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Thread: Hot water in other countries

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* yuandrew's Avatar
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    Default Hot water in other countries

    I guess most people in modernized countries takes a hot water heater for granted but there are many places in the world where centrally located water heaters are not as common. While searching around for showerheads on the web, I happend to come across a common item used in Costa Rica and some Latin American countries where you have water and electricity mixed. Yep, that's a knife blade switch for a disconnect in the shower enclosure.
    http://static.twoday.net/sauertopf/images/KF4_4.jpg

    The showerhead itself is actually the water heater with electricity running through an internal element that is activated by waterflow. Although there are a few "good" installs; searching for pictures of these units show most of them hooked up with just peices of wire spliced using electrical tape on the connections . Talk about having a "Hot" shower. I did read of some "shocking experiences"

    Installation and startup video. At least it's tankless
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tnW72iSLio

    From Thailand, here's something a little more familiar except for a missing cover; not to mention a propane tank kept indoors.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJQEOjnbyC8
    Last edited by yuandrew; 03-15-2007 at 10:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Somy Nex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    interesting post, cause i notice it myself, moving back and forth between the US/UK & malaysia/southeast asia.

    here in south east asia at least, there doesn't seem to be much use for piped hot water... i always thought it was because it's hot here anyway and our 'cold' water is whatever ambient temperature it is, which does fine, even for showers cause of the heat =)

    most of our home showers here are like this: http://panasonic.com.my/products/lif...r/DH_3CT2M.htm they are electric and run off a common power plug, or you can have it built into a wall switch if you want.

    for water used for cooking, if it has to be hot, then it is usually boiled, and propane gas here is still much cheaper than using electricity in terms of a power source and commonly used. seeing the piped hot water coming out of the taps in both the US/UK, which are often milky, i'd usually boil or microwave cold water for cooking anyway. whether it is safe or not, i still don't trust it for consumption =P
    Somy Nex

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    Wow that's scary! Think of the all lawsuits if those were used in the U.S.

  4. #4
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    I not sure about 2007 but these type of water heaters were around in 1976 when I was traveling through the outback. Kinda scary the first time you used one, no knife switches here just plugged into a 240 Volt outlet.
    Norm

  5. #5
    Flashaholic Fluffster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    The sight of this makes me glad that hot water is almost free here. Yay for guiltless hour-long thunderous showers!
    .sig? I don't need no steenkin' .sig!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    Somy, I'm sure that milky appearance in the water that you find in the US/UK is from the aerator. Our faucets have screens on them which are intended to mix air with the water. Our water is fine, you don't need to boil it.

    I know what you mean about the ambient temperature being fine for showers. My water heater stopped working in July and as long as daytime highs were in the 90's F I could get by. I got the water heater fixed by the time the outside temperatures started to drop.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Somy Nex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    Quote Originally Posted by h_nu
    Somy, I'm sure that milky appearance in the water that you find in the US/UK is from the aerator. Our faucets have screens on them which are intended to mix air with the water. Our water is fine, you don't need to boil it.

    I know what you mean about the ambient temperature being fine for showers. My water heater stopped working in July and as long as daytime highs were in the 90's F I could get by. I got the water heater fixed by the time the outside temperatures started to drop.
    yeah i actually like hot showers especially during winter time (nothing worse for me than waking up cold and jumping into a cold shower!), but here in the tropics, it's usually at least 32C/90F, with a heck of a lot of humidity, and the regular water will do just fine!

    i'll have to reserve judgment on the hot water from the faucets though! both hot and cold come out through the same screen, and even after the water has settled, the hot water still looks milky to me, while the cold water is just fine from the start! i'm sure it's probably safe... i'd bathe in it, but i still don't trust it for my cooking!
    Somy Nex

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* greenlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    I used the 'shocker' in Antigua, Guatemala. That was a treat. At least the water was hot!! I don't know why I continued using it. I'm sure people have died from those.

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* greenLED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    If I may interject the "local" experience, that pic yuandrew linked to is NOT your typical installation... ...and, yes, there are household with water heating tanks. Those shower heads work well when the source water is not too cold, but I'm not sure how much value they'd have if you installed one (properly, of course) in a US home and tried to take a shower in the winter - maybe luke-warm water, at best. I guess there's different ratings of the heating component as well, so you could get a more powerful one.

    I've seen those shower heads in South America as well. The "shocking" is more like a slight tingle, and usually a problem with poor grounding.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Hot water in other countries

    In Spain in the 60's these were common, at least in resort motels. It was easy to stand in the shower and unplug them.They heated the water until they were unplugged and in the month I was there more than one person foud the water boiling when they turned them on. One guy didn't get in the shower to plug it in, got a shock and staggered backwards out of the bathroom, across the living room, out onto the second floor porch and was stopped by the railing.

    Given a choice and reasonable care, I still liked those better than the coal powered hot water heaters common in Germany at the time. Just picture an American style 30 gallon water heater with a small door at the bottom to build a coal fire.

    I lived on a beach in Baja in the 70's and had warm water in summer and cold in "winter". Standing under a chain and knowing that when you pull it you will be inhaling for the next five minutes makes you think maybe bathing *is* unhealthy.

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