Every house that I have ever rented in France, plus all the in-laws houses,
all have plumbing where the cold water supply to every tap/appliance is run
direct from the mains, therefore no cold water tank.
Are their any fundamental reasons why we (in the UK) prefer to use the cold
water tank supply for all but (usually) the kitchen sink. Water pressure
"Wisest are they that know they do not know." Socrates
Ours too. I've lived in several C19th houses (with original water systems)
and an early C20th house. Our present house was built in 1937 with hot and
cold water systems. All the cold water systems come directly from the main.
We don't even have a header tank now since spouse installed a multipoint
water heater but the lavatory cistern is still in place.
We are just backwards. But about half of the systems going into new homes
are mains pressure systems. We banned them until 1986, yet an Englishman
The traditional British/Irish system does have its advantage: in a water
outage you have stored water for flushes and drinking if boiled. It has no
moving parts except the ballcock in the cold tank, so very reliable, whereas
the unvented system has complex pressure control valves and expensive high
pressure cylinders. All is at low pressure, so cheaper low pressure taps,
that don't drip as much, and cylinders.
The only tap you need high pressure is at the showers, so you can now buy
showers with integrated shower pumps, solving that problem (poor showers and
sluggish British plumbing is still a joke on the Continent and in the USA).
They also take more piping.
The Continental mains are designed to carry high pressures and high flows,
with little influence from one draw-off tap to another. In the US it is
common to see a 1 1/2" main entering a house. I noticed last week that in a
Our system is historical (the UK developed the first water systems in the
modern era), where the main reservoirs and mains pipes were not big enough
when towns expanded. The same thought of built in expansion that went into
London's sewers did not go into the water systems. There is a reservoir in
all the lofts all over a city; the reservoir cost is partyly pushed onto the
consumer. We have not changed as the system works being perfected with time
and we are familiar with it. The cold tank is in a unused part of the
house, the loft, as we still install cold roofs (backwards again). If we
had warm roofs the area up there would be used and we would do what the rest
of the world does and use mains pressure systems.
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On Wed, 08 Oct 2003 19:27:47 GMT, "BigWallop" >> > Most also have
cheaper electricity bills which make it easier to have
Eh, no actually.
See the EU's benchmarking figures.
Page 43 shows the gas figures for each member country. UK is 2nd
cheapest shown for gas for domestic customers. Indeed it has always
been one of the cheapest since 1995. The UK gas market liberalisation
has been a huge success and now sets the standard for the whole EU.
Page 36 shows electricity prices for consumers. UK is slightly higher
than average for the EU but not hugely more expensive (try Italy or
Germany for that).
The fact is prices for domestic consumers (indeed, all consumers)
dropped very significantly following the liberalisation of the market.
This really is something the british did well (excepting the wideboy
door-to-door tactics of a few of the suppliers).
Having our own gas helps but others have their own supplies also (the
dutch , danish, irish, etc.) The UK is set to become a net importer
over the next few years - our gas is running out. We'll be getting gas
from Norway (pipeline networks being joined just now) and from Russia
via continental Europe (current interconnector moving to reverse flow
and another is to be built). Prices will rise over the next few years
to reflect the higher transport charges being incurred as we move to
Siberian imports but the same is true for most EU countries.
I have to go to the village shop for mine, but I wouldn't want to keep
making the trip if it were used for anything more than hob-top cooking. The
central heating boiler is fed from a large gas tank buried in the garden,
which gets filled about once a year, but hot water is still from electric
Because you are Brits? Ways of doing things differ from country to
country. Sometimes, national variations are just a waste of money, but
wouldn't it be sort of boring if we were to do away with these
differences? It would be like modern cars: All look the same. Sure,
it's functional and efficient, but boring.
IIRC the water byelaws were changed in the arly 1980s to permit the use
of mains cold taps throughout the house.
Slowly when houses are refurbished or combi boilers fitted or unvented
cylinder/heat stores are installed the picture will change.
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at www.diyfaq.org.uk
of mains cold taps throughout the house.
This setup seems to have always been the norm in certain parts of the
country - I've lived in various towns/cities around the north & midlands and
I've only ever seen one house that had the cold taps run from a header tank,
all the others (of varying ages) were fed direct from the mains.
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