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  1. #11
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Silicon cat litter is also an excellent desiccant. I'm pretty sure it's the same stuff as the silicon desiccant used in little packets shipped with electronics and some foods, but comes in 5kg+ packs instead of a few grams.

  2. #12
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    Just lay tarps or painters cloth over anything you don't want damaged by condensation. I lived in northern Minnesota for many years and whenever my grandmother and grandfather left for the winter this is what they did. Nothing was ever damaged by condensation that I ever noticed and Grandpa had some nice old cameras as well as a darkroom in the basement (a moist spot if there ever was one.)

  3. #13

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    Another norther MN boy here too, and I'm with Pioneer. All you really have to worry about is the liquid. The transition in temperature will be slow enough inside a building that the the air will dry out as the temps go down. Also, condensation on the windows will take any excess humidity out of the air. Oh, and inside a structure, even without heat, will be 10 degrees or so warmer than outside.
    All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. Choose the one that has heart.

    Don Juan

  4. #14

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    NOthing to worry about, assuming the chemistry is all powder or dumped. I've worked in an abandoned grain elevator for the last few years (not my darkroom, but shooting in there), and with HUGE southern exposure and zero insulation the temperature changes extremely slowly. Like days where it changes 10% of the outdoor temps.

    It may stay much colder than outside after a prolonged cold spell, but any change will be so gradual that nothing will be bothered.

  5. #15

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    I wonder how my stores of Rodinal and Ilfochrome chemicals in plastic bottles will make out. And my Epson 4990 scanner. Wouldn't want to damage that.

  6. #16

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    Look at it this way. You have to do what you have to do. You wouldn't be asking this if you were a rich man. You have to chose priorities--what you can afford to lose if you had to, to take care of what must be managed. Shows personal responsibility to me, that you would even be trying to decide. But in the end, you know you have to turn off the juice and let the place freeze, and hope enough of it will be there when you get back. It probably will, for the most part. So just do it. Rodinal is nothing special. Ilfochrome chemistry is almost entirely worthless already, and a scanner is just a scanner--ebay is filled with millions of 'em. So what? Turn off the lights and walk away and forget about it entirely till you get back. Life's too short. To heck with it. Hope I've helped.

  7. #17

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    I appreciate the injection of philosophy into the question Tom, but I don't have to do what I have to do. I can make choices to do and not do things that minimize my exposure to damages=financial loss that I can't afford. If I could, I'd just fill the fuel oil tank and keep my house heated while I'm gone. There are hundreds of things in my house I'm not worrying about and only a dozen or so that I am.

  8. #18

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    Condensation = rust. Machinists worry about this sort of thing when they have tools in unheated garages.

    Lubricant chemistry could be affected and you could contribute to oil leaching from grease when it thaws.

    Expansion coefficients as mentioned could move precision elements, grease (again).
    "If its not broken, I can't afford it."

  9. #19

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    I frequent a resort area in northern Michigan where there are many summer cottages that are not winterized and left cold for the winter months. Damage appears minimal to me, but most of these are cottages with wood interiors, not drywall. If your home is constructed with drywall, I would worry about moisture damaging your walls. I believe your darkroom equipment would fare ok in the cold.

  10. #20
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    Oh come on folks. Have any of you actually been in an unheated house when it is 20 or 30 below? Condensation? From what or where? Did you burst a water line? Is the roof leaking? Unless someone or something is creating warm moisture inside the house to condense on things, there won't be any.

    Garages, maybe. Mostly because they are usually unsealed and so moisture more readily moves from outside to inside and temperature varies a little more. But even there in the deep of winter it would be unusual if there is nothing to create that moisture in the first place. Do you park your car in the garage in the winter? Why? Besides keeping snow off your car, it is because you don't have to scrape any frost of your windshield before you leave for work in the morning!

    Barns, yeah. But only if you have animals that are breathing warm moist air.

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