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Hot Water Showers in the Philippines

By on August 1, 2010 in Travel & Expat Living

In the Philippines very few houses have centralized hot water systems and when providing hot water for showers the small units on the wall that plug in to the mains are the most common.

I was taking a shower recently in a new apartment I recently moved into and all of a sudden there was a flash of blinding light and huge bang following by the sensation of small debris falling all over me.

I jumped out of the shower realizing that it must be related to the hot water service and fearful of electrocution. Upon surveying the damage I saw that the wire to the wall socket has exploded yet the hot water service seemed to be unscathed.

This was the same hot water service I had installed in my last place and it had function fine for twelve months.  The question is why was there a problem now and why near the wall socket.  I discovered the reason later when I quizzed the guy that had installed it for me.

In the Philippines they have certified electricians but it’s more common for people to do their own and the guy I used claimed to be proficient at wiring as well as many other handyman tasks. He had connected the unit in the last place so I thought nothing of giving him the task in the new place.

So what was the problem? On my instructions he had left the previous wiring in place which I thought and easier and cheaper solution to patching up the wall if the wire was removed.  He did not advise me that he needed new wiring instead using some discarded internet cabling.  I was using the shower for more than two weeks before it exploded.

The inadequate wire could not handle the voltage and eventually turned into one huge fuse which blew.  Seeing that there was now a one foot gap of space between the mains and hot water unit I decided it would be safe to finish the shower.

After obtaining suitable electrical wiring and a new plug I got him to test the hot water unit and it was ok protected by the fuse I suppose.  A day later I was back to having hot showers.

I had assumed that the guy had the basic electrical knowledge to know about the type of wiring needed for connecting up a device to the mains.  Assumptions can be a dangerous thing.

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