Mixer taps

I grew up in a home where there was a hot tap and a cold tap – on the basin and on the bath and in the kitchen. It was slightly idiosyncratic because our builder for some reason (or his plumber) had not placed the hot and old taps in the conventional way which was to have the hot tap on the right and the cold on the left, it was the other way round. (I have read an article which says in actual fact this plumbing error is not unique to our house but is common among plumbers – and may not even be an error!) So most of my early life at home and at school I was used to having a hot tap, and a cold tap. Which I think is fine.

Later on in life I came across mixer taps – one tap being fed by both the hot and cold water which you adjust by either swivelling the spout or operating both taps to get the temperature you require coming out of the single faucet (do I mean faucet? Or do I mean spigot? I mean the orifice from which flows the water) This whole thing is called a mixer tap.

Some people from other countries (mainly the USA) find us bizarre that we persist in having two separate water taps… but why? I don’t like mixer taps – it’s really easy to leave ti half turned then when you want a cold drink you gt warm water, or when you want to so the dishes it comes out cold… also I have accidentally nearly scalded myself with my left/right issues and turned the tap the wrong way… I can’t do that with a tap labelled ‘hot/H?O‘ or ‘cold/C. 

Apparently the left/right placing of hot or cold taps dates from when water was first plumbed into houses; at first it was just cold water so the tap was placed to the right as most people are right-handed… when hot water came in the hot tap was placed to the left of the basin or sink.

So why are some people so in favour of mixer taps, and so disparaging of separate ones? One site which sells bathroom equipment gives these five suggestions:

  1. style
  2. versatility
  3. control
  4. convenience
  5. economy

Style… surely a matter for personal preference… versatility? I don’t get that… so control – I think separate taps give more control! Convenience – in what way? It’s not convenient if you end up with hot orange squash and cold washing-up water! Economy – I am all in favour of economy, but I’m not convinced that a mixer tap does this… I usually use more water fiddling about trying to adjust it to the right temperature.

I read another article in favour of mixers which didn’t seem to realise that most basins and sinks – you put in the plug in the plug hole and then you can mix the water from both taps to the perfect temperature. I read yet another which described single temperature taps as a the primitive British standard of separate taps for hot and cold as a peculiarity “the primitive British standard of separate taps for hot and cold.” I read yet another article which quite sensibly said that historically the cold water supply to homes was perfectly safe to drink, where as the heated water from boilers etc was not potable – therefore having separate taps was safer; this apparently is no longer the case with water being heated as it is required.

Perhaps in the end it is down to preference – I  prefer hot and cold taps. I do not like mixer taps. There!

Here is a great article:





  1. Richard

    I agree with you that a mixture tap – especially in the bathroom is an abomination. I have several times started cleaning my teeth with warm or hot water when staying in hotels. I think it is obvious that the cold tap is on the right as most people are right handed, as you say. I used to stay in hotels a lot and the hot/cold water was often a problem with hand basins and showers – especially if you turned on the tap and it was cold – excellent – then it started to warm up as it was a long way from the boiler / tank. And the nightmare of the showers that were never controllable enough to get the water to your “just right” temperature.
    I could never manage to ‘drive’ the mixer taps. I spent a lot of time in Germany and they were ubiquitous ( That well known manufacturer of bathroom fittings)
    Luckily I seldom stay in hotels now – or go to these funny foreign countries.

    Liked by 1 person

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