Sunday, April 26, 2009

Light electrocution never hurt anyone

There has been quite a range of shower quality here in South America in the hostels and hotels that I´ve stayed in. One time I saw a metal pipe coming out from a wall horizontally that just leaked out water when you turned on the water. They called that a shower in Bolivia.

A lot of the showers in South America have small electronic heater systems attached to the faucet end where the water comes out. Because they are electronic though, they require power from the wall and so they have electric lines tracing along the shower pipe all the way to the end where the water comes out.

I don´t know exactly why this happens, but they have installed these water heaters in a way that whenever you touch the knob to turn the water on or off, you get a mild shock of electricity running through your body. The only way to prevent it is to stand on the little rubber mats they give you on the shower tile floor so that you don´t slip. That way, no electricity runs through your body and into the floor.

It´s crazy in a way but also stupid too. I think it´s because they haven´t properly grounded the electric charge but I guess they don´t feel they need to either. I´m surprised I haven´t been electrocuted yet while showering. But hey, maybe it won´t do anything even if I did since I´ve already been sort of hit by lightning once in Manaus.


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