Live like a local.
to Bring it on! I’m so excited. Someone reading my blog has asked me a question and I’m going to do my very best to answer it.
Question: “The last time I was in the UK they didn’t have outlet plugs in the bathrooms, making it impossible to dry your hair in front of a bathroom mirror! Why?”
First let me just say, Oh my god! It’s another mirror thing! It really is annoying, you will not find an outlet plug in any of the bathrooms! And yet there is a specially sized razor outlet for men’s electric razors!?#*!?
As you probably already know, if you wanted a scientific answer you would have asked David. Instead, you have asked me and I found it much more entertaining to ask random people on the street why they think it is so. I didn’t have to do this long before I realized, the US doesn't have the only clueless people. Our world is full of life's everyday happenings we just don't understand.
Here are some of their answers...
So after these amazingly unhelpful and unscientific answers I went off to do my homework. I don’t want this to drag on, because we all know my answer will be equally brief and the subject deserves much more specificity. But here goes it…
“…How much power you can get from an outlet is limited by two things. How much current the wires can carry before they start to overheat and how much voltage is supplied to the outlet. A bigger wire would allow more power, but copper wire is expensive, so instead, when you need more power than a standard outlet can handle, engineers opted to supply the home with a higher voltage. This allows you to get twice the amount of power out of the same size wires without the extra cost of larger wires.”
So the U.S. actually wires up only certain outlets for specific appliances that need 220V (ie oven refrigerator etc.) and all the other standard outlets are 110 volts for all the appliances that don’t require the need for as much power. While the UK has chosen to wire it all the same and all outlets are juiced with 220v. But don't think their safety measures end with bathroom outlets. Standard wall-mounted light switches are a possible danger because of dampness and wet hands. They mount bathroom switches OUTSIDE the bathroom. (I hadn't really noticed until a handyman mentioned it during my non-scientific interview.)
In short, the reason why you will not find outlets in a UK bathroom is because supplying 220v in a space with water nearby is ludicrous. Besides, women can’t be trusted to understand the danger of using a hair dryer so close to water, so fortunately, they've eliminated the need. Even the most modern, fanciest of bathrooms in the UK will not have an outlet for you to fry your hair (or yourself) in front of the mirror or anywhere else in that bathroom. And don't forget to turn off the light as you leave.
I took photos (above) of what I found interesting, or merely, different. Because 220v is a lot of voltage supplied to each of these outlets, they each have an on/off toggle switch, which is associated with each outlet. If the outlet is not in use, you are supposed to turn off that outlet. Not having something plugged in, isn’t enough.
In my photo, you can see the “red” part of the on/off switch – the red means it is on and live.
Please feel to send any other questions or even of specific places you’d like me to explore. Of course, I can’t promise, exactly, when normal exploring will happen again. At the moment, I think people are all stocking up to hunker down for a few weeks. If only it could have coincided with a winter storm or really nasty freezing rain? Sunshine, Sunshine stay away a few more weeks, I don’t want to be too tempted to go outside. Stay healthy and wash your hands like you just handled hot peppers and you want to itch your eyes!
Don't take life so seriously.
I'm Jody. I love to travel. I love to take pictures. I love to meet people and find interesting places. I also love to write about and post pix of what I've found. But, I've been told that I write like I talk - in streams of consciousness. So, if proper grammar and well composed sentences are a must for you - my posts will make you crazy. If you want to follow my journey as I learn about really cool places and offer some great tips about living abroad, read on!