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in the sewers, it will pass up the ventilating pipe B, instead of forcing the trap and flowing into the house. Therefore, insist on the drains being ventilated, or do not take the house.
There are several kinds of trap, but the principle of all is nearly the same.
Having settled these preliminaries, let us consider the house itself, and examine it carefully.
I need hardly say that this can scarcely be done satisfactorily by the intending tenant or purchaser, unless he has a far greater knowledge of building and sanitary matters than falls to the lot of most nonprofessional men, but much may be accomplished by the diligent use of eyes, and nose especially, if they are used in the right way.
The foundations and basement may reasonably claim attention first. Under all the walls there should be a mass of good concrete, and the whole area on which the house stands should be covered with the same in a layer, not less than 6 in. thick. This layer of concrete, if made with good
hydraulic lime, or better still, Portland cement, will not only prevent damp from rising into the house, but will keep out those domestic pests, rats, mice, and blackbeetles as well. In all damp soils concrete under all basement floors should be
If it is not there, and the landlord will not put it, do not take the house.
Next, note the thickness of the walls. If any external brick wall is less than 14 in. thick, the house will always be damp and uncomfortable. Examine the water-closets, especially as to position. I have already entered into this question, and will not therefore say any more about it here. Look to the water cisterns, and find out where the waste pipes go to. If into the soil pipe of the water-closet, or into the drain, as is commonly the case, have them altered at once. Dr. Carpenter's experience will give a reason for this. Both rainwater pipes and waste-pipes from the cisterns should not run directly into the drain, but should have their ends visible outside the house, and above the ground.
Under each of these pipes there should be a trapped sink, connected either with the house drains, or, in certain cases, with separate oues. By the regulations made under “The Metropolis Water Act, 1871,” in all parts of the Metropolis where the Water Companies give a constant supply of water, the waste pipes from all cisterns are to be converted into warning pipes, and the outlets of such pipes are to be so placed that the officers of the Companies can readily ascertain when water is flowing from them. This regulation is intended to prevent unnecessary waste of water.
Lastly, the rooms must be considered. They should, if possible, be both light and lofty; for, low, dark rooms are depressing and unhealthy, and should therefore be avoided. All the rooms, without exception, should be efficiently ventilated, not by open windows or doors alone, since, for full half the year, an open window is impossible in England, but by some plan which shall be independent of both, for we cannot, unfortunately, suspend our breathing whenever it is necessary to close door and window,
although the majority of house builders seem, if one may judge from their works, to think it the most common-place operation in nature.
An instance of this want of forethought lately came within my knowledge. Some persons who were interested in the establishment of a particular trade in the metropolis, built a small factory for the purpose, and, as usual, ventilation was left to chance. The number of persons employed, however, brought the firm under the “Factories Act," and the Inspector insisted that ventilation should be provided. The owners, being in a difficulty, sent for a carpenter and joiner, as the most likely person to help them out of it; he naturally recommended the execution of sundry carpenter and joiner's work, and proceeded to make all the windows to open, which up to that time had been, very properly, fixed. The immediate result of this was that half the persons employed caught violent colds, and the ventilation was quite a failure, for the next time the Inspector called, being a wet, windy day, all the windows were closed, and
he, not unnaturally, concluding that nothing had been done, preremptorily called upon the owners to remedy the insalubrious state of affairs. They again called the carpenter to their aid, who, resolving this time either to kill or cure, cut a large square hole in the ceiling and roof and put up a kind of lantern, with louvre board sides, over it. Probably he intended this for an exit, but having made no provision for the inlet, the cold air came down upon the heads of those who sat below quite as fast as any foul air went out.
There is nothing more injurious than wantof ventilation, except perhaps a draught of cold air. Proper ventilation should never cause draught.
Intending tenants will do well to get the necessary sanitary conditions complied with, before they enter into possession. Some landlords will promise great things before the tenant is actually in the house, but after that will do nothing whatever, and the unfortunate occupier finds himself obliged, either to make alterations at his own expense, putup with annoyance, ill health, and,