Hmmm, I live in buliding in apartement on 4th floor of 5 as building have. My bathroom, sized about 2x2 meters and 2,5 meters heigh, have no windows, layout of apatrement and building is such that bathroom is sorrounded by other rooms of apartement or other apartements. Some "ventilation" exist, and it is "hole" 20x30 cm which should lead out of boathroom, but I don't know if that work as it should... Yes, lots of money go to air purificators and room fragrances ... Cheap building for working class socialists I guess . That is "wet part". Dry part of my "darkroom" is passage in front of bathroom, 1mx2m and 2,5 meters heigh, and there are doors between passage and bathroom. And passage have doors which separate it from othe rooms in apartement. So, if nothing I have enlarger out of bathroom moisture . So, I have no choice except to deal with no ventilation or to receive some piece of advice what to do. Is there some "air purificator machine" which filters the air, that is take air and get air out but purified through filters. My only way to get fresh air is to open doors of bathroom and open windows in apartement before and after printing session... No nice at cold winter nights I may say... . Oh, yes, I don't live alone, so no way to work with open bathroom doors, apartement windows and some way of blocking the lights...
Only positive thing is: my bathroom/passage, when lights are off, is in completely darkness, so no need to light blocking materials buying ...
Last edited by haris; 03-06-2007 at 10:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
No things in life should be left unfinis
I think there's a lot of confusion of "fumes" with "smells". Just because you can't smell something, or aren't offended by the smell, doesn't mean there aren't fumes which could be of ill effect to you.
Also -- strictly on personal experience, when I'd work for long periods of time in a bathroom darkroom before I had ventilation, I'd get headaches that would last most of the next day. I've assumed that was from the CO2 content of the air getting higher and higher, the longer I was in there. Think of locking yourself in a bank safe.
I ventilated by opening the bathroom window, and putting a piece of plywood with a Calumet vent fan and accompanying light-tight louvre in the middle. There already was an air supply vent in the ceiling, but before I put in an exhaust fan, there was no where for the air to go.
Remember -- if you pump air out of the room there's got to be a way for air to get in as well.
Somewhere (maybe someone has the link) Kodak has well-quoted recommendations for the number of times per hour air must be exchanged in a darkroom. I won't guess at it here and pollute the thread with wrong numbers.
Best to pull the fumes from your sink away from you rather than across you, so if your sink is between you and the window/exhaust vent, and you've got adequate supply ventilation, then I'd guess you're on the right track.
Look in the sticky darkroom portrait thread for lots of good pictures of hgih-quality darkroom ventilation setups and discussions thereof.
For my current darkroom, I made a passive supply vent inbetween three studs with some scrap lumber to make an "S" trap and some flat black paint. Works fine, even better since I put a little assist fan in front of it (of course, now, it's not longer passive).
My general feeling is that when putting in vents, it's easier to undo a hole in the wall than a hole in a door, and a wall is thicker, so you can more easily make an "S" trap, then someday when you move/sell/use another room for the darkroom, you can just pull it the vent off, put up a bit of wallboard, spackle and touch-up paint and viola!
Since extensive modifications are impractical in rental property, the window might present the best ventilation. A panel that can fit beneath a partly open window can contain a light trap and exhaust fan. Perhaps enough air can leak in around the door for circulation. I've worked long hours in small unventilated darkrooms without ill effect, but some people are sensitive, and must exercise care.
Seven feet square with two enlargers? I hope it is coed. That would make those long printing sessions more pleasant!
I agree with the need for some ventilation and provision fro return/fresh air so that the vent fan is not drawing against negative pressure.
You might also focus on reducing exposure. I have a fairly large darkroom with a good vent fan but rarely even turn it on. I use single tray processing so that all of the chemicals are stored in large plastic pitchers (less surface area for evaporation) rather than trays. I pour in each chemical in sequence and then pour from the tray back into the respective pitcher. The pitcher can be covered with a plastic dinner plate or plexiglass when not in use and that substantially reduces fumes, especially when using selenium toner (also reduces staining).
