Good pure water is naturally most essential for the welfare of human beings; and, as a rule, it is supplied by private or public bodies, so that it is only necessary here to deal with its storage and distribution. Sometimes, though very seldom, the water is on constant service, which obviously does not necessitate any storage capacity to guard against a dearth when the water is turned off.
Tanks are used for this purpose, and made of wood lined with lead, or of galvanised iron, if the water is hard and heavy; but where the water is soft, either vitrified stoneware or slate is preferable, as the soft water acts upon the lead, rendering it injurious and unfit for drinking purposes.
Care should be taken to place these cisterns in a position clear of all chance of contamination from sleeping chambers, dust, or foul air, and they should be covered with a dust-tight lid, easily removable for cleaning.
The overflow pipes from cisterns should terminate in a position quite clear of any waste pipes or other fittings, and be in diameter twice the area of the inlet or feed pipe; while stop taps should be placed in a convenient position to control the supply both to and from the cistern, all supply pipes being properly fixed to wood grounds, kept away from exposed places, where they would be liable to be affected by frost.
It is also an important matter, and one which oftentimes saves considerable anxiety and not a little inconvenience and expense, to so arrange the water supply that the risk of freezing is reduced to a minimum, and this may be effected by care and a little attention when arranging the supplies. First of all, all external pipes should be not less than 30 inches below the surface of the ground; and where they are not in the ground, they should be wrapped in thick hair felt enclosed in wood pipe casings. On entering the house a stop tap should be placed below a bib tap, so that all the water in the house can be drawn off after the stop tap is closed; and from thence the pipe should be run on internal walls within wooden pipe casings to the cistern, the supply to boiler from thence being fixed in casings grooved to allow of the hot pipes going in the same casing, and yet not contagious to the cold supply, as Fig. 1005; a more or less ornamental cover being screwed on to hide the pipes.