So, you have almost reached the completion point of your new bathroom at home and I fully understand and appreciate just how much of a difficult job it can sometimes be to renovate or re-design a home bathroom. The end is in sight, but there will likely be a handful of the finer details that still need some attention, ensuring that the finished bathroom re-design and re-fit will be meeting the expectations and requirements of the owner/s, or soon to be user/s of the room.
An important feature or function that many homeowners totally overlook in relation to bathroom designing and renovating is in the choice of tap or taps that will be fitted to the basin or basins. The bathtubs will almost always be fitted with the one mixer tap, however when it comes to bathroom wash basins, you will find that many in the UK are fitted with two taps; one tap for hot water and another tap for cold water, instead of going with the one mixer tap that most other developed countries will fit within their bathrooms. Although in more recent years – roughly the past 20 or so years, has seen an increase in the number of households and bathrooms across the UK that have instead opted to use the one, mixer tap in their homes, instead of the traditional two taps that you would find in pretty much all bathrooms pre – 1980. For anyone who calls the UK their home, there will probably be nothing odd about having to use a cold and a hot tap when in the bathroom and washing ones face, but for anyone outside the UK it can be seen as a very peculiar way of running water into a personal bathroom wash basin. They will be asking why we would want to keep the two taps separate, surely this would make washing ones hands, face, shaving or other actions that require warm water, quite difficult tasks, when they needn’t be. Also, if you consider the volume of water you would likely use with the two taps and compare with the usage you would expect when using the one mixer tap, you will find that the latter is much more efficient; saving money on your water bill and saving water which is all going towards helping to make a better tomorrow.
So why is it that the UK used to be exclusively a two tap system, and what happened to change this – and why are we not all moving to using the one, mixer tap system now?
If you know your history, or if you are a skilled and educated Plumber, then you will be aware of a period in the UK in the Nineteenth Century, when modern Plumbing had just commenced, England was facing a number of rising contagious diseases epidemics, with Typhoid and Cholera being two of the main culprits that were causing a bit of panic amongst the common public. As Cholera is especially known for being spread by contaminated water, the authorities started becoming very strict about the way water would be spread throughout the UK, and saw it as imperative to keep the main water supply (which is what feeds the cold water tap systems) isolated from being contaminated by the hot water systems, which at the time were still being fed from open cisterns. It was only after growing pressure from various bodies in the 1980’s that the regulations were loosened up a bit to allow for mixer taps and other functions to be provided as options to homeowners and property owners across the UK – this was also due to there being various safety fittings that can now be used to prevent backflow and keep the two main sources separated from each other.
So, many UK homeowners like to just stick to tradition and what they know, while in some properties it can actually be quite a difficult task to bring the two supplies into one tap. So, there you have it – some food for thought.