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Here's Why Britain Uses Hot And Cold Taps

BONUS: The truth about drinking hot water.

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Tom Scott, TV presenter and general creator of awesome things, has taken it upon himself to answer this age-old question.

View this video on YouTube

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But what's the truth?

Well, it's very simple. As Scott explains, it goes back to how British houses were constructed after World War II.

Most of them have a cold water storage tank in the attic – it feeds a hot water tank that's for central heating and hot water in the bathroom and kitchen. The water from the hot tank may not be entirely safe.

That cold water storage tank in houses that weren't properly maintained might have been open to the elements, or silted up, or covered with iron rust or – in one particular case you can read about – have a couple of dead rats floating in it.

That water can't be counted as drinking water under the regulations.

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But the cold water comes straight from the mains, and is therefore counted as drinkable. The hot water is almost certainly safe – but isn't technically safe.

You don't have a mixer tap because if there was a valve failure, the entire system could be contaminated with this hot water.

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