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Thread: Sink-level ventilation

  1. #1

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    Sink-level ventilation

    I am reconfiguring my darkroom and am considering options for sink-level ventilation for a 6-foot sink. Can anyone tell me if these pvc pipes which are connected to the exhaust at one end, and sealed at another, with a series of holes drilled through along it, actually work? Wouldn't there be no real suction left at the end opposite to the fan? http://myphotographydarkroom.blogspo...-air-vent.html (not mine, just randomly found image to use as an example)


    The traditional solution for sinks that are pressed against the wall is to have a vent pipe run vertically down the center of the wall behind the sink, and attach it to a cowl/hood that spreads over the sink. In my case though, I can only vent to the right side of the sink and I'd rather keep the wall behind the sink clear of any pipes and tubes etc. so I am considering running a vent pipe over the back edge of the sink and out the side, as seen in the image above. I'm concerned though that the suction would not be even.

    And more importantly, wouldn't it be better to have "point source" ventilation, like a 4" flexible wood-shop dust collector hose that can be pointed at specific areas/trays for removing the gases, rather than a broad ventilation over the entire 6' sink?
    Last edited by cyrus; 25-Mar-2014 at 19:35.

  2. #2
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    I have not actually tried this, but looking at it, my guess would be that for such a pipe to remove significant amounts of air from
    the sink area would require quite a lot of vacuum and as a result be pretty noisy. I am also skeptical that you would have anything like even airflow across a pipe like that due to the pressure (suction) drop.

    Have you considered the volume of your space, and provisioning inlet and outlet fans that would turn the air over every 10 minutes or so? If you could manage that, you may not need to do anything special over the sink area.

    If it is the acetic acid or fixer specifically that gives you trouble, others here may suggest alternatives that are less irritating (e.g., citric acid for stop, alkaline fixer).
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  3. #3
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    For efficiency, the holes should be large enough that they scarcely impede the air flow. Perhaps the sum of their areas should be close to the area of the pipe. For even air flow along the length of the sink, consider smaller holes near the exhaust end. You might also want larger holes near the stop and fix.

  4. #4

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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    Actually my particular darkoom is quite large and airy since I'm in a warehouse basement with 11" ceilings, only do b&w, and the darkroom is attached to a 20x30 ft studio space with regular ventilation, thus far I've just needed a fan to blow the air away over the sink to dissipate in the large space, and i never smelled anything (course, my nose may have become immune to the smell of fixer too) My stop is diluted white vinegar, which at worst smells like a salad.

    But as more and more students/other photographers are using my darkroom and the output has increased I feel it necessary to provide additional ventilation for right over the sink to suck the stuff out and not let it just dissipate inside. I don't want anyone complaining about exposure either.

    I can vent easily to the building air shaft right behind my sink by punching a hole through the 4" terracotta block wall, mounting a 4" centrifugal fan, attaching it to an elbow and then the pvc pipe with holes right over the sink. Since the ducting length is minimal and there is only 1 turn, 400 cfm should be plenty for a 6' sink. I understand that the size/placing of the holes has to be altered along the length of the pipe so as to maintain even airflow/suction -- but why ventilate the entire length of the sink at all, if you can point the vent particular trays/source of gases using a dust-collector type flexible corrugated 4" plastic pipe, and then fold-up & put the fleixble pipe away when not generating smells? Wouldn't that make more sense as far more efficient in removing gases in darkrooms ? Can anyone see any problems with this? After all, there's no reason to vent the wash tray, the fixer and stop are what generate the sulfides

  5. #5

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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    The problem with a hood over the sink is that it draws fumes past your face. And, unlike a stove, you don't have heat to lift the fumes. So they'll rise, but not as easily.

    I've seen darkroom designs with the ventilated pipe at tray level and suspect that's the best approach. But I'm not sure those designs have been tested, much less optimized. I think your approach is good, here's what I would do:
    • Do your pipe and exhaust as you suggested, placing the fan as close to the pipe as possible (pushing air is more efficient than pulling air), with the fan at the "fixer" end
    • Start with 3/8" holes every 6" along the full length of the pipe and test draw with an incense stick (assuming you don't have a "smoke stick")
    • Where you need more draw, increase holes to 1/2". If necessary, add holes


    Don't forget to have a large enough filtered air intake. The pipe over the trays should be the only exhaust.

  6. #6

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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    There are fume hoods that are slotted for table level exhaust, and flat, easy to fabricate one with Sintra board ( foamed PVC )
    here is a pic as an example I found on the web - http://www.directindustry.com/prod/g...13-727059.html
    Google for slot fume hood.
    Localized extraction with flexible hose is cumbersome, you have to hang it somewhere and if you lift a print up to examine or drain, you'll bump into the hose.

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    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    ...And more importantly, wouldn't it be better to have "point source" ventilation, like a 4" flexible wood-shop dust collector hose that can be pointed at specific areas/trays for removing the gases, rather than a broad ventilation over the entire 6' sink?
    Right. At the risk of stating the obvious, why not flip that thinking and install standard, robust ventilation over the sink in one area designated for fumes. I get that this has become a concern with the increase of multiple users, but the expense and complication of a traveling fume hood, may not be worth the expectation that people will actually move it to their working area. FWIW, I can't see any logical reason how that holey pipe contraption would be at all effective at expelling air. Don't forget that for any exhaust device to work effectively, there must be fresh air inflow at some location other than the sink. My 12'' Doran wall fan, located mid-sink (where the fix/toner normally are), can easily clear my entire 2K cu. ft. space in 5 – 10 minutes. Raw/powdered chemicals should probably be mixed outside the DR.

  8. #8
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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	vent.jpg 
Views:	106 
Size:	72.1 KB 
ID:	112780The one that has always made the most sense to me is slot openings just above the level of the trays, and located along the wall where a back splash would be. This illustration is in Kodak's publication K-13 titled "Photolab Design". Either one, or a series of openings at the top would be set up with what amounts to a manifold of PVC pipes all connected to a single exhaust fan, drawing all fumes out from across the trays, never being allowed to rise into the face while at work.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

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    Maris Rusis's Avatar
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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    My third last darkroom had a light proof exit hole in the wall behind the sink but the fan was at the far end of the darkroom and blew filtered air INTO the darkroom. Advantages include:
    The entire darkroom is at positive pressure so dust tends to leak out not in.
    The inward opening door shuts firmer.
    The fan noise is a long way from the work zone so less irritating.
    Fan placement is not critical and no fancy plumbing is required.

    My last darkroom has no fan at all. I just use odourless chemistry.
    Photography:first utterance. Sir John Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society. "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..".

  10. #10
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Sink-level ventilation

    Quote Originally Posted by lenser View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	vent.jpg 
Views:	106 
Size:	72.1 KB 
ID:	112780
    Very cool. Me likes.

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