Yippie, lukewarm shower

The Incas were great architects, but that was a long time ago. Building standards in Peru nowadays are pretty sad.

One of the more annoying characteristics of homes here in Cusco is that most of them lack hot water heaters and only use a little point-of-use heater at the shower head. I just installed this heater this morning, after the previous one blew up yesterday:

Point of use water heater

Point of use water heater

Yeap, those are 220V live electrical wires you’re looking at in the shower. In our buildings there is no ground wire, so you ground the thing to a nearby wall. I found out long ago that you don’t touch these heaters or metal window frames while you’re in the shower…

The heater itself cost me S/.37 (~$12) and is a certifiable piece of junk. It’s life expectancy is about 6 months, and the water is only lukewarm. When this one self-destructs in a few months I think I’ll look for a bigger and better one 🙂

6 thoughts on “Yippie, lukewarm shower

  1. They have those POS’s in Colombia too. But mine will actually heat the water to a scalding temperature if I turn the water pressure low enough.

    I know what you mean about touching anything too. It’s a light shock, a vibrating shock. Never enough to knock you down, but enough to make you jerk your hand / foot away 🙂

  2. If there is anything I dislike about Perú its how the delicious food often tears apart your insides and how the shower heaters suck!

    My first visit to Lima I stayed in a very nice house in Miraflores. The shower I thought had one of those massaging heads that you could turn to a different setting. I attempted to turn the setting but was in for a “shock”. Really you dont even have to touch the heater but put your hand in the water streaming directly out of it and you can feel the electricity in the water. It was kinda fun to mess with for a minute then I quickly decided I didn’t like electricity in my shower…

    My second visit in Lima I stayed in San Borja. The house was ok but there were cats and dogs that created a lovely fragrance daily. It was tolerable until little gifts were being left literally on the welcome mats. Needless to say they weren’t paper trained i guess or trained at all for that matter.

    The shower another story. There was a colombian girl staying there. According to the owner the colombian girl paid for replacement of the shower head a week into my visit. I never experienced any problems with the shower head in that time frame, but, whatever.

    Three more weeks pass and a wake up and hope in the shower, lo and behold, it’s freezing! I chalked it up to maybe having the switch off. Came home from work and checked it out. Nope, switch was on. I delayed talking to the owner of the house a few days for the fact i was sick and didn’t feel like dealing with her as she was full of charm and i actually hadn’t seen her around much and didn’t feel like seeking her. Anyways, after a week of cold showers (likely the cause of my cold) I talked to her about it and she tried to claim that I broke it. I tried to explain how under normal usage a shower heater could break? Anyways she said that I would have to pay for it (50 or 75 soles according to her) and also leave the house a week earlier than I had paid for. Fine. I’d leave. For the next week I went to work and mainly stayed out at a polleria or some corner store eating and drinking beers or actually using “neighbornet” since most the time she had the internet turned off and always off at her midnight bedtime.

    The night before i was suppose to leave I stayed out in Los Olivos at a karaoke and a restaurante with some friends. I arrived home around 2am to give me enough time to pack my stuff, 2 suitcases, laptop, backpack, take a shower and tip toe out to the street at 4am.

    With all my stuff i went to the polleria I drank beers at. It was quite a dive so i knew there wouldn’t be anyone there on a weekday. I ate and had some cola. I went to the juice bar at 7. Hung out there and then i moved into my next room. Within two weeks in that place the water heater broke. To avoid another shower heater problem i tolerated cold showers for week until my date to fly home arrived.

    Sorry, but to make a long story short the heaters are horrible. I ditched out on an aprovechadora. And thats about it. In the end I though it was funny she was trying to charge me for it. I know landlord/tenant rights in america and didnt figure they differed in Lima. My friends and there families confirmed that. I hate being taken advantage of in America so the last thing I wanted was to be taken advantage of because i’m a gringo.

  3. Thanks Matthew, great story. These heaters really are pieces of junk, sometimes they last a year, sometimes 2 months.

    Also, here in Cusco taking cold showers isn’t really an option because it gets very cold at night 😦

  4. Pingback: The Latin American Bathroom Orientation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s