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Thread: water filters

  1. #1

    water filters

    Hi,
    I've noticed in photos of darkroom setups that people often have 2 water filters. What are they for? I installed one for particle matter but it is not enough. Everything is fine until it comes to the rinse. i use distilled water for everything except rinsing. I filter the developer and fixer, but when it comes to rinsing, i get these little white specks clinging hard to the film. i remove them manually with my fingers but I think this might scratch the emulsion, I'd rather remove these specks with a filter beforehand, but what could they be? what 2nd filter should I install?
    thanks

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    Re: water filters

    You need different ones for hot versus cold lines. If you have an automatic tempering valve for working temperature, it probably needs protection from particulates prior to water reaching it. Otherwise, you'd just have to be certain a single filter didn't have to withstand excessive hot water. Since I use fully hot water right out of the line for sake of dissolving sodium sulfite, for example, I can't diminish the line temperature of that particular line. Conventional hot water heaters are infamous for building up calcium deposits, and then shedding bits of that into the line, like what you're probably seeing on your film. Cold water lines sometimes bring in rusty or organic contaminants. Our water here is very high quality, so I freely use it for nearly everything except final film rinse or highly technical applications. In fact, my own filter is disconnected; but I might re-attach it my next maintenance session for sake of my print washer. One of my darkroom faucets is having valve issues.

    Another potential culprit is water mold (Saprolegnia). You need a pretty fine filter for that. But simply mixing fresh dev and fixer as needed, rather than re-using it, is a better anwer. Also beware of buildup of deposits on you measuring graduates or developing tanks too.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    New York City & Pontremoli, Italy
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    Re: water filters

    I use two filters, one for hot and one for cold water, as suggested by Drew. Long ago, I was getting stains (rust?) on my negatives and the use of the filters solved the problem.

    I have been using these:

    https://deltaphotosupplies.com/darkr...r-filters.html

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: water filters

    One thing I forgot to comment on is that the very most important time for using distilled water is during the final rinse, following the wash step.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2015
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    SooooCal/LA USA
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    Re: water filters

    Dual filters means there is one filter after another... The first filters out most of the particulates, and the second catches what might get past the first filter... Some locales might not need the second filter, but some do (and depending on what's flowing through the system at the time)... A non-scientific test is to open a filter every few weeks and see what has collected on it, what color the filter is then, and look into the bottom of the filter housing to see if anything has collected there...

    The GE filters at the home store cost about $20 and work well, but note that using the finest filter cartridges (in some systems) seem to cause a disturbance in the water causing milkiness, tiny bubbling, and seems to start "knocking" the chlorine gas out of the solution (in highly chlorinated water systems)... And don't forget to change filter cartridges on a regular basis...

    Leaving film soaking in distilled or deionized bath for 10 or 15 minutes after wash soaks wash water (+ minerals) out of deep emulsion before photo-flo bath and can reduce subtle haze that can dry on film...

    And flush out darkroom water lines before processing to flush out what can collect while you were gone...

    Hot water lines should be filtered too, but look for the temperature rating on the filter before installing... I had to install a new heater heater for the lab, so I installed a filter on the cold water feed to keep heater cleaner...

    LA here has slightly harder water + significant amounts of algae/particulates + lots of old plumbing/mains, but other systems have their own local variations, so be on guard...

    Steve K

  6. #6

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    Re: water filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    One thing I forgot to comment on is that the very most important time for using distilled water is during the final rinse, following the wash step.
    Haa exactly! Used to have a reverse osmosis filter and this served well for the final rinse. But after a couple leaks I decided I didn't want to take any more swim tests and I shut the thing off and sealed up its pipe. Since then I switched to bottled distilled water.

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: water filters

    Temp is also critical

    I use HASS filters with tight temp control and tempering tanks for Gas Burst

    and mix all chems with distilled

    http://www.hassmfg.com/photog.pl/1213638750-2927
    image

  8. #8

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    Sep 2014
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    Re: water filters

    One thing that can help, even with inline filters is one at the tap where the water comes out. Put itscrew it on for final filtering and take it off when using the water for other things. Just one last step in filtration.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Re: water filters

    (An answer not really addressing your original question, but...)

    For what it's worth I don't use filters, I use water from the tap (heated, of course) for all processing but always use distilled water for the final film rinse (with Photo-Flo) in a tray, and often for the penultimate rinse also (in the drum or tank).

    I used to get a lot of rubbish on the neg (apart from just the content that is), and I got that advice from an old hand at a photography club. Made a world of difference.

    *** Caveat: I have had distilled water (just once) go cloudy and have bits floating in it, don't know if this was just a bad batch, too old, not sealed properly etc. but check it before use if you buy the auto type in plastic containers.

  10. #10

    Re: water filters

    I can control every step by using distilled water and by filtering. Everything that is, except the rinsing inbetween the fix and the photoflo. Does anyone actually use distilled water for this rinse? You would need gallons of distilled water, surely?

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