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Everyday Bathroom Rules You Never Knew Existed

The secrets of British bathrooms

Tuesday 30th April 2019

Have you ever noticed how British bathrooms differ from the rest of the world? As one of the most used rooms in the home, a bathroom needs to be functional, warm, and easy to clean. If you’re wondering why characteristics of British bathrooms aren’t common elsewhere, we might be able to help. From rules and regulations, to historical traditions, read our guide to British bathroom rules to find out more about our unique quirks.

Why are there pull cord light switches in bathrooms?

Light pulls, also known as a pull cord switch, are commonly used throughout British bathrooms because of UK building regulations. A bathroom is considered a special location for electrical instillation, mainly because of the increased risk of electrical shock it poses to users.  There is also an increased risk of shock should your body become immersed in water (like your bath or shower) with a live electrical switch within reach.


Why does the UK have separate hot and cold taps?

While mixer taps are fairly common, separate hot and cold taps are still prevalent in UK bathrooms. The reason for this is an historical one, as hot water was often stored in a cistern or cylinder in the home, whereas cold water came from the mains supply. The cistern-stored hot water was not safe to drink, while the cold water was. Differences in water pressure could also affect the stream of water out of a mixer tap.

Why are hot water taps on the left and cold water taps on the right?

For homes which do have two separate taps, you may have noticed that hot water taps tend to be on the left and cold water taps on the right. This toilet rule was included in a code of practice as far back as 1965 and is still followed today. One of the reasons for this is so that visually impaired people will always know which tap to use.


Why are there no plug sockets in British bathrooms?

The reason that there are no plus sockets in bathrooms is simple – having an exposed plug socket can increase the risk of electric shock. Plugs in England generally use 240-volt power, twice the amount found in US plugs which have 120-volts.

Why are there so many electric showers?

Before combination boilers became commonplace in British bathrooms, electric showers were often installed. The reason being was that homes didn’t require extensive plumbing alterations to use them, so they were a cheap and simple alternative.

Though electric showers are the most common, as bathroom technology progresses, we’re starting to see more and more mixer and digital showers in new-build and renovated houses.


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