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Monday, November 11th, 2013 03:21 pm

We've recently moved house, to a refitted Victorian tenement flat in Leith. We're renting it from a lovely couple from Continental Europe, and this I suspect is the reason for one of the few things that annoy me about the place: that every sink in the flat is fitted with mixer taps. Ordinarily this is merely a mild irritant, but occasionally (as happened this morning), they drive me into a towering rage. Let me explain...

I'd taken out the contents of the food recycling bin, but a foul-smelling brown gunge still coated the insides of the bin itself. I was therefore filling the bin with a mix of bleach and hot water, the latter from the bathroom sink. The sink was too small to fit the bin in, so I was filling a pint cup with hot water from the sink and tipping it into the bin. Fortunately it's quite a small bin. My attention lapsed for a moment, though, and the water overflowed, mildly but painfully scalding my left hand. No problem: I could keep filling the hot water with my right hand, while holding my left hand under the cold tap for as long as it took to cool down. Except, oh, wait, mixer taps. Dammit. So I had to turn off the hot tap, put down the cup, turn on the cold tap, and wait uselessly for however long it took for my hand to stop hurting.

Except I had forgotten about the other problem with mixer taps: hysteresis. When you turn off the hot water in a mixer tap system, you see, you don't reset the tap to a safe state: a slug of hot water remains in the pipe, lying in wait for the unwary. And so when I put my sore hand under the tap and turned on the cold water, I was instead treated to a high-pressure dose of painfully hot water onto the already painful area.

And then a few minutes later, while mentally composing this blog post and muttering curses against the inventors of mixer taps and their descendents, yea, unto the seventh generation, the same thing happened to me again.

In conclusion: fuck mixer taps. Fuck them right in their stupid single non-parallelisable pain-causing water outlets.

This post is dedicated to [personal profile] elmyra, who labours under the misapprehension that mixer taps are not only a superior technology, but so obviously a superior technology that the only possible reason they have not been universally adopted can be ignorance of their existence.

Monday, November 11th, 2013 03:58 pm (UTC)
While this sounds utterly painful, and I am very sorry to hear your hand being all scalded and rescalded...

I'm going to have to side with elmyra on the general issue here. Y'all are weird with your weird division into separate hot and cold taps.
Monday, November 11th, 2013 04:59 pm (UTC)
Seriously. Separate taps are the WORST. You get about a thirty second window to wash your hands while the hot tap goes from cold to warm to SCALDING STOP NOW TOO LATE HA HA HA HA. I'd rather wait a moment for the water to get to my requested temperature than only have the water match what I want it to be for one unreliable, accidental moment on its way to one extreme or the other.

I'm particularly resentful right now because I have the world's tiniest bathroom complete with world's tiniest sink (I'm not exaggerating, I have small hands and I have to wash them one at a time, and brushing my teeth is extra lols, I have to push my nose right into the wall) and yet someone thought it was a genius idea that this tiny amount of space should be taken up with two taps, one burningly hot and the other icy cold. Sob.

[personal profile] pozorvlak, I think the ideal solution to your problems is two mixer taps :D (Where space allows. Where space does not allow, halving the number of taps required would be handy).
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 08:58 am (UTC)
If you're washing your hands in a static pool of water, you cannot rinse them completely clean.

ETA: Also, you end up having to scrub the basin every time beforehand, otherwise you are by definition washing your hands in dirtied water.
Edited 2013-11-12 08:59 am (UTC)
Monday, November 11th, 2013 09:26 pm (UTC)
At this point I'd settle for a normal sized sink what you can get both hands in. It's the one thing I actually can't stand about my flat, which is otherwise made of joy and rainbows.

I don't have a plug for the sink. I've been meaning to buy one for ages but I keep forgetting.
Monday, November 11th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
1) Don't fuck mixer taps. You're likely to scald your willy too.

2) If the hottest hot from your tap is enough to scald, consider turning down the temperature of your water supply. Unless you've started making tea straight from the hot tap.
Monday, November 11th, 2013 05:21 pm (UTC)
I prefer the sort of mixer tap that keeps the hot and cold water separate all the way to the spout. And while I am very sorry to hear that you got scalded, I do still think that in general the advantages of being able to get water of any temperature from a single tap outweigh the occasional productivity enhancements of being able to get hot and cold water from separate taps simultaneously. Perhaps the ideal solution would be (at least) two taps, independently temperature-controllable...
Monday, November 11th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
Have you considered the advantages of washing your hands in warm water? :-)
Thursday, November 14th, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)

Turning the hot water down is a great plan, so long as it stays above 60 C in the cylinder - otherwise you risk incubating nasties in it, notably Legionella.
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
Wow, I think you've managed to find almost the only good use-case for separate taps!

Many non-Brits have for years been baffled about our enthusiasm for the separate hot and cold, and I have spent many a long pub conversation explaining why. Succinctly this is:

- British houses mostly had running cold water long before they had hot water
- Many homes used to have a "geyser" (a gas water heater mounted over the sink) to make hot water rather than a central boiler, especially before central heating was common
- The Water Regulations require that the public water main be protected against accidental reverse siphoning of hot water into the cold main. This is unlikely, but a requirement of the law.
- A continental-style mixer tap therefore requires a non-return valve to be fitted in the cold water feed, which adds a small amount of cost and hassle
- All commercial housebuilders (and some jobbing plumbers) are quite lazy and it's cheaper and easier to fit separate taps
- The non-mixing mixer tap which @elvum describes avoids the problem with the water regs, but the spout design often doesn't let the water mix properly, resulting in two streams of water, one of which is too hot and one which is too cold. This is bad on all fronts!

To resolve the issue in question, why not buy a mixer-tap hose connector and a metre of hose? Then you can fill your floor-mopping bucket and wash your bins without nearly so much hassle. This sort of connector should do the trick - http://www.greatgardensonline.com/watering/fittings-accessories/hozelock-multi-tap-connector/p39585.html?gclid=CIWQuZOul7sCFafnwgodUTkAww