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  1. #1
    shicks5319's Avatar
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    Temporary Darkroom Ventilation

    Our guest bathroom doubles as my darkroom when we have no guests in town.

    Building codes here allow that if a bathroom has a window, ventilation is not required and this bathroom has none.

    My darkroom goes up and breaks down in a matter of 10 of 15 minutes and for the most part I am quite happy with how it functions; that is with the exception that I have yet to solve the ventilation problem. Long hours in the darkroom can get pretty stuffy.

    I am curious if there are any other "Temp" darkroom people out there that have found solutions to this issue. I have seen several posts here for the air filters, which so good, but I am looking for a solution that will exchange the air.

    I can not make holes in the walls. However, the door coming into this bathroom has a 1" gap at the bottom which I now stuff with towels to block light. I'm thinking an exhaust could be made to push air out this opening.

    Any thoughts people might have would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Does the window open in a way that you could put a darkroom fan or lightproof louvers on a removable board in it?
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  3. #3
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    I'm inclined to agree with David. Get a piece of plywood the same width as the window, cut a hole in it and mount a fan. Open the window, slip the board into the opening, and then drop the window down on top of the board. You might need to add some strips of foam to get a good air seal. I would imagine that you would the fan blowing out - last time I was in New Mexico, it was pretty hot, and I would think you want to pull air out of the house into the darkroom/bathroom, and then exhaust it to the outdoors rather than pull hot air into the house.

    You probably also need to install a louver in the door to provide an inlet path - you can purchase louvers that have baffles for use in darkrooms, but it's just as simple to get a return air louver at the home center, mount it on the outside of the door, and then fabricate some kind of box baffle on the inside. In fact, if your door is a hollow core and if you are a little handy, you might be able to use the door itself as the baffle.

  4. #4
    shicks5319's Avatar
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    My earlier reply appears not to have posted.

    I really appreciated your taking the time to respond to this. What you are suggesting makes a great deal of sense. However, I am still looking for a portable fan that I can vent out under the door because:

    1. throwing air outside during the winter months will chill the house ( we live at 7000 feet and get cold winters)

    and

    2. The wife says "No holes in the door".

    In the mean time I am stuck with opening the door and venting out the room in between exposures etc.

  5. #5
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    I understand cold, but the only effective method to vent is to exhaust the air outside. Slow down the exhaust rate to minimized the cold intrusion into the house.

    If you have double-hung windows, the plywood sheet with fan is probably the best idea. But if your window design differs, you may need to replace the glass--use a smaller piece of plywood with a removable fan, and glass the remainder of the opening. You can always convert back.

    The idea of using the hollow core door as a baffle is pretty good. I did something similar to my interior wall, and it works great. Or, you might design a baffle-box to fit the gap under the door. You may have to slightly enlarge that gap, to allow balanced airflow for the exhaust fan.

    Darkroom ventilation is very important. My darkroom is a much nicer place after I worked out the ventilation.
    —Eric

  6. #6
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    If you exhaust air from the bathroom in to the building, where is that air coming from? If it comes from the window then you are sucking cold air in to the bathroom and out into the house. If it comes from under the door, then you have no circulation as it comes in and goes straight back out again if your fan is at the same level.

    The only thing that seems to make sense in this case is to have ventilation at both the top and bottom of the door (I'd suggest air in at the top, out at the bottom so that the fresh incoming, air is at face level). Trouble is, how fresh is that incoming air going to be as you are simply pumping smelly air in to the whole house...

    As others have said, the only logical solution is to pump the air out the window. If you follow some of the low-odour suggestions on other threads, you will need very little forced ventilation in any case and opening the door when you don't need darkness may be sufficient as long as other residents do not mind the small odour that may ensue... I now have a spare room for my darkroom with two 6" fans for ventilation, but I used a bathroom for about a year with just a small fan (3") venting in to the roof space and the combination of low-odour chemicals and the small fan was sufficient as long as I didn't stay in there for more than an hour or so without a break (and I am quite sensitive to fixer odour - gives me a sore throat for days if I overdo it).

    Cheers, Bob.

  7. #7
    thedarkroomstudios's Avatar
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    They sell those stupid (ed. note: stupid b/c it encourages pets be left in cars) little car-window fans... perhaps something along those lines would work for you? May not be more than a couple exchanges per hour but can be low-cost, low-impact solution.

    -Brad

  8. #8
    Dave Wooten's Avatar
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    look at the little BlueBlower now for sale at Cosco....a very small portable 3 speed, incredibly powerful squirrel cage design fan,

    create positive air pressure in your darkroom area and room air will exhaust....

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by shicks5319
    ...I am stuck with opening the door and venting ...
    I think you may be somewhat more sensitive than most
    to the fumes some chemistries produce. I personally was
    not distressed but the odor permeated my home. For that
    and other reasons I switched to an odorless fumeless
    chemistry. Is your chemistry to blame? Dan

  10. #10
    shicks5319's Avatar
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    Thanks to all

    Sorry for not responding earlier.

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts. You have given me some ideas, which I will pursue for now.

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