Monday, May 10, 2010

WHY GET WATER THIS WAY? by Ethel B. Beach, 1933

Many farm homes are without water in the house because of a general impression that the cost is beyond reach. I, too, labored under that mistaken idea for more years than I like to consider. Finally I determined, however, that at whatever cost I was going to have at least a handy pump and a nice white sink in my kitchen, even if it took all my poultry savings. As a result, the much desired equipment has just recently been installed. Imagine my astonishment when I discovered that the total cost, including every small item, was only $25! For only a little more a simple power pump can now be put in and of course is more desirable.

We had felt that we couldn't spare the cash of one of the more expensive water systems just now--worthwhile as they are--and therefore went without any sort of system from year to year, merely thinking about the future. Yet there was not a year when we could not have afforded the simple little system which we have recently installed, and which we would not even consider parting with now.

We could have brought water into the kitchen for less money than we did but would have got less service, too. For instance, we could have purchased a common pitcher pump for $1.50, but chose the more expensive force pump at $4.50 for several reasons. The pitcher pump would merely pump water, whereas with the force pump I can attach a small hose to the pump spout on wash day and pump the water right into the washing machine, saving steps and time. Or, I can run the hose through the window and water my flowers and garden. Best of all, I can force water to the water heater (which we later installed--the greatest blessing imaginable.) The few dollars extra expense have since seemed small as compared with these added conveniences.

There are several sizes of sinks, sold at a large range of prices, but we chose one 20x30 in size, at $10. We put the drainpipe from the trap to the wall instead of to the floor so it would be up out of the way. Later we purchased a cast iron, white enameled drain board 18x20, at $4.50. It fits up snugly to the sink, is strong and substantial, looks well, and will last a lifetime.

The installation of a system which includes only cold water is not much of an undertaking, and the expense, as already indicated, is little. The only items required are the sink, drain, pump, sufficient water pipe to reach from the sink to the bottom of the cistern or well, couplings, and a drain of pipe and tile...

These suggestions are not the whole story from the plumbing side, of course. Not being a plumber I won't try to go into all of them. But I can testify that the job is simple. Also, I can report that the few dollars a simple system costs bring big returns in health, comfort and satisfaction. Furthermore, when you want to add hot water facilities, and then a power system, you can build on to what you already have.


Laurie Aaron Hird said...

I so enjoy hearing from you. You have had such interesting experiences in your life. I have always wanted a wringer washer, but my oldest has one and uses it, so I am happy. I made soap for awhile, but the same daughter now has a soap business. Homemade soap has really changed!! Our grandmothers would never recognize it.
What struck me about this article is not that it is wildly interesting, but that it was written at all. 1933; my mother was one years old, and my father was eight, and many people still had to go outside and pump their own water. And now I am writing to you on a home computer and you will receive this in a matter of seconds in faraway Australia. Life has surely changed, and changed fast!! I'm not sure that I am up for it.

gail said...

Hi Laurie,
Things have certainly changed since 1933. We moved from the city to our farm when we had been only married a few years. We had only one corrugated iron water tank. Being very naive about such things, we were inspecting it one morning and noticed rust spots on the side of the tank. My husband rubbed the spot to remove the rust and a spout of water appeared and we had a leak. I was told to quickly put my finger on the spot whilst he ran to the shed to get something to fix it with. We had nothing that would stop the fine flow of water and we were imagining all our precious water on the ground and an empty tank the next day. One of us, not sure which one now spotted a twig on the ground about the same size as the hole and we quickly plugged the hole. It worked. We actually had quite a few little sticks stuck in our tank plugging holes. It was wonderful the day they poured our brand new cement tank which never ran dry in the 20 years we lived there, even though we had some really dry drought years. These stories bring back very fond memories. We were just talking this morning about putting in a large water tank. Even though we are out of town here we still have town water connected, but it is getting very expensive and we feel we would like to be as self sufficient as we can be. Yes things are changing very quickly and isn't it interesting that we in many ways are trying to go back in time to be more self reliant.

Blessings Gail