Why do they use two separate taps for hot and cold water in the UK?


Once you’ve come here, the first things that’ll surprise you are the cars moving in the opposite direction, the GPS systems give measures in yards and miles, the English accent isn’t the one from the BBC that you were expecting, the sockets are different… and when you go to the bathroom, the hot and cold water taps are separate!

The problem doesn’t end here. It seems silly, but when it’s winter, it’s cold, and you want warm water… you have to move your hands back and forth between taps for a while: cold, hot, cold, cold, boiling, freezing… And veterans know that the “cold” tap is ice cold and the “hot” tap could melt iron.

Well, you’ll find the historical explanation in this video, published last year, which now has more than one million views:

As Tom tells us in the video, the traditional way of constructing houses in the UK was with the cold water coming from the general public supply and the hot water coming from a deposit in the attic of each house. For safety reasons, the government prohibited combining them in 1999, as the cold water was potable and everyone drank it and the hot water was in a deposit which was often not properly maintained and could be contaminated (rats, dirtiness, etc.). So, better safe than sorry.

Today, both kinds of water are completely safe (or should be), but as this wasn’t true from a strictly technical point of view for so long, the tradition of keeping taps separate has continued.

For those of you who want a solution for it this winter… here’s a last, cheap idea for getting warm water:


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