Don't Assume Anything About Russia - Even Water!

Courtesy of Wikicommons

Since we've been living here more than eight months, we've learned that life in Russia isn't always easy. We bought a new under counter light bar for the kitchen with touch on/off switch. Of course, the on/off part doesn't work. We have to plug it in to use it and unplug when we want to turn it off. Very typical of Russian products...

Even the water system is very different from anything we've ever lived in before. In the cities in Russia, hot water is produced at large boiler plants. There the water is heated and piped out to the flats and homes during the winter.

Hot water boiler
This hot water flows through the radiators in our flat whether we want it to be so warm or not. We've completely closed the valves to our radiators to stop the heat from pouring in. At times, even on the coldest days of winter, we've had to open the windows to cool off our apartment so we could sleep at night. The hot water boilers heat all the homes and apartment buildings in the same way throughout the city.

The system is a mystery to me, but I can tell you it produces very HOT WATER. It's impossible to wash dishes with the water turned to the hottest level using your bare hands. Just ask my husband. It's great for showers, however. I never have to worry about running out of hot water again during my shower.

There is one drawback to this city-supplied hot water. When winter is over, the hot water heat is no longer needed. Most of the boilers can be turned off. Carried over from USSR days, the government  uses these summer months to do maintenance on the boiler systems and the water pipes. They have a rolling system where hot water is turned off in every house and apartment in the city for a week or two during July and August.

Last summer we experienced this first hand. One day only cold water did came out of our hot water faucet. Of course, that meant heating water on the stove to wash dishes. Possible. Washing your hair in cold water. Also possible if you do it quickly. Taking a shower in cold water. We managed to avoid that since the water was turned off the day before we left on vacation. We didn't have to suffer through one of these.

That will be a good thing about being gone this summer, also. We should be able to avoid this shocking experience once again.


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