We have the Romans to thank for our use of running water, though it wasn't until the 1880s and 1890s that plumbing began to look like it does today. What changed? The venting system, before this time indoor toilets were vented incorrectly leaving a stench in ones home. Diseases like Typhoid fever, cholera and dysentery were the biggest threats to survival in the early years of the 19th century, when the plumbers and sanitary engineers had done their work in the construction of our cities , in places like New York City, these diseases began to vanish.
The Homestead put in a hand pump on an out well near the house sometime last year. Because of the problems we have with electricity going out at odd times, we felt it was a necessity. Score one for forward thinking. Our thoughts were when push came to shove we would still have available water on our land, which because of the hand pump, we do. But can we live without running water? We just found out that we can, and now understand why the pioneers only bathed a few times a month. Pumping and carrying buckets of water into the house to be heated and then poured into a tub takes a lot of time and effort, not to mention the frustrations of not being able to have your own clean unused bath water when it comes to being your turn.
We have gone a few days without access to said indoor running water due to a mis-diagnosed problem. We assumed that the control box for the well pump had simply gone out. Indeed it had, but it wasn't a simple matter. We replaced the control box and once again had running water for about a week. Then the control box went out once again. This time my husband spent more time under the house trying to find the root cause, while I stayed inside just hoping we didn't need to hire an electrician. It turns out that our bladder had a small crack and was sucking in air, causing multiple problems. The bladder had to have a small trench dug so that it could be removed from out from under the house and a new bladder to be installed. It's not easy dragging a 200 lb plus, water filled bladder out from under a mobile home.
We are now, once again, with running water. And it is my hope that I do not have to go into town with greasy hair and smelling like I rolled around in the barn, for a few more years. But here on the homestead, you never know.
Could you live comfortably without indoor plumbing?