All the piping of a house should be as far as possible . in full view. Nothing should be walled in or covered over and rendered inaccessible. One of the first rules of modern sanitary work is to bring everything out of the darkness into light and air, where defects, if they occur, can at once be detected and removed. We are accustomed to running our steam pipes in plain sight, and rendering them by gilding or silvering as ornamental as possible, and this custom is now found to be proper also for plumbing pipes, which can be even more handsomely treated with white porcelain enamel. Where they pass through parlors or reception rooms, they should stand behind movable panels or doors. A little ingenuity on the part of the architect will generally enable this to be done with good effect. The owner should be so proud of his plumbing that his first impulse will be to entertain his guests with the exhibition of his attractive and scientific arrangements for their safety while under his roof, and the hinged panels should be treated with the full artistic consideration their importance justifies.
Bath Room Ventilation. Thorough ventilation is a most important feature in bath-room construction. A window opening on the outer air is usually provided and, in many plumbing regulations exclusively required as a sufficient means to this end. The substitution of interior ventilating flues not being permitted, however ample its size and powerful its draft.
Now when a bath-room window is opened, especially in winter, the ventilation produced consists of a rush of air into instead of out of the room, and the effect produced is precisely the opposite to what is desired. Instead of removing the bad air of the bath-room from the house, as it should, it simply forces it from the bath-room into the living-rooms, parlors, dining-rooms and reception rooms, where its presence is least to be desired. Moreover, window ventilation is only operative when the window is opened, and this is very apt to be neglected when most needed. People in bath-room costume, or lack of costume, are generally opposed to draughts.
A properly constructed ventilating flue, on the contrary, is always operative; and, more than that, it is always operative in exactly the right way, that is, in hurrying all bad air entirely up to the roof, and out of the house, with a speed and volume proportional to its effectiveness. Not only is the air of the bath-room kept constantly pure by this form of ventilation, but the adjoining rooms are also correspondingly ventilated and the whole house is benefited in proportion to the effectiveness of the flue action. For anyone who fears the presence of disease germs in the air of a bath-room it is evidently all the more important that the ventilating current should be continuous, and correctly directed, or, in other words, scientific and useful, instead of fortuitous and injurious.
It is a curious fact that those who have the least knowledge of the science of plumbing are generally the ones who have the most unreasoning fear of germs in the air of bath-rooms, and, at the same time, the most senseless ideas as to how to get rid of them, and these unscientific persons are the most stubborn in insisting upon the necessity and sufficiency of window ventilation for bath-rooms. The cost of plumbing is thus again immensely and foolishly increased, and valuable window space is sacrificed for no useful purpose in ventilation whatever.
As for sunlight, which would sometimes be admitted as an incidental advantage of window bath-room ventilation, this is useful everywhere, but always more useful in living-rooms than in bath-rooms. Since window area is very precious, especially in city houses, it should be reserved for the places where it is most needed, and that is not in bath-rooms. Sunlight is hostile to disease germs, but modern science has demonstrated that germs are, as we have seen, equally hostile to sewers and plumbing pipes, so that it is now known to be no longer required for bath-rooms, whereas for all other rooms in a house it is very valuable, and usually essential for healthfulness. Artificial light is entirely sufficient for bath-rooms and, properly placed, is more useful there than sunlight, because it may be applied in such a manner as to increase, or even develop alone by its heat, the ventilation of the flue. A good bath-room ventilating flue may renew the entire air of a bath-room every ten minutes, and since all this air purification must effect by just so much the adjoining rooms of the house, the great superiority of this method over the costly window ventilation is obvious.
Instead, therefore, of legislation insisting upon window ventilation for bath and toilet-rooms, where disease germs are feared in sewer gas, it would be far more rational to prohibit this method for such rooms because of the objection that it will inevitably drive the foul air into the house and to require the ventilation to be done by adequate ven-ilating flues, constructed in such a manner as to ensure the discharge of this bad air out of and above the roof of the house.
It is interesting to note the very remarkable progress which has been made in these matters within the last few years. Fig. 554 shows the elaborate manner in which plumbing was only twenty-five years ago buried out of sight as if it were something to be mortally ashamed of. The fixtures themselves were not disguised. They were even decorated to the last degree and with the utmost ostentation. But, strangely enough, all evidences which were needed to insure the users that the plumbing was entirely safe and could be freely enjoyed without fear of danger, were carefully concealed from view.
Now nothing is tolerated which is not in open sight as shown in Fig 552, and the exterior surfaces of the fixtures are treated even more decoratively than the interiors were before. What can be more sensible and attractive than the display of these brightly polished working parts of the fixtures, which insure sanitation as well as decoration?
Fig. 554 is from Hellyer's treatise on plumbing published in 188.., shows a very healthful treatment of enclosed plumbing. Nothing could be more charming than the arrangement of this bath and dressing room, as will be seen by examining the plan on the left. But today the safety of the users would be considered as well as their aesthetic sense by opening up the piping and tiling the floor as well as the walls.
Fig. 555 gives another attractive piece of plumbing work taken from Mr. Hellyer's interesting book. It shows a part of a very tiny cottage whose owner was too poor to have a regular bath room. But he was determined to have a bath tub at any cost for his hard-working housewife and built it in a warm corner of the kitchen disguised as a seat. However unconventional this may seem, the idea is nevertheless by no means to be despised, for this man saw that cleanliness was none the less next to godliness because obtained at some sacrifice.