If you’ve ever been to the UK, you were probably surprised to find out how different and strange things can be. I don’t really mean the double-decker buses or driving on the wrong side; this time, I’m talking about water taps. Some tourists have a hard time accepting the fact that there are two separate taps for hot and warm water in UK facilities. Why isn’t there a mixed tap like in the rest of the world? Where’s the warm water anyway? Here is the real reason behind the confusion.
The most stupid thing about UK is sinks with two taps, one for cold, one for hot water.
Worst user experience in the Universe. pic.twitter.com/K03pVL3bAc
— Ilja Miskov (@iljamiskov) January 25, 2017
1. Separate pipes
UK plumbing is entirely different from ours. Hot and cold water come from separate sources and separate pipes. This is why it’s so difficult to combine both of them in the outflow of water. Also, many British houses are very old, dating form 19th or 20th century. When internal plumbing was eventually introduced, hot water had to be added separately. So, they created this dual system that looks so strange to newcomers.
2. Hot water was unsafe for drinking
Another reason is that hot water was unsafe for drinking. It was heated in the tank from the house’s attic, and people separated it from the cold water. Nowadays, however, the tradition seems to have been kept, even though hot water is completely safe, so you the two-taps system is often found in brand new buildings as well.
3. It’s against the law
In the UK, there’s a law that prohibits mixing cold water and hot water from a boiler. In the past, a special cylinder was an obligatory part of the boiler. The water would then go stale and the cylinder might rust, making the water unsuitable for drinking. Although dangerous, people would still mix them, so a law that prohibits mixing cold water, suitable for drinking, with hot water from the cylinder, was introduced.
Nowadays, people are still advised not to use hot water for drinking or cooking as the Drinking Water Inspectorate states that it usually comes from “a storage tank in the loft” and is not as fresh or as safe as water “directly from the mains.”
Because people are unaware of what was going on in the past, they are very confused when they see the two taps, with some sharing their frustration online.
Question to people who build/renovate houses in the UK. Why do you still have two separate taps?? I just washed my face and froze my hands, then had to put scalding water on my other hand. What kind of archaic mess is this it’s not 1926 anymore!!!
— Moonlore🌙 (@P_Gretz) December 14, 2017
It has also been suggested that people in the UK just prefer traditional designs.
Not everyone is a fan, though. Some prefer a more modern design to their sinks and have switched to mixed taps. Others who refuse to adhere to the two tap system but don’t want to invest in new plumbing have found their own solution to the issue, as seen below…
Yasss inventors, solving the odd two taps problem in the UK! pic.twitter.com/uF2pxVXO8N
— Ayesha Khan (@ayeshaken) November 12, 2017
Here‘s the best place to live in the UK, according to one survey.