View Full Version : chemicals and cold temperatures

13-Feb-2011, 02:31
I store my chemicals in the cellar, and it is so cold outside that it is freezing in it right now. Can they be damaged by low temperatures?

13-Feb-2011, 04:38
Dry chemistry will be fine but you're likely to get precipitation/crystallisation with liquid chemistry if it gets too cold.

However cellar temperatures generally don't drop too low unless you're in an area where you get permafrost. So even when it's been -18C outside my cellar/darkroom only drops to about 10-12C.


14-Feb-2011, 07:09
Sorry lecep - I don't have an answer, but can only commiserate. For the first time ever I've found the water from humidity collected in the "Damp-X" bag I keep hanging in my film and chemical cabinets to be frozen! It was only for a short period but but have been wondering ever since if anything will be negatively affected.

14-Feb-2011, 07:18

Are you saying literally freezing, as below 32F? Where are you located? It's rather unusual for a basement to get that cold. Ours will get down to 60F in an enclosed space down there during our coldest months.

Jim Jones
14-Feb-2011, 08:07
Storing film tanks, chemicals, and some wash water at room temperatures makes them instantantly available for use and doesn't take a lot of space.

14-Feb-2011, 08:18
in Norway. Here the ground is mostly granit stone which is visible in a part of my cellar (yes it cost me a fortune to fire this house...)
Usually temp lays between 5-10 but it was -5 (-20 outside)
I developped yesterday and it worked fine but got some traces /"artefacts" on some prints...but this could be cause by paper or many other things.

14-Feb-2011, 10:16
Below freezing in the basement is cold. Just when I was getting sick of winter you made me appreciate that greater misery exists. Thanks.

You might try storing you chemicals in the main part of the house and carrying them to the basement darkroom when it is time for a session during the winter.

Some people have used the electric pig warming blankets on which you could place the bottles of chemicals which will help keep them above freezing through radiant heat.

Tom Monego
14-Feb-2011, 12:46
Most photochemistry is super saturated solutions so anything below 40 degrees F for regular chemistry and below 50 degrees F for concentrates can be problematical. Once the chemicals precipitate out it is very difficult to get them back into solution, I wouldn't trust developers that have precipitated out. Developers have to be dissolved in a specific order. The biggest problem here is metol cannot dissolve in a sulfite solution, why all the developer recipes have metol as the first ingredient, and some divide the sulfite and the metol into two different solutions.


Frank Petronio
14-Feb-2011, 13:41
You'll get crystals and while the developer and fix will still work, they won't be nearly as energetic.

Robert Hughes
14-Feb-2011, 13:54
I wonder if reheating the chemicals to dissolve precipitates would help, or if it's a one-way ride, and the damage has been done?