Paterson water filter

It's a small, simple accessory, and not very expensive -- but invaluable to anyone who lives in a hard-water area, or who has other problems with lumpy water. It just pushes onto the tap, using a rubber adapter, as you can see on the left, and as you can see on the right, it's more of a strainer than a filter but the strainer element is extremely effective: it seems to be two (or more) layers of very fine stainless-steel mesh. Our negatives are a great deal cleaner since we have been using them: we have them on the hot tap as well as one of the cold taps (of which we have two): see also our darkrooms.

Paterson used to sell replacement filter elements, but nowadays you have to buy the whole thing. You can however clean the elements (remove by blowing from the non-tap end). Use weak acids such as dilute hydrochloric, warm vinegar or even electric kettle descaler. Don't overheat them or they may distort; the rim, which also forms the seal, appears to be plastic. You can tell when they need cleaning as they start to weep at the screwed joint between the two halves, at anything more than the most modest water-pressure. But they'll still work, as long as you keep the water pressure down. The manufacturers' web page is

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© 2007 Roger W. Hicks