Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

little more expensive and last much longer. They should either discharge into rain-water tanks, which must be well' ventilated, or on to the surface of the ground or area round the house. They should not be connected directly with the drains or sewers. Neither should they be placed with their hoppers or heads just below the bedroom windows, especially if they discharge into a tank. Large and high houses, especially if standing alone, require to be provided with lightning conductors. Copper ones are better than iron, and need not be so thick. They must be insulated from the walls of the house by suitable rings of some non-conducting material, and end in some moist place in the soil. In the case of an isolated house it is also a good plan to have a weathercock on the roof, and connect that with a registering apparatus in the hall. An anemometer is also useful.

Thus far about the construction of the building itself. We now come to the finishing off inside. The floors should be covered with boarding_oak bees-waxed being the best, or deal, stained and varnished, may also be used. The joints are better tongued. Parquet flooring, made of teak, may be placed over the whole of the surface, the object being to ensure, as far as possible, a uniform and impervious surface, without cracks or badly made joints, in which dust can accumulate. This is especially important. Either of these plans is better than the common one of covering the whole floor with a carpet or drugget. When these are used, a border of stained and varnished or polished boards, or of parquet flooring, should be left all round the room. This has the advantage that dust does not accumulate so readily in the corners, which are more easily swept and cleaned, and the carpet can be taken up at any time to be beaten, without moving the furniture which is against the walls. The skirting boards of wooden floors should be let into a groove in the floor. This will serve to prevent draughts coming through, and dust accumulating in the apertures, which are invariably formed by the shrinking of the joints and the skirting. Some floors, such as those of halls, greenhouses, &c., are best tiled.

Wall Coverings.These, like the floors, are better made of impervious materials which can be washed. Tiles form an admirable wall covering, and are, moreover, a permanent decoration. Various kinds of plastering, with the surface painted, form a cheap and effective wall covering. Paint containing lead should, of course, not be used, but the silicate, or the indestructible paints, and zinc white should be used instead of white lead. Paper as a covering for walls has the disadvantage that, as a rule, it cannot be washed, and that the dust collects on it. For this reason, after a case of infectious disease, it is necessary as a general rule to strip the paper off the walls, whereas a painted or tiled wall can be washed. Many papers, too, are colored with arsenical paints, and seriously affect the health of the

persons living in the rooms, the walls of which are covered with them. For a considerable amount of information on this subject I would refer to a little book which has just appeared, entitled “Our Domestic Poisons,” by Mr. Henry Carr.

Ceilings. For these plastering is in most general use. It is better painted than distempered. Whitewashing, however, answers very well, and can be repeated as often as necessary. Paper should not be used for covering ceilings. If they are of wood it should be paneled, or the joints will let the dust through. The wood work generally throughout the house should be stained and varnished, polished, or painted; and generally I may sum up the principles to be followed in finishing off the inside of a house by saying, that the materials should be, as far as possible, impervious, and the surface smooth and uniform, and so disposed as to be easily cleaned, and not to collect the dust.

VENTILATION, LIGHTING, AND WARMING.

The air in our houses is rendered impure in various ways, but chiefly by our respiration, and by the products of combustion that are allowed to escape into it from lights and fires. The air that we expire contains a certain quantity of foul, or putrescent, organic matter. It is charged with moisture, and contains about five per cent. less oxygen and nearly five per cent. more carbonic acid than the air that we inspire. It is neither the diminution of oxygen nor the increase of carbonic acid in the air of rooms that is of the greatest importance to living beings, but the accumulation of foul organic matter and the excess of moisture. It is this which renders such atmospheres stuffy, and not the diminution of oxygen or the increase of carbonic acid, which are so slight as to be of little importance, even in overcrowded rooms. Nevertheless, since the increase in carbonic acid is proportional to the increase in other impurities, and since

« ZurückWeiter »