This tap cannot leak and is of great durability
Of these, the best for all purposes is that devised by the late Lord Kelvin, and now largely used. Its principal advantage is that it dispenses with rubber, leather, and other washers, being made throughout of metal. It practically cannot leak, and, under ordinary careful use, will last a lifetime.
Taps should be large enough to permit of the rapid filling of baths and other utensils.
A well-equipped house should have hot and cold water supply to the kitchen sink, the butler's pantry, the bath, the lavatory basin, and in some convenient position on the upper floors for drawing water for bed-room use.
When there is nohouse-m a i d's c1o set, the last may be in the bathroom, but it should be separate from the bath supply, which is never conveni -ent for filling jugs and ewers.
Most modern houses have a hot -water supply system, but often this system is defective; and, unfortunately, it is not possible to determine by a cursory examination whether in any particular house it is efficient or not. The test can only be made with the kitchen fire lighted, and the water supply connected - conditions not easily realisable in untenanted houses.
The cylinder system of hot'water supply. This system is fast replacing the cistern system. Its shorter length of pipe ensures less risk of incrustation and a better reserve of hot water
Prismatic glass screen for lighting basement rooms
The hot-water system consists of a boiler, set behind the kitchen range, a cylinder or cistern to carry a reserve of heated water, and the necessary piping for distributing the hot water to those points where it is required to be drawn off.
The most common defect is an insufficient cistern or cylinder capacity. The water, say, for the bath gushes out scalding hot for a few seconds, and then rapidly falls off in temperature, making it impossible to fill the bath at the temperature one would like.
See, therefore, that the cistern or cylinder is of ample size. This point can always be settled by inspection.
At the same time, examine the piping to see that it is not too small in diameter. The minimum size consistent with efficiency and safety is 1 inch diameter internally, measuring about 1 3/4 inches externally.
In hard-water districts hot-water piping is subject to incrustation, and the smaller the piping the more rapidly it becomes filled with the limy deposit. At first this interferes with a free flow of water, but eventually it may block the system completely, and create the danger of explosion.
The cylinder system is now fast replacing the cistern system, because it ensures a better reserve of hot water, and involves less risk of pipe incrustation, owing to the shorter length of pipe between boiler and reservoir.
Note whether the hot-water system is provided with a safety-valve. This, if present, will be found in the piping system somewhere near the range.
It should be remembered that danger of explosion may arise not only from the pipes being blocked: by incrustation, but also from the temporary effects of frost. The critical time is the thaw following frost, when a rush of cold water released by the thaw enters an empty and over-heated boiler.
The hot - water system should be carried to all baths, sinks, and lavatory basins, and at least one draw-off tap should be provided on the bedroom floor for filling cans, etc.
Reference has already been made to the importance of every part of the house receiving a sufficiency of daylight. Dark houses usually are unhealthy houses.
Not only does the pernicious germ thrive in the absence of daylight, but dark corners are apt to receive less attention from those responsible for keeping the house clean, and thus the evil becomes exaggerated.
In basement houses, and houses from which daylight is excluded in certain rooms by the near presence of high walls, the difficulty may be met by the use of some form of reflector, and the would-be tenant of an otherwise desirable house may well insist on the landlord providing some efficient device for making good the deficiency of light.
The sun is not always with us. Hence it is. well to judge of the lightness of a given room on an average dull day.
Under this heading we need only consider gas and electric light. Oil lamps do not form part of the equipment of the house; but it may be well to remember that if lighting by oil is contemplated, low ceilings are a disadvantage, as they will inevitably blacken above the place usually occupied by the lamp.
If gas piping is already installed, and the tenant intends to adopt gas illumination, it should be seen that provision is made for fittings at all points where a light will be required, otherwise. much expense may be incurred in modifying the piping system to suit the tenant's needs. The consideration as to height of ceilings, just mentioned in connection with oil lamps, applies also in the case of gas. The gas fittings are so entirely the tenant's affair that they need not be dealt with in connection with the choice of a house. Each tenant will exercise his taste and judgment, and consult his pocket in purchasing them.
Most modern houses situated in districts served by an electric supply company are "wired." Provided the wiring system is done in accordance with the company's requirements, the tenant need have little anxiety in the matter. The company's workmen will test the wiring before laying on the current, and if they are satisfied, the tenant may assume that all is in order.
The only point which need concern the house-hunter is whether the lighting. "points" are conveniently placed.
It is not difficult to understand the popularity of the open grate. Quite apart from our sentimental affection for the cheery blaze, we all realise that there is a quality about the warmth we receive from it that is not found in that of the closed stove or hot-water radiator.
The explanation is that the heat is radiated, and not convected. In other words, it warms us without unpleasantly warming the air about us. Modern ingenuity has done much to render the domestic fireplace more efficient and more economical than its prototype.
The more extensive use of firebrick, by which the heat is retained and radiated back into the room, instead of passing away up the chimney, is one phase of the improvement in modern grates.
No house can be considered well-equipped in its heating system that is not fitted with grates embodying this principle.
The old so-called "register" stoves were an improvement on their predecessors, to the extent that they introduced the principle of restricting the smoke orifice, thereby increasing the velocity of the draught.
In consequence, the fire burned more brightly, and the fuel was more perfectly consumed.
Sectional view of a good type of modern barless grate. The arrows show the course of the smoke
Yet the register grate has its defects, and cannot compare in efficiency with some of the more recent patterns of grate, of which many forms exist, all more or less depending upon the use of a wide expanse of firebrick back, and generally distinguished by a simplification of the fire receptacle.
Thus we come to the barless grate, the fire being made in a shallow iron basket or in a firebrick well. The house-hunter should make himself acquainted with the best examples of modern grate construction, and see that the house he may have under consideration is provided with one or other; at least, so far as the living-rooms are concerned.
In bedrooms, where fires are rarely lighted, any simple little grate will serve, provided it has an unimpeded chimney opening. The bedroom grate is insisted upon in local bylaws mainly because it is a ventilating device. Hence the register grate, the door of which is liable to become closed, by design or accident, is a danger to health in small and otherwise ill-ventilated rooms.
It is not often that one finds any heating system ready installed other, than the open grate. There, is, however, a movement in the direction of closed stoves which burn anthracite, but as these usually are tenant's fixtures, they are not likely to be met with by the house-hunter, except as optional fixtures to be paid for by the incoming tenant.
The anthracite stove has much to recommend it on the score of cleanliness and economy, and involves much less trouble in management than the open grate. The gas fire stands on the same basis, and is not usually landlord's property. It is responsible for many headaches in small rooms, and its best justification is that it is quickly lighted and as quickly put out, for which reason it has a sphere of usefulness in rooms only occasionally occupied.
Hot-water systems of heating hardly come within the scope of these articles. Usually they are found in large houses only, and as they do not replace but are supplementary to the grates, they may be put to use or not, at the tenant's option.
Much as the subject has been studied and discussed in connection with the hygiene of the home, the modern house rarely contains any efficient system of ventilation. The subject will be dealt with in Part 7.