August 03, 2003

Two Faucet Sinks

Category: Design

The Loo: Old buildings (including many I've lived in) often feature sinks with a hot faucet and a cold faucet.

The problem is, the hot is scalding and cold is cold and they don't mix. This makes washing things incredibly painful. It's hardly a stroke of genius to simply connect the two faucets so the water mixes, thereby giving you control of the temperature. The question is, why wasn't this done in the first place? Are there ever occasions where you need scalding and cold flows simultaneously? Were Victorians immune to burns?

Posted by Nick at August 3, 2003 12:58 PM | TrackBack


In the same way, my wife and I were discussing last evening why, when our condo complex was built 28 years ago (hardly duringn the Age of Ignorance), the developer/builder did not take full advantage of the many available OCEAN VIEWS by simply putting windows in the walls facing the PACIFIC OCEAN. Many homes have a 20 x 15 ft. blank wall facing the sea, while the master bedroom windows face other units, hillsides, etc. The only conclusion I could come to was that the developer didn't think about it, or didn't think it was important. People pay serious money here in south Orange County, CA for any peek of blue. $500 worth of glass seems like a a really good cost/benefit tradeoff, even in 1975.

Posted by: Robert Simpson on August 5, 2003 01:34 AM

Usually people would fill the sink with water and only then would wash their hands.

It didn't matter if the water came from only one or two faucets because you'd mix hot and cold water inside the sink.

Times have changed and now you wash your hands by positioning them directly below the faucet. Of course this technique makes it very difficult to use two faucets to obtain the desired water temperature.

Times have changed...

Posted by: Bruno Pedro on August 11, 2003 11:54 AM

I still see brand new sinks made with hot and cold separate. I think it is just a cost issue, joining the pipes together requires a lot more skill than just screwing the separate taps into place.

And anyway, why can't you just use the cold water? It is just washing your hands for 30 seconds, not a 10 minute shower.

Posted by: Patrick on August 13, 2003 12:26 AM

I believe that UK building regulations, until recently, stipulated a seperate hot and cold tap (aka faucet) because of health concerns about contamination in hot water tanks.

However, I don't have a reference for this.

Posted by: paul mison on August 27, 2003 01:14 PM

These sinks were the first to be designed back in the old days when everyone had washstands with a pitcher and bowl of'd pour the water in the bowl, and then wash your face, hands, body (spongebaths), etc. It's as simple as that. Granted, it took a long time before it dawned on anyone to mix the two!!!! Duh.

Posted by: Justin on September 3, 2003 10:57 PM

I seem to remember on various visits to Paris (France :-) that C and F do not stand for Chaud (hot) and Froid (cold) but Cold and Freezing.

Bof !

Posted by: peterg on September 24, 2003 07:55 PM

the reason goes back to different water pressures in the 1860s (ish). The cold came from the mains, the hot from a roof tank (much lower pressure). Valve design required they be kept separate.
But there's no reason now except stupid english "it was good enough for my father..." attitudes!

Posted by: paul on September 25, 2003 01:49 PM

Never thought of this, until I saw an episode of Seinfeld when he dual faucets.

My thinking is that hot water is rather precious in the UK, the "immersion" must be switched on and water takes about 20mins to heat, instanaeous heaters aside. So running cold through the pipe would waste some precious heat.

Posted by: on February 15, 2004 04:10 PM
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