Add one tablespoonful of Condy's Fluid to one gallon of water and pour into the filter. If after standing a short time the water drawn off by the tap is pink, just as it went in, the filter is no good, unless the water is wonderfully pure. If, on the other hand, it comes out with a yellow tinge, then the filter is worse than useless, as it has actually imparted impurities to the water; but if the water comes out limpid, tasteless, and colourless, then the filter is answering its purpose.
Soak a clean flowerpot for some hours, then plug up the hole in the bottom with a piece of sponge; cover this with a layer of small pebbles; half fill the pot with alternate layers of sand, charcoal, and gravel. Tie a piece of fine white muslin round the top of the pot; pour the water on this, allowing it to run through the flowerpot into a pan beneath. The sponge must frequently be thoroughly cleaned.
This can sometimes be detected only by heating. A small quantity should be put in a flask and heated to 8o° F., and as the smell is usually evanescent, the water should be smelt as soon as the stopper is removed.
The following list gives the diseases which are usually considered to be caused, or partly caused, by impure water: typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, diphtheria, dyspepsia, parasitic diseases, metallic poisoning, and, in tropical countries, malarial fever.
The connection between goitre and cretinism and impure water, in mountainous districts, is often recognized.
If the house is to be left unoccupied for a short time during frosty weather, it is a wise precaution to cut-off the water supply at the main and then turn-on every tap in the house, thus allowing each pipe to empty itself. Where the house is inhabited, allowing each tap to be turned on so that the water just trickles from it, or keeping gas-jets lighted in the neighbourhood of the various pipes, is usually sufficient to keep the contents from freezing and bursting. A lamp or oil-stove may be kept burning in the tank-room, and a handful of salt thrown into the cistern to retard freezing. When the supply pipes are in a cold, draughty cellar, or exposed to the weather, they should be wrapped round with straw, old rags, or felt, draught being almost as dangerous as extreme cold in frosty weather.
No wise housekeeper should take or build a house that has not a self-filling arrangement, because if neglected, and the supply of water gets too low, the iron becomes overheated and explodes. There are many forms of the circulatory system, but all are based on the same principle. Water expands on being heated, and will rise to the highest place in the receptacle containing it, displacing the cold water already there, and forcing it to descend until the whole supply attains an average heat.
At the side or back of the range is a cast-iron boiler, usually what is called, (1) the boot or shoe, (2) the saddle pattern. This varies in size, according to the requirements of the house, from five to thirty gallons. There is a damper in the boiler flue, by which the heat may be controlled. A most serious fault is to allow water to be drawn off direct from the boiler in the kitchen, as the water will sink, and the boiler may crack • The tap in the kitchen is only to be used when the fire is out, and it is necessary to draw off the water in order to repair the boiler.
Where the water is hard, iron pipes are liable to the formation of a deposit which will corrode them to such an extent that they become leaky and crack. Copper pipes are secure against this danger. Should the boiler become thus corroded it may be treated in the following manner : Prise up the lid, and with a chisel remove all the incrustation, after emptying out the water; scrub thoroughly with strong soda water, and rinse carefully. Replace the lid, sealing it with asbestos to render it fireproof and watertight.