Thursday, December 13, 2007

May 13, 2007 - Hot Shower!

Talk about your HOT showers!

I finished my usual luke-warm shower, turned off the water, and looked up. Yikes! A big chunk of plastic had melted, and was hanging by strings of plastic from the shower line (like cheese on a pizza).

You can´t visit (or even read about) Costa Rica without hearing a shower story. Usually it involves sparks or shocks. Showers are usually called ¨suicide showers,¨ and sometimes electric pumps. Either way, they are electric, and warm the water in the shower head instead of depending on a central hot water heater. The electricity turns on when there is enough water running through the shower. I´d say we were pretty careful (remember, just because you´re paranoid, doesn´t mean everyone´s not out to get you). We check to make sure showers are grounded; we don´t switch from hot to warm while the shower is running; if the shower sprays to the side, we get it fixed...

So, we show the pizza cheese to the landlady right away, and she calls an electrician. He comes by to fix it later that same day (whew!). He explains to Rick what he did, and what happened. The heavy plastic item that melted was a fuse - so it sorta did what it was supposed to do (sorta). The shower had a circuit-breaker in line, but the amount of electricity required to trip it was too high - the fuse melted before the the breaker tripped. So, he took it out of the circuit (and just left it there on the shower wall, clipped wires and all), and wired the shower into the house circuit breakers. He checked it out and reconnected the ground. Our shower now has several wires spliced (pretty ugly), but it is safer. And warmer! He also showed us how it had been wired backwards - so the ¨hot¨ setting is really only warm, and the ¨warm¨ setting is really hot.

We tried it - it works; we´re not dead...

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