[Illustration: A PLACE FOR SUMMER AND WEEK-ENDS
Robertson Ward, architect. Photo by La Roche]
As for motive power, electricity has distinct advantages over all other means. The switch operated by pressure starts the pump when the supply of water in the storage tank drops below a certain level, and also stops it when the proper volume has been reached. (Ten pounds to start the pump and forty or fifty to stop it are the usual adjustments.) A nice little refinement here is the installation of a third faucet at either kitchen or pantry sink, piped direct to the pump. Turn this and fresh water flows from the well itself, thus consoling any sentimentalist with visions of a dripping moss-covered bucket. Also water so drawn seldom needs to be iced. In summer if there are signs of a thunder storm it is wise to open this same faucet. It starts the pump and that automatically continues until the storage tank is full. Then, if electric service is cut off by the storm, the household will have ample water until the damage has been repaired.
If the country home owner happens to live beyond reach of an electric light system, he can put in his own plant, use a gasoline engine for motive power or even a hand pump. A gasoline engine should, of course, be located in an outbuilding and the exhaust pipe must extend into open air because of the deadly fumes of carbon monoxide gas. The hand pump is, of course, the simplest and there are several excellent ones to be had. They are not as practical as they sound, however.
When we first bought our own country place we installed a very good one as there was then no electricity in the locality. It worked excellently—when any one could be found to man it. Handy men hired for odd jobs around the grounds took it on for a set sum per time. The labor turnover was unprecedented. One by one they either resigned within a week or somehow managed to “forget all about that pumping job.” Members of the family pressed into service straightway became ardent water savers, and guests who volunteered gallantly somehow never, never came again. Yet it was not an exhausting or complicated task. It was simply so monotonous that it wore down the most phlegmatic nature. So the rural householder will do well to remember that, after all, this is a machine age and govern himself accordingly.
As for the storage tank, the modern practice is to place it under ground or in the cellar. The old custom of putting it in the attic had distinct disadvantages when an overflow or a leak occurred and either stained the ceilings or sent them crashing down on furniture and possibly occupants of the rooms below.
The best water system, however, cannot cope with faucets thoughtlessly left running. Even the largest tank will eventually become empty and then there will be water for no one until the pump has replenished the supply. “Waste not, want not” is an excellent motto for dwellers in the country, especially where water is concerned.