IOWA HISTORY PROJECT
MODERN CONVENIENCES FOR THE FARM HOME
POSSIBILITY OF INTRODUCING MODERN CONVENIENCES INTO HOUSES ALREADY BUILT
It goes without saying that both plumbing and heating systems can be put into a house more conveniently at the time the house is being built; but if this has not been done there is nothing to prevent their being installed afterwards. The hot-air pipes from the furnace to the second floor can not always be concealed in the partitions, but a round pipe in the corner of a room can be covered with the same paper as the walls and will not be so unsightly as the usual stovepipe nor take up as much space as a stove. Little inconvenience is found in putting in the registers for the first floor.
The installation of the plumbing may conflict with the routine of the household for a week, but as all pipes should be exposed, for sanitary reasons, aside from cutting through ceilings and floors little inconvenience is met with in putting the pipes and fixtures in place. A water back can be fitted to almost any kitchen stove to supply hear to a small boiler, or a water coil can be placed in the combustation chamber of the furnace, which will furnish a more abundant supply during cold weather, and an independent heater, built to use any desired fuel, can be employed when there is no fire in the furnace. The waste water and sewage disposal system can be built just as well to connect to an old house as to a new one, especially if no fixtures are placed in the cellar, and cellar fixtures should be avoided if possible, especially open drains in the cellar floor, even if trapped.
The privy vault is never cleaned, but ashes and lime are used once in awhile, and when the old vault becomes full a new one is dug.
An elevated tank is a favorite method of getting water pressure in California, as it is not necessary to provide against freezing, and one could be used in this case with a windmill or engine to pump the water into it. Three hundred feet of galvanized iron pipe would carry the water to both house and barn. The changes to be made in the kitchen are very simple. The bedroom closet that extends into the kitchen could be taken out and a closet provided from one end of the storeroom. The storeroom is converted into a pantry. The wall of the present pantry is extended 4 feet, which changes it into a fine-sized bathroom. The sink and laundry tubs are placed along this wall, allowing all the fixtures to connect to one soil pipe. The surface disposal system could be used for the sewage, a single-chambered flush tank collecting the wastes and discharging them intermittently, by means of two sets of opening, over the steep side of the hill.
A general plan of a building on a ram in eastern New York has a plan of the house, drawn on large scale, and a plan for the introduction of water into the kitchen and the installation of a bathroom.
At present a spring across the road furnishes water to a milk cooler, and a spring higher up the hill would furnish an adequate gravity water supply for the house. The piping of this water to the kitchen has often been talked of, but has never been done. As the kitchen wing is only one story high an attic tank could be put in over the kitchen and the water piped from this spring to the tank by 3/4-inch galvanized-iron pipe. The overflow from the tank could be carried to a stock tank in the barnyard. A hot-water boiler could be connected to a water back in the kitchen range and hot water be furnished the kitchen sink, the bath tub, and the lavatory. A bathroom could be made by removing the partition between the two closets and putting a window in the outside wall. The waste pipe from the kitchen sink could be connected to the soil pipe in the bathroom. The disposal of the sewage could be obtained by the use of the subsurface irrigation system, the draintile being laid in the grass lot across the drive. The floor of the back porch could be extended and a woodhouse built here to furnish fuel for the kitchen range. A small furnace in the cellar would not require much more coal than the two heaters now used and would make the rooms more comfortable with less work.
Modern Conveniences Table of Contents