I really needed a haircut and I got one this morning. I was really looking forward to taking a hot shower after it to wash off any remaining bits of hair. The shower didn’t happen. When we turned on the hot water this morning there was none. Instead, the water coming out of the shower head felt like it was just above freezing. What were we going to do?
The first thing we did was to contact the person who is providing the apartment for us. This required setting up a contact on the cellphone, so I could text him. Once I figured out how to enter International numbers I was set. We texted back and forth until it was clear that nothing more could be done without tools. I did confirm that a picture is worth a thousand words. There was a knob I needed to turn, and I couldn’t find it. I sent a picture by text of what I was looking at and received instructions back that enabled me to locate the knob. I texted my son and he came over with a toolbox and we went to work.
The picture below isn’t very good, but it does give you and idea of what is inside a tankless water heater. These things are everywhere in China. They are becoming more common in the U.S., but the most common water heaters in the states are big tanks. In China these things are everywhere. The water heaters provide whole house heat by heating water that flows through the floors. They also provide on demand hot water for all other household needs. Most of the water here is heated by gas and when the flame doesn’t light there is no heat. That’s what has happened with our water heater.
So, where does flexibility come in? We still had sources of hot water. In every kitchen there is a cordless electric tea kettle. The water here needs to be either filtered or boiled before it is safer for drinking. Chinese people prefer their water hot, so this is not a major inconvenience. Most of the cooking in a Chinese kitchen takes place in a wok and the gas burners on the stove are designed to heat it up very quickly. We used all of these to boil water and used this water, mixed with cold, to get ourselves clean. I used the same method for washing the dishes.
We just heard that we might have a repair person coming on Monday. In the meantime, we do have a way to get clean without freezing ourselves.