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  1. #1
    Leon's Avatar
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    UK darkroom water heater choice???

    I am looking at different water heaters to supply my darkroom ... I have ruled out connecting to the house gas hot water system because of the extra water heating costs. So i have settled on a mains water supplied instantaneous electric type - either a shower unit or a handwash heater (like the type occasionally seen in public conveniences or workplace type wash basins).

    Wiring in a shower unit seems to be relatively complicated for me in that I have no extra space for new residual current breakers in my fuse box, so will need to get the electricity board out to fit new stuff all costing +++£££! So, i need to know whether I "need" to have a similar set up with a hand wash type water heater? I cant find any info about fitting these.

    How have other darkroom owners supplied heated water to their darkrooms?

  2. #2
    Joe Lipka's Avatar
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    As a veteran of many "dry" darkrooms, the first question to ask is how much water do you want to bring up to (or maybe down to) 20-22 C? (Are you washing prints, with this water, or just need it to fill the holding tray"? Second question is the temperature of this water and your darkroom. These are the two key questions you need to know before you can decide on (if) how you want to heat the water in your darkroom.

    For many years the wife let me wash prints in the kitchen sink after I processed in my dry darkroom. I re-used gallon milk jugs filled with tap water for the dark room. Kept the darkroom at a reasonable temperature and never had to worry about temperature.

    When I did have to adjust for small temperature ranges, I relied a the plastic ziplock back filled with either hot water or ice cubes.
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  3. #3
    Leon's Avatar
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    Hi Joe - I have infact answered my own question and found out that a 3kw hand wash type heater can be connected to a normal mains supply with an appropriate fuse and switch. I will be washing prints in the darkroom, and with summer main-supply water temps at about 16 degrees and dropping in the winter, i definately do need something to heat it up.

    so it looks like a 3 kw hand heater is the way to go, my only concern being that it isnt really designed for prolonged use, only quick bursts, so this may be a problem???

  4. #4
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leon
    Hi Joe - I have infact answered my own question and found out that a 3kw hand wash type heater can be connected to a normal mains supply with an appropriate fuse and switch. I will be washing prints in the darkroom, and with summer main-supply water temps at about 16 degrees and dropping in the winter, i definately do need something to heat it up.

    so it looks like a 3 kw hand heater is the way to go, my only concern being that it isnt really designed for prolonged use, only quick bursts, so this may be a problem???
    The water out of the tap at this end of the country is even colder than yours in Kent and years ago I investigated the possibilty of installing the type of heater you mention and it was not going to work for continuous running as required to wash prints. I use a pre wash then hypo clear followed by a 40 minute wash in running water but in the winter I extend the time to 1 hour. So far I've not had a print stain on me due to insufficient washing.

  5. #5
    Leon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les McLean
    I use a pre wash then hypo clear followed by a 40 minute wash in running water but in the winter I extend the time to 1 hour. So far I've not had a print stain on me due to insufficient washing.
    thanks Les - do you mean you wash with unheated mains tap water? that would certainly help me out a great deal if that is so (and save me a fair bit of cash)

  6. #6

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    You know if we could just mix the water there, with the water here we would all have what we want.
    Mike C

    Rambles

  7. #7
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leon
    thanks Les - do you mean you wash with unheated mains tap water? that would certainly help me out a great deal if that is so (and save me a fair bit of cash)
    Leon,

    Yes I wash with unheated water straight from the tap although it is not mains our water supply is from a spring.

  8. #8
    Stan. L-B's Avatar
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    Hi Leon.

    Have no fears. I have been using a 'Redring' hand wash water heater for a few years now with no problem.
    I can even adjust the temp to within a degree for washing B&W and E6 and C41 by marking the control arm against the case of the heater. Also, I have installed a filter in the system. Used in conjunction with my Jobo CPP2, it is a perfect combination.

    You will not need to get the elecrical board in to install, as the system is designed to work off a 13amp domestic outlet socket. As far as a circuit breaker is concerned that too is no problem as you can buy a breaker that also serves as an outlet for the heater. Any other problems just shout....
    'Determine on some course more than a wild exposure to each chance' The Bard.

  9. #9
    Leon's Avatar
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    now I'm in a quandry ... I want to save as much money as I can, and not having extra on my electricity bill would be good, but then again, I'm worried about over using water (it not metered here, but I am doing my best to be as environmentally aware as I can) and a heated supply would certainly cut down washing times (even more so with HCA) .... thanks for the help though everyone.

    I think I'll try cold first, I can always fit a hand washer heater in the future if I have any problems.

  10. #10
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Thank You Leon for this thread. Long ago when I first got into photography we were very careful about the temps when we processed our prints. The last 8 years that I have been back at it again, I was told in classes at the college that the temp was of no importance when printing. So I guess my question would be how critical is the temperature when processing and washing your prints. That is for B&W, I know color is very important.

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