d.i.y darkroom ventilation fan installation…

The little fan in my darkroom (or laundry, depending on the time of day) started behaving poorly of late – refusing to actually start for some time, and generally not seeming to be very effective – so it got me thinking about ventilation in workspaces generally, and how much is actually enough? Turns out there’s a bit of info on the web about this – and so my starting point was the authoritative Ilford page on the subject, which suggests 10 to 15 changes of air per hour.
What does that mean? It means I need to do some maths – so the darkroom is about 10 cubic metres in volume, which means if I was to go for maximum “freshness”, I’d really need an exhaust fan capable of 150 cubic metres per hour.
An inspection of the ailing (and ugly!) existing fan suggested that, even if it once had been capable of this, it surely no longer was… Time to go shopping!
The other important consideration was to find a fan with the same-sized vent (to fit in the same hole) – in this case, 150mm diameter. And so, after some looking around, I chose a lovely slimline Vortice Punto Filo fan, with a capacity of 335 cubic metres per hour, and astonishingly, manufactured in a factory in Italy – at the very least, this makes the packaging quite aesthetically appealing (and matches the Italian Durst enlarger).

A lovely thing about installing anything in a wall, is the crummy nature of plasterboard for supporting anything of significant weight. The original fan was held to the wall by two woodscrews, and a small plastic anchor, and almost came away from the wall before I had unscrewed the thing. The new fan had four anchor points for screws, and I used threaded plastic plasterboard anchors to support all four screws – that thing will never come away from the wall (unintentionally)!
Firing up the fan is a delight – it sounds like a jet engine compared to the original one, so I expect to be twice as oxygenated in the darkroom now. Time will tell….

4 thoughts on “d.i.y darkroom ventilation fan installation…

  1. Just remember to suck the air out you need to be letting the same amount in, otherwise the fan just spins and makes pretty noises.

    1. there is that yes – one “advantage” of my darkroom is the not very air tight door…. air literally streams through all the little light-emitting cracks. When I one day get around to re-engineering that, I might invest in a light-trap ventilation grill of some sort for the intake…

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