Mixer taps

by phoxis

Mixer tap temperature control is a version of tuning a radio for an AM radio station, and trying to get the best audio quality. The only difference is that where you get penalised if you do a mistake if you make a mistake with the taps. I am sure everyone knows about this fact and sometimes it can be a little bit annoying when planning to take a really long shower.

There are essentially four types of such devices to mix hot and cold water I have encountered, which are as follows.

  • Two different taps, one for hot and one for cold, commonly found in old houses in the UK.
  • Two separate taps,one controlling the hot water flow another the cold but has one tap nozzle.
  • Those taps where the vertical position of the tap head extension is neutral, and right is for cold and left is for right (or the opposite).
  • The electronic ones which has a constant temperature water, which is often good enough, along with the electrically heated showers with electronic temperature controller.

My issue is for the showers only, because the water is pouring all over you. If it is cold, it feels like a shock, if it hot, it feels like fire. I have mostly used the ones with the two separate taps to tune the proper temperature of the water while taking a shower. This is a science to keep the temperature at a constant value. Also if you make a setup the fist day, it may not work the next day, as the temperature of the hot water may not be the same as the last day.

The process goes something like this, first make sure the water is heated for enough time so it really hot. Next, open the hot water tap and let the cold water in the pipe drain out. Next try to find the comfortable temperature by adjusting the tap for cold water. It sounds easy, and it is easy, but there are some challenges.

Once you are in the shower for some time, the temperature of the water may change. It can start to become colder, or warmer, depending on the temperature of the hot water, or a breeze from somewhere (a slightly open window). Then you reach for one of the taps, and this is tricky. The setting is delicate. You have to rotate the tap knob, but the rotation should be so minuscule that you should not feel that it has rotated. If you have rotated a bit too much, it can end up freezing you or burning you. When I tell burn, it is literal. Therefore, at that time, it requires focus, and a very delicate series of very minuscule rotations of the taps to get the right temperature.

There is another problem. Sometimes you can loose the force of the water. Therefore, if the force has reduced or increased, to get the right force, you have to operate both the taps to find an absolutely new setting.

Now, while you are thinking of something while the water force and temperature is optimal, suddenly you feel that the temperature of the water is decreasing, and the decrease is constant, so it is becoming colder every second. This is the critical time you should regain control. The hot water tank is starting to get empty. This is the time you should start to get ready to finish with your shower, but spent a few more minutes. In such case, the key point is now the hot water tap. Now, the rotations should be significant and wild. The cold flow should be restricted and hot water flow increased, and at this stage, the controls are not delicate anymore, now it’s the time to grab the tap and give it a good rotation to get the last bit of hot water out of the tank.

There is a critical point, when the hot water tap is in full, and cold water tap is closed. You have to constantly sense the temperature change at this stage as no one would not like to end the nice warm shower with cold water all over on them at the very end. At this stage, when the temperature starts to go down even a little bit, stop immediately. Close all taps.

This is a little bit of challenge every day, but once you grow a habit, it’s not a problem. Although when you move to a new place, or staying at some other place, the challenge starts again.

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