Life without indoor plumbing? Is that still a thing?

Life without indoor plumbing? Is that still a thing?According to a report earlier this month, nearly 25% of households in Russia lack indoor plumbing. While that’s hard to accept, it’s apparently true. The majority of the affected households are in rural areas. Only about 9% of urban-dwellers in Russia lack indoor sanitation.

It’s at this point we should mention that according to a recent American Communities Survey, 630,000 US households also lack an in-house outhouse. So what gives?

Historically speaking, indoor plumbing is a relatively new thing. By the 1930’s in the United States, new construction included indoor plumbing as a standard design element. Likewise, owners of many older homes retrofitted plumbing into these structures. However, Census data from that time show that in 1950, the indoor plumbing revolution had yet to reach about 25% of US homes.

Indoor plumbing – as defined by the Census Bureau, includes:

  • Toilet
  • Bathtub
  • Running water

If you’ve got at least these three, you’ve got the whole kit. Areas in the US that are still waiting for indoor plumbing include very rural areas, Native American reservations, Appalachia and Southern Texas. Here’s a surprise. According to the American Communities Survey, in 2017 more than 9,000 Massachusetts homes did not have complete plumbing facilities. Nearly 600 of these homes were in Suffolk County.

Most people in the US today take indoor plumbing for granted, but ye Olde Outhouse has not yet been relegated to the history books anywhere in the world. Good sanitation makes for good, healthy communities, so taking care of your plumbing should be a priority.

Tips for taking care of your indoor plumbing

There are some major plumbing repairs that require a trained professional, but you can take a few simple actions to care for your plumbing. Regular maintenance can help limit your exposure to major plumbing failures.

  • Keep your drains running clean and clear.
  • Address leaks when you find them.
  • Check your fixtures regularly (sinks, tubs, toilets, faucets, water heaters) for leaks, cracks and wear
  • In the winter, keep your home’s temperature high enough to discourage frozen pipes
  • Drain your garden hoses and drain the bibs before winter!

When you do need a hand with your plumbing (or if you live in one of the 600 Suffolk County houses without plumbing), give us a call at Boston Standard Company at (617) 288-2911. We’ll be happy to help out!

Photo Credit: Mark Bray, via Flickr