IN THIS work the term "apartment house" is used to designate all classes of buildings where many housekeeping apartments are gathered together under one roof; not in its more narrow sense of a suite of rooms without facilities for cooking.
There is great variety in the design of plumbing in apartment houses, which differ from the cold-water flat of the cheaper buildings to the most expensive suites of rooms, sometimes occupying two floors of the building, but isolated from all other apartments and provided with all the sanitary advantages of the better class of private houses. Whatever the class of building, however, there are certain requirements common to them all, and the real differences between the cheapest and most expensive will be found to consist more in the cost and number of fixtures than in the kinds. As an apartment house is merely an aggregation of private living apartments gathered together under one roof, it stands to reason that each apartment must have the kitchen, laundry and bath-room fixtures common to a private house. These the moderate-sized apartments have, while in addition thereto expensive apartments have butler's pantry, bath room in connection with each room or suite of rooms and servants' bath, just as in the better class of residences. In some apartments a separate laundry is provided in the basement or attic for the use of all the tenants. In such cases the usual set of two or three laundry trays may be omitted from the various apartments, but one tub should be provided in each for the lighter washing inseparable from all households.
In the general laundry, unless the landlord furnishes fuel for boiling the clothes, provision should be made, if gas is used, so that each tenant will have to supply his own fuel, and provision should be made, in addition to outdoor lines, for drying clothes during inclement weather.
In planning the plumbing in an apartment house, for economical reasons, the fixtures should be grouped together as much as possible to minimize the sets of vertical pipes that will have to be extended up through the building. For instance, by placing the kitchens over one another, and likewise the bath rooms in the same relative position on the several floors, one set of pipes will serve for each tier of fixtures. If, however, the bath rooms and kitchens can be placed adjoining each other one set of pipes will serve for both the kitchens and bath rooms. Carrying the principle still further, if the kitchen fixtures in two adjoining flats can be set against the bath-room partition, or adjoining it, and at the same time back to back or end to end against the partition separating the kitchens, one set of pipes can be made to serve for the four tiers of fixtures, thereby keeping down considerably the cost of the plumbing installation. Oftentimes such an arrangement is not consistent with the layout of the rooms, but the possibility of such a plan should be kept in mind.
The hot-water supply for apartment buildings may be furnished from a central plant, located in the boiler room, as is usual in the better class of buildings; or, each apartment may supply its own water from a water back in the range, and store it in an individual tank. This latter method is commonly resorted to in cheaper classes of buildings where the operating expenses are to be kept down. It is more expensive to install, however, amounting in some cases to several times the cost of a central plant.
What has been said in the chapter on residence plumbing will apply equally to apartment work. This is particularly true of noisy plumbing, which it is as desirable to avoid in apartment houses as in private homes. Indeed, the two classes of buildings do not differ from each other in principle. They both are residences, only in one case they are detached while in the other they are assembled under one roof. About the only feature of apartment work which differs from residence work is the requirement for a stack of refrigerator wastes to carry off the drip from the ice-chests.