An ordinary home water filter is a delusion and a snare, unless it can be frequently reversed and thoroughly cleansed. It is like having a cuspidor that is never cleaned; it only collects filth and propagates disease germs.
Where water-closets can not be provided, the earth-closet is an admirable substitute for the old fashioned privy. All that is necessary is the have a cemented vault, and to provide a box full of loamy soil or sifted ashes, with a little chlorid of lime to be used systematically.
Articles likely to taint other foods should be placed in the refrigerator; and the latter should be scalded frequently and the shelves taken out and aired. It is also well to remember that a "cheap" plumber is usually a bungler.
The best plumbing fixtures are cheapest in the long run. The siphon-jet water-closet is absolutely self-cleansing, but it consumes a great deal of water. The low cistern is almost noiseless, which is advantageous in many situations. The wash-out closet requires attention to keep it sweet and clean. The long-hopper soon gets fool and is out of date; whereas a short-hopper with an enameled iron trap costs little and is economical and sanitary; it is especially adapted to servants' use. When houses are not occupied during the winter, the water-closet traps should be sponged out and filled with kerosene or glycerin to prevent freezing.
Formerly all drains and soil-pipes, and most plumbing-fixtures, were boxed in so as to be inaccessible, thus affording spaces to harbor vermin and foster decay and damp. Now exposed plumbing is the rule, while wooden wash-tubs, tin-lined baths, and iron slop-sinks have been superseded by porcelain or enameled-iron fixtures which are clean and sweet. A model tenement house of the present time is more sanitary in this respect than the millionaire's mansion of twenty years ago.
An old house is apt to be damp and out of repair. The back yard should be kept neat and sightly, and should not be made a dumping-ground for rubbish and litter of all sorts. A good veranda is equivalent to another living-room. Every dwelling should have a cellar to contain the heating-apparatus, store fuel, and for comfort's sake.