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  1. #1

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    Darkroom ventilation how-to

    Hi All,
    I will be doing a sort of redisign of my small (approx 1,5 x 3 meters) darkroom space on the occasion of getting in a new enlarger (Durst 138) and I thought it would be a good opportunity to install some kind of ventilation as well. Now, the room is located in the basement, the door leads to the staircase and there is a small window out.
    Until now I have been working without a ventilator but opening the window now and then to get some fresh air (I work mostly in the night, once the kids are asleep).

    The outer walls are pretty thick and strong (reinforced concrete...) and I cannot see drilling a hole there. My first idea was just to install a small fan ON the door to simply force some fresh air INTO the darkroom. Would that be enough or do I need also to find a solution for another ventilator sucking the air out? (the only idea I can think of is either drilling a hole in the glass or blocking the window from the outer side, putting the fan there and simply open the window...

    Any ideas would be most welcome.

    Thank you.
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  2. #2
    AgX
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    At least over here you can rent even machines with cylindrical diamond tipped drills. Thus making a nice hole in concrete seems within your reach, once you can get that room cleared before because of the mess (water spooling).

    Cutting a hole in the window pane seems another way to go. There are more.

  3. #3
    nsurit's Avatar
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    I would think you would need a fan sucking air out and on the opposite side of the room a vent allowing air to come in. My darkroom has three vents and an exhaust fan/hood. Bill Barber

  4. #4

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    You could make both an in and out vent on the door, with a small fan in the door (muffin fans are great) with a flexible duct running to the window to actively vent air out, and just a light proof vent in the door to passively admit fresh air.
    Nice work. You have a very talented computer.

  5. #5

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    You should have the exhaust drawing the chemical vapors away from you. For example in my darkroom the door vent and AC vents are behind me, the sink/trays are in front of me and the exhaust fan is above the sink/trays venting to outside the house.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  6. #6

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    If I understand correctly, you're 1.5x3 meter darkroom is within a larger room that has a window. Also, I assume that your darkroom is not used all that often (more than a few hours a week, spread over the week).

    While personally I don't think ventilation is necessary in most cases for a typical b/w darkroom (i.e. no odd chemicals), your darkroom is pretty small. So in your case it's probably wise.

    While you can drill a whole in concrete, I'd take a less intrusive approach. If you can (or want to) replace the window with a wood panel and install a vent great, otherwise:
    • Install an exhaust vent over the sink, using something like a bathroom exhaust fan. Exhaust into the larger basement.
    • Install an intake vent, with filter, opposite the sink.
    • When the darkroom is in use, use an exhaust fan in the window, like this.


    While not ideal, this should be simple and adequate.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  7. #7
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    My darkroom is also small - even smaller than yours! Ventilation is pretty important. Yes, you will need to suck out and have an air inlet. Ideally position these so that the airflow draws the tray fumes up and away from you. Small bathroom type extractor is adequate. Mine goes out through an external wall, and I found I had to make a light baffle over the fan or the light came back through - no big deal, just a bit of cardboard! My inlet is a hole to an adjoining room behind the bench that the enlarger sits on.

  8. #8

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    My last darkroom was in a basement, and what I did for ventilation was to modify a bathroom exhaust fan, which I mounted in a box and went through the ceiling/floor so that I brought clean air from the house above, filtered it and brought that into the darkroom. My preference is to bring more air into the room than is being vented out, so that the darkroom has a positive pressure relative to the rest of the basement - this keeps the dust from the basement getting into the darkroom. I had a passive vent from behind the sink to allow air to exit there, and go to the outside.

  9. #9

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    Good suggestions here. I would also recommend using less smelly chemicals. Maybe substitute citric acid for traditional stop bath (the Kodak stuff stinks to high heaven), etc.
    Last edited by momus; 06-30-2014 at 10:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_S View Post
    My last darkroom was in a basement, and what I did for ventilation was to modify a bathroom exhaust fan, which I mounted in a box and went through the ceiling/floor so that I brought clean air from the house above,...
    In Europe those basement ceilings are from concrete or at least from bricks in old houses. Thus the same problem would arouse as going through the basement wall.

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