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Thread: Darkroom Drains

  1. #1

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    Darkroom Drains

    Hi All:

    Following my find of darkroom equipment the other day, I am in the process of planning my basement darkroom. One of the major problems I will have, is the darkroom will be below the level of the drains, and I will have to use a gray water pump to pump the effluent up to the drains. Has anyone found a good inexpensive source of gray water pumps for sinks only?

    See: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/4...-take-2-a.html

    Other plumbing will be no problem - the chosen location has great access to hot and cold water lines. As the spot I have for the darkroom is small and narrow, I will have to keep it as compact as possible, but still want it to be functional.

    Thanks for any advice

    Dave
    Last edited by DavePEI; 11-03-2007 at 08:14 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    Try Home Depot, Lowes, or your favorite hardware or plumbing supply place. Sounds like what you need is a sump pump. These are not too expensive. Depending on size and features these can cost as little as $70. You won't need one that costs more than $150. See here: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...cStoreNum=8125. Follow the link and read the buying guide article near the bottom of the page.

  3. #3

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    Hi There:

    Quote Originally Posted by fschifano View Post
    Try Home Depot, Lowes, or your favorite hardware or plumbing supply place. Sounds like what you need is a sump pump. These are not too expensive. Depending on size and features these can cost as little as $70. You won't need one that costs more than $150. See here: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...cStoreNum=8125. Follow the link and read the buying guide article near the bottom of the page.
    Not exactly. Actually the darkroom is located next to the basement sump, but a sump pump isn't designed to go directly into the drain plumbing as it can overwhelm a septic system. When a house is on a septic system, it is recommended that the sump drains into a dry well and not the drain system.

    What I need is something similar to the following:
    http://www.saniflo.com/products/sanishower.asp

    Which takes the drain from the sink, and pumps it upwards into the house drain system. Now, I do have the option of using the sump, but would have then to seal a watertight liner in it so that the chemical residue wouldn't drain down through the gravel base and get into the well located only about 15 feet away. So, it is better if I send it into the septic system where it will be dispersed over a large area around the septic field in an adjacent field (about 100 feet away from the well)...

    Ahh, the fun of living in the country!

    Dave

  4. #4

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    Good Morning, Dave,

    My sympathy! I had exactly the same problem a few months ago. My household waste-water drain exits the basement wall about three and one-half feet above the floor.

    Since plumbing is one thing I definitely won't try to do myself, the solution turned out to be expensive. A plumber spent much of one day making hot & cold connections to a couple of laundry tubs, installing water filtering, and, finally, hooking up a small sump to raise the waste water just a couple of feet to the existing drain. The only alternative would have been to run a long (about 30 feet) drain over to the existing basement sump. That would have meant an above-floor pipe to stumble over forever.

    It was an expensive proposition, but it does work like a charm. If you're more competent or braver than I, you could cut the cost a lot by doing your own plumbing.

    Konical

  5. #5

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    Hi Konical:

    Fortunately, once I have a suitable pump, I will be able to do the needed plumbing myself - I have done my own plumbing and electrical work for the past 30 years. But the pumps are expensive as you can see with the sanishower I mentioned.

    I can imagine having to have a plumber do it the cost would really have hurt big time!

    They do work well, though and would be the perfect solution, I think to the problem.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Konical View Post
    Good Morning, Dave,

    My sympathy! I had exactly the same problem a few months ago. My household waste-water drain exits the basement wall about three and one-half feet above the floor.

    Since plumbing is one thing I definitely won't try to do myself, the solution turned out to be expensive. A plumber spent much of one day making hot & cold connections to a couple of laundry tubs, installing water filtering, and, finally, hooking up a small sump to raise the waste water just a couple of feet to the existing drain. The only alternative would have been to run a long (about 30 feet) drain over to the existing basement sump. That would have meant an above-floor pipe to stumble over forever.

    It was an expensive proposition, but it does work like a charm. If you're more competent or braver than I, you could cut the cost a lot by doing your own plumbing.

    Konical

  6. #6
    Wilbur Wong's Avatar
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    Dave,

    What you need to install below your sink is a sump AND sump pump. The quick easy way is a prepackaged unit. This will include a sump which is a closed drum into which your sink will drain, an internal pump (120 volt) and effluent level switch, and a sewage line complete with a check valve which is needed so the head of water above the sump doesn't flow back into the sump when the power is no longer applied to the pump.

    The quickest way to do this is to buy a prepackaged unit. The most easily and possibly problematic way to get this is from Grainger's. It is easiest because they have a huge number of locations all over the US. It is possibly problematic because they will only sell to businesses such as licensed contractors and commercial companies. If you know someone who has account, they might be the way to go.

    Here's a link http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/cat...k-pump-systems

    I am a general contractor building custom homes, and I have used a couple of much larger units than this for whole house systems. I suggest that you consider the Little Giant model because Graingers also list replacement parts for it. I have had to replace a complete unit in my dark room due to the lack of replacement parts. I think that some chemistry has a long term deleterious effect on these units. Maybe you should flush lots of fresh water through one after each dark room session.

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    Hi Wilbur:

    Basically the same as the Sanishower unit I mentioned above. Yes, I was thinking one would have to flush it thoroughly after each session

    Dave

  8. #8
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    Dave,
    You could try contacting Albany Pump Company in Newmarket, just outside Toronto ( 1 888 334 3348). I bought some small magnetic impeller pumps from them many years ago when I rebuilt a film processor. You could even do the plumbing with flexible vinyl tubing. A word of caution would be to set up your system so that the pump does not run dry. Either manual control or a float switch.
    Richard

    Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?

  9. #9
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Dave -

    I have a similar situation in both my darkroom and my workshop. In both cases, I use a reservoir and an ordinary sump pump.

    In my previous darkroom, I used a 5 gallon plastic pail as a reservoir - that worked, but the diameter was such that the placement of the sump pump was very critical to avoid dragging the float on the side of the pail. Also, the water level at the point when the float switch turned on the pump was dangerously close to the top of the pail. When I built the darkroom in the new home, I looked for a container that was taller than a pail, and that had a larger footprint to provide ample room for the pump and float, and ended up with a large rectangular Rubbermaid plastic bin.

    In my workshop, I use a plastic laundry pail. Unlike the Rubbermaid bin this reservoir is round which means that I worry less about stress at the corners. It also has an open top, so I can more readily monitor the liquid level and take action if the float switch fails.

    In both cases, the outflow from the pump is plumbed into the waste system for the house using nylon reinforced hose. I installed a check valve at the point where the hose connects to the house drain to prevent backflow. I made sure to include a trap in the plumbing at the point of connection to block sewer gasses. In both cases, the connection point to the house drain is close to a vent so that I didn't have to worry about pressure equalization.

    Both pumps are supplied from electrical circuits with ground fault interrupters. The pump in my darkroom is about 10 years old at this point, and I've noticed that the GFI trips occasionally, so I suspect that the seal is starting to go and the pump may have to be replaced. But 10 years is a pretty good run.
    Louie

  10. #10
    glbeas's Avatar
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    I plumbed my darkroom with a grey water pump from Home Depot. I had one problem in the years since, the steel hose clamps holding the drain hose to the pump rusted away, so I replaced them all with large plastic tie wraps which should take a good while longer to disintegrate.
    Gary Beasley

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