Today we look at why sinks in the United Kingdom have 2 taps.
Most British housing dates back to the 19th and early 20th centuries, before water mixers and modern valves appeared. Some dwellings are much older, one of the consequences of living in a part of the world with few earthquakes.
When internal plumbing was introduced, it began with a simple system sending cold water directly from the network to the kitchen. Hot water was added later, separately. Thus, a dual system was created.
In the UK, there’s a law that prohibits mixing cold water and hot water from a boiler. The fact is that there’s no central heating in the country, and there’s a gas column in each house (which British people call central heating).
Previously, a special cylinder was an obligatory part of the boiler. The water could go stale and the cylinder could rust, making the water unsuitable for drinking. Apparently, this didn’t stop people from mixing water, and it was necessary to introduce a law prohibiting mixing cold water, suitable for drinking, with hot water from the cylinder.
When using two separate taps, all the water is mixed in the sink in the right amount, and there you wash your hands. Thus, you waste only the water you use. When you have a water mixer, you open the taps, selecting the right temperature, and then start washing your hands, consuming much more water.