I think it would be good for a small darkroom where you don't have alot of room for multiple trays. It also allows you to use various developers in the same session wothout needed a separate tray for each one.
Nova vertical slot units help keep fumes down (and take up less room than trays) and combined with low odour fixer and odourless stop bath mean I do not need to switch my fans on. Rotary units such as Jobo will also help keep odours down.
However, the Novas are fine until you want to print larger than the capacity of the unit you have, and then you are back to tray(s) and large surface areas. I am somewhat susceptible to fixer fumes and even using the low odour versions in a tray, I do need forced ventilation to avoid a sore throat after a couple of hours.
You can buy light-tight fans but they are rather expensive. I use two 6" extractor fans fitted to the window surround such that I can open the window and the fans suck air out of the room via a DIY light baffle made from plywood and matt black paint. Heavy mount-board would probably work too.
Incoming air comes via the gap under the door. Not exactly hi-tech but it works as the hallway the door opens on to has no windows... The door could be sealed and a simple light-baffle installed covering a cut-out but the door would need replacing when I sell the house. If you go down this route, I suggest removing the existing door, storing it for later replacement, and fit a new door as tight-fitting as you can and add strips of foam around it.
As already suggested, a half-hour (or three...) spent reading through the Darkroom Portraits thread will be rewarding.
Good luck, Bob.
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A pretty effective light trap is simply some dryer vent hose (4 inch dia.) with a couple of bends in it. Spray paint the inside with flat black paint and it is pretty light tight. Add a bathroom fan (preferrably blowing into the darkroom) and you are set. My last darkroom was 4'x6' and it worked well.
More important than ventilation air exchange is the location of the intake and exhaust vents.
If your head is in the path of the exiting fumes, then one might as well not have ventilation. Ideally, one has the fumes sucked up right above or behind the trays, and fresh air comes in pass one's head.
I silver printed for 15 years in a darkroom with poor ventilation -- no problem at all. Some others (we did a survey...we have 150 students/semester) experienced headaches, etc in a relatively short period of time. Some student (and myself) can just about bathe in Dektol -- other students' hand will show signs of contact dermatitis the first time they touch Dektol. One can never tell.
After 5 years of platinum/palladium printing I have developed a very bad reaction to pd/pt dust.
If one uses an acid stop bath and/or fixer...and has asthma, then excellent ventilation is a must.
Another important factor is the safelights. Insufficient lighting can be fatiguing. I need to improve the safelights in my darkroom.
Providing ventilation is a smart move. Health concerns aside, working in the absence of fresh air is tiring. Ventilation will allow you to work longer and more productively.
My darkroom is very large, and I do open the door pretty frequently. After I fix a print or test strip I will turn on the light and open the door.
For a high level of darkroom lighting the use of Graded
Originally Posted by reub2000
papers is the way to go. I've strung three small orange-ish
yellow safelights under cupboards where once were washer
and dryer. A single larger unit illuminates the enlarger area.
Safe fuming odorous chemistry is available. A few
years ago when restarting darkroom work I ordered
up the usual bunch. But this time the darkroom was
in house. Did not like the odors so shelved all but
the developer and switched to odorless. Dan
The simplest answer is orange or red LED safelighting. Amber LEDs work well too, but you can go brighter with orange. Sodium vapour lamps do a good job but replacing the lamps can get very expensive. Another alternative is to use localized lighting over the trays using smaller LED safelights - I quite like this approach as it keeps the light away from the enlarger easel so I can see to dodge/burn etc and a larger light bounced off the ceiling stops me bumping into the furniture...
Originally Posted by reub2000
If you are happy with red, the kind of lamps designed to replace halogen lamps will fit in standard fittings and give out 20W equivalent of light each (enough to read a book by at 6 feet or more distance). I tried three in a fitting bounced off the ceiling but I find red light too intense and depressing, so switched back to my DIY orange & amber LED safelights.