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Why Do Homes in the UK Have Separate Hot and Cold Taps?

February 15, 2023

Why Do Homes in the UK Have Separate Hot and Cold Taps?

Why Do Homes in the UK Have Separate Hot and Cold Taps?

Due to either their history or a general love of tradition, homes in the UK usually feature separate hot and cold taps. This can make life challenging when you need hot wash but need ice cold water from the sink at once.

It was once believed that heated water stored in a tank could contaminate the main supply of cold water, thus the separation between taps.

The History

When traveling to the UK, you’re likely to notice that many homes have separate hot and cold taps. This can be confusing for tourists who may struggle to get the correct temperature when washing their hands or faces.

However, there is a reason for this. In the past, most British houses had a cold water storage tank in their attic that also fed a hot water tank for central heating.

This was considered a risk since water stored in the tank could potentially become contaminated with stagnant water or dead rats, among other things. Thus, separate taps were installed for cold and hot water systems so that no contaminated water from the hot system would enter into mains supply.

However, this is becoming less common as homes undergo modernisation. Some new houses even feature mixer taps that combine hot and cold water into one outlet for convenient usage.

The Problem

One of the strangest plumbing quirks in the UK is that homes often feature separate hot and cold taps – particularly in older houses.

In the UK, water is kept separate due to potential hazards from mixing cold and hot waters. Mixing both could result in contamination that would be hazardous both for consumption as well as polluting mains water sources.

That is why the UK has a law that prevents mixing hot and cold water.

Additionally, this indicates that the water coming out of your taps is likely safe to drink.

Some people find it inconvenient that their home has separate hot and cold taps. The solution is straightforward – most people are right-handed, using that side of the sink most frequently.

The Solution

It is common for visitors to the UK to be perplexed by why homes in the UK have separate hot and cold taps. This can be an annoying issue as it makes it impossible to achieve the ideal temperature when washing hands or faces.

However, Britain has several reasons for having a tap system. Many homes in this country possess water tanks in their attics which supply hot water heaters.

These tanks are incredibly old, and in some cases have been found to be contaminated with dead rats or other unpleasantness. Therefore, regulations prohibit mixing water from these tanks with potable cold water from the mains supply.

Mixing hot and cold water with a mixer tap is possible, but it can be costly. That is why many countries in the UK opt for two separate taps instead – an inexpensive convenience that saves you money on bills!

The Future

Humans have always managed water to make it more accessible. This can range from simple practices such as syphoning off of a lake to installing intricate plumbing systems.

In the UK, homes typically feature separate hot and cold taps to avoid mixing potable cold water with water from a hot water storage tank that could be contaminated by dust, rust, rat droppings or bird droppings.

Additionally, drawing warm water from the cold side of the tap is a waste of energy.

These issues are becoming less of a problem with the introduction of mixer taps, which allow both hot and cold water to be drawn from one outlet. This saves time and energy, allowing people to be more productive in their everyday lives. Indeed, there are even kitchen taps offering filtered boiling, sparkling, chilled options – giving people more choices than ever before! Hopefully these types of faucets will become increasingly commonplace in the future.

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