Ideas Lab's Retromixer hits the shelves!

19 May 2016

Internationals and expats have had it with separate taps!

Retromixer, a current resident of ECCI's Low Carbon Ideas Lab, is the brainchild of two friends who shared a common frustration while living in UK flats and halls of residence. 

In the UK, separate faucets for hot and cold water are a phenomenon that international visitors have long been raging about - check it out online for an earful. It continues to baffle many tourists, international students and expats that come to the British Isles. Articles and blog posts have been written about it, videos posted on Youtube and occasionally the topic sparks a heated internet debate that can get out of control.

The real problem is that those who are typically most annoyed with separate faucets, namely foreigners, stay at hotels or live in rented accommodation where replacing the plumbing is not an option. Hence people who are in the UK for more than a visit resort to all kinds of messy DIY solutions. The most popular one, a plastic bottle with holes, appears frequently when searching for solutions to “separate faucets UK”.

Out-dated plumbing needing a quick fix

Separate taps were originally designed for filling up the sink with a mix of hot and cold water and then allowing the user to bathe their hands in it. Now considered a rather unhygienic and time consuming activity in our modern, fast-paced world. Nowadays, most people simply turn both taps on and switch between the two water streams constantly. However, a lot of water gets wasted compared with a mixer tap with one stream of warm water. And of course scalding or freezing hands and face results.

Artur a former Master student at Edinburgh University, and Denny, an Industrial Engineer, dealt with separate taps for months themselves and realised this widespread problem. However, as no product was commercially available as a solution, they concluded that there has to be a market for a simple device that would combine the hot and cold water streams to deliver warm water without resorting to new plumbing. 

Retromixer offers a low-cost, sustainable solution

A company was born, Retromixer Ltd., founded by the two friends when they ran an initial crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money for production of the first batch of their product. After completing a thorough market analysis and developing first prototypes, Adrianna joined the team to help with graphic design and branding. Stephanie, a sought-after product designer, has improved the aesthetics and ergonomics of the product. 

Retromixer is a retrofitted mixer for separate taps, and offers an inexpensive mixing adapter that is easy and quick to install, compatible will all kinds of spout shapes and adjustable to different distances between the two faucets. Unlike many DIY solutions, it is made of materials resistant to high temperature and certified for contact with drinking water. By connecting the two water streams, Retromixer reduces water consumption by up to 50%. Implementing recycled materials in the design is also scoring high on sustainability. Sustainability of the design and water use reduction helped the startup secure a place at the Low Carbon Ideas Lab, ECCI's incubator for start ups with low carbon products or services.

Find our more and purchase a Retromixer tap here: 

Check out the Crowdfuning campaign and video: