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Thread: Adventures in Darkroom Plumbing: PEX pipe and a "Sink Sump System"

  1. #1
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
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    Adventures in Darkroom Plumbing: PEX pipe and a "Sink Sump System"

    Finished installing a darkroom sink in the corner of basement that was about 20 feet from water supply lines or a sewage line. Here are my thoughts regarding and a few photos of this recently complete project:

    1) Sink: Purchased a used 36"x72" darkroom sink from a guy though craigslist.org. The sink has a sheet metal base and a shallow ABS plastic tray for a sink. I had to cut a hole in one of the side panels to route the wastewater discharge and sump vent line though. The sink is only 34" high and I'm 6' 7" tall, so I built a 10" high platform to place the sink so that it is at a comfortable working height.

    2) PEX Pipe: The pumping in my house is copper. I did not want to run copper plumbing to the sink for two reasons, 1) the darkroom and associated plumbing will more than likely be removed if I move from this house, and 2) I intended to plumb it myself and I wanted something time and cost efficient to install. I had to cut into and do some soldering to tie into the existing copper piping, but running the PEX to the darkroom sink was easy, fast, and relatively inexpensive. If you decide to go down this path, purchase one of the crimper sets. I purchase the Zurn crimper set and am satisfied with it.

    3) Sink Sump System: Purchased a Flotec FP0S1800LTS Sink Sump System (http://www.flotecpump.com/pdf/FP0S18...talogPage.pdf). I think the system is OK. It works. I'm not impressed with the quality of the pump and float switch, but then I'm probably heavily biased by being a chemical process engineer and having experience with high quality pumps in the chemical manufacturing and nuclear industries. Consider installing unions and/or hose clamp type flex couplers to make removing and reconnecting the sump easier.

    4) ABS DWV Pipe: This has been the standard construction material more many years. It works great, beats the old cast iron that I wrestled in my old funky houses. I cut my pipe with a power miter saw, it was awesome. Make sure that you slope the lines for drainage.

    5) Pic's:

    Here's the sump on the 10" high platform under the sink:



    Here's the PEX plumbing to the faucets and the sump plumbing:



    Here's a shot of the plumbing that was attached to the ceiling joists, the lines include a wastewater line, a sewage vent line from the sump, a cold water PEX line, and a hot water PEX line:




    And, the money shot...


  2. #2

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    Re: Adventures Darkroom Plumbing: PEX pipe and a "Sink Sump System"

    Very helpful, thanks!

  3. #3
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Adventures Darkroom Plumbing: PEX pipe and a "Sink Sump System"

    That looks good. I've just started using pex. Interesting stuff. I didn't put it in my darkroom. When I did use pex, I put it together with Sharkbites. Quick and easy, but expensive. I only did a couple.

    A slick thing to do with darkroom plumbing is to make the plumbing from copper with unions or flex lines to make the final attachment into the house system. The plumbing travels with the sink if you move. I suppose pex could do the same.

    Keep up the good work.
    my picture blog
    ejwoodbury.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Adventures in Darkroom Plumbing: PEX pipe and a "Sink Sump System"

    Looks like you did a very nice job with the PEX and that was probably a good choice. I was all ready to do some modifications in my darkroom with PEX and had a basket full of the stuff picked out at Home Depot, but I chickened out at the last moment. I was afraid of it leaking unexpectedly some time in the future so I went with copper. Out of curiosity did you put shut off valves in so you could do mods or maintenance without turning off the whole house supply?

    Again, nice job!

  5. #5
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
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    Re: Adventures in Darkroom Plumbing: PEX pipe and a "Sink Sump System"

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Looks like you did a very nice job with the PEX and that was probably a good choice. I was all ready to do some modifications in my darkroom with PEX and had a basket full of the stuff picked out at Home Depot, but I chickened out at the last moment. I was afraid of it leaking unexpectedly some time in the future so I went with copper. Out of curiosity did you put shut off valves in so you could do mods or maintenance without turning off the whole house supply?

    Again, nice job!
    Thanks!

    I was concerned about the long term future leak/failure potential, but I'm much more confident after working with the PEX materials and tools, and doing a little "gorilla" testing, e.g., swing from connected sections of pipe with entire my body weight.

    Two ball valves were installed for shut off. The valves are behind the sump piping in the photographs. Ball valves good because they provide positive shut off. The ball valves have PEX connections.

  6. #6

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    Re: Adventures in Darkroom Plumbing: PEX pipe and a "Sink Sump System"

    Ah... convergent design in action! I'm currently building out the plumbing for my darkroom-in-progress, using many of the strategies outlined here: modular plumbing boards since I expect to have to move them in the future, PEX lines w/ SharkBite fixtures on the boards, and removable hose connections from the house hot/cold lines to the plumbing boards.

    I'll be sure to post photos of the project as phases complete.

    If my working schedule holds, I should be done (darkroom fully plumbed, new electrical run, and er, dark) in late December or early January.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Adventures in Darkroom Plumbing: PEX pipe and a "Sink Sump System"

    I simply sump into a heavy-duty poly 60-gal garbage can with lid sealed on top, and an
    automated corrosion-resistant sump pump. That latter point is quite important, since darkroom water can be conisderably more corrosive than ordinary basement flooding - so don't buy one of those cheap hardware store sump pumps! I even zippered in the plates for
    my darkroom walls with removable concrete screws, so that if everything had to be eventually dismantled, it wouldn't become a nightmare to remodel. Where all the equipment
    would go when I'm eventually too old to use it will be a different problem. Maybe the next
    generation of home-buyers will rebel against their parents and all their technie obsessions,
    and want a real darkroom, real film, and real chemical smells besides all the plasticizers in
    the sofa!

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