting. OzJohn