Saturday, May 31, 2014

Adventures in Water Pressure

Image source.
Once upon a time, the water in my apartment suddenly stopped.

Okay so actually, this had happened before, so I had an idea about what to do. The previous time, it stopped because the water bill was due, and instead of sending me a bill, the water company decided a more effective way to get the message across would be to shut off my water.

Because, China.

The previous time, I was horribly confused, and lived without water for maybe 2 days, while asking everyone- friends, my students, security guards- what to do, and most of them asked me if I'd paid the bill, and no one seemed particularly surprised/outraged at the idea of my water being shut off without anyone actually sending me a bill.

Oh China.

So anyway. Last week, when my water was mysteriously shut off, I figured it was the same thing, and I should go down to the water company and pay right away- get it fixed as soon as possible.

So I got to the water company, and told them my apartment had no water. They just treated it like business as usual, asked for my address and told me the amount I owed. It was less than 10 US dollars, by the way.

Problem solved. I went off to work, and my boyfriend texted me from my apartment and said the water was back. Yay!

Except not yay.

That night, my boyfriend (who was visiting me for a few days) told me he'd tried to take a shower, and the water pressure was too low to turn on the hot water heater.

Back up, let me explain about the hot water heater.

So when you turn on the faucet, and turn the joystick over to the hot side, after a few seconds you hear some noise like a big fan, coming from a large box on the wall, and then after a few more seconds you get the hot water. I don't get it- I've never seen this design in America- but the point is, you can hear the hot water heater turn on and off, and it's caused by pointing the faucet joystick to the hot side, plus a decent water pressure.

And my boyfriend found that in the shower, the water pressure wasn't high enough. So no hot water.

He had then called the water company and told them, and they closed and opened the valve while he was still on the phone, and it seemed to be fixed.

Sort of.

Later, when I was about to shower, he told me he had some advice to get the shower to work. See, the water pressure is high enough when the faucet part of the shower is on, but when you switch to the showerhead, you better not have the showerhead mounted up on the wall because by the time the water gets up there, the pressure's not high enough to keep the hot water going. (A photo of my shower is here, for reference.) So you have to hold the showerhead with your hand, don't lift it up too high, and hope that the hot water stays on.

So... Yeah. That was an adventure. But I showered successfully.

The next day I called the water company and told them what the problem was. The woman on the phone asked me my address, and then she was saying something about how they were going to check it or something, I didn't catch all of it (she's speaking Chinese, obviously) but I kept saying "okay, okay" and then she was like "okay bye" and hung up and I was like WAIT WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

Image source.

Anyway, there are several more (shockingly similar) phone calls involved in this story, but in the end it got fixed. Yep. Always an adventure.

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