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  1. #1
    msage's Avatar
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    Darkroom Water Heater

    I am building a BXW darkroom (stand alone) and wonder how big of a water heater I need? I will being processing roll and sheet film (semi-stand and Jobo) and printing (mainly fiber). Any ideas?
    Thanks
    Michael

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by msage
    ... a water heater I need?
    If you've the electricity consider a tankless with
    photo-lab temperature control. Dan

  3. #3
    raucousimages's Avatar
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    I have just installed a bosch tankless natural gas heater in a small house, It works great. They are available in LPG, NG and electric.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  4. #4

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    Yep, a tankless is probably the way to go. It only heats when the water flows, so tend to be inexpensive to run. Is very compact since it has no storage tank & gives you more room for other storage. etc. etc.

  5. #5
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    I have two tankless water heaters in my place. I love them and they work well, but I don't know that they are perfect for a darkroom. Maybe the electric ones would be okay, but mine are gas and won't turn on until there is a minimum flow of 1/2 gallon per minute. Below this, it's cold. If you need just hot, this works, but if you need warm water (cold and a little hot) for washing prints and such, you're had.

    A small electric under the counter might work better and is certainly cheaper. You can buy a 6 gallon and this might be fine. Just turn it on only when in the dark. Maybe someone here has tried this.
    Watch for Loose Gravel

  6. #6
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Gravel
    A small electric under the counter might work better and is certainly cheaper. You can buy a 6 gallon and this might be fine. Just turn it on only when in the dark. Maybe someone here has tried this.
    I put a 2 gallon in mine. I don't need it for washing (Texas) and I figured I'd only need hot water for mixing powdered chems. Well, a 2 gallon heater is not enough for anything! Takes a long time to heat up, then is gone in seconds. Yes, I can get enough to mix a gallon of Dektol, but it's less trouble just to heat the water in the microwave. YMMV

    A larger one would have to be better if you have the space!!!

    David

  7. #7

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    What do you want the hot water for? If its for a water bath for printing or C41/E 6 processing either a tank or a tankless unit will work depending on the temp of your darkroom, if is just for mixing consider liquid concentrates or a hot plate. When I lived in Northern California I had a small sink and I used 2 fish tank heater to keep the trays to 68.

  8. #8
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    I've got to second the idea of a tankless heater. I did a quick google search and this is the first page I came up with:
    http://www.plumbingstore.com/index-t...erheaters.html

    When I build my next darkroom, I plan on either a point-of-use or the next size up water heater. For B&W, though, depending on where you live, expect the water heater to mostly be useful only for chemical mixing and for bringing winter water up to 68f or so.

    I anticipate a water chiller to be a greater value in the darkroom, and I'll probably end up doing a variation on this:
    http://www.yoshi.us/forums/showthrea...7&page=7&pp=10

    basically just find a cheap cruddy dorm or under-the-desk fridge from a resale shop, drill and place input and output lines in the top and run the water through as many feet of coiled copper tubing as I can fit in the fridge and set the temp to about 40.

    -KwM-

  9. #9
    msage's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. My experience with "on demand" has not been good. You have to have a flow rate too high to maintain a stable 68 degrees. We have one at work and I hate it!!! The plumber thinks a 19 Gal. water heater will be fine. As in my first post, I will being processing roll and sheet film (semi-stand and Jobo) and printing (mainly fiber). I usually don't use a running water bath to maintain temp. I add hot or cold as needed. The most use of the water heater would be maintaining the wash water temp. I use liquid concentrates and very little powered chemicals that need to be mixed at higher temps.

    More on tankless heaters, they work well on higher temps (great on the E-6 line at work), not so good on lower temps (BXW at 68 degrees). IMHO

    Michael

  10. #10
    kwmullet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msage
    [...]
    More on tankless heaters, they work well on higher temps (great on the E-6 line at work), not so good on lower temps (BXW at 68 degrees). IMHO

    Michael
    Interesting. After looking more closely, I see they've got a little editorial blurb on that site I mentioned that 110v/15amp tankless heaters just plain don't work well. I notice that they all require pretty hefty power (the electric ones).

    Do you have any experience with the larger (whole house) tankless heaters? Gas or electric?

    -KwM-

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