RT Cunningham


An Electric Water Heater in the Philippines - I Don’t Need One

electric water heater My wife, Josie, and I are having an ongoing argument. She wants some kind of water heater in our house and I don’t want to replace the one I switched off in 2017.

I don’t know how long they’re supposed to last but ours has lasted more than 11 years. It was badly corroded on the outside but it still worked when I turned it off.

Our Old Electric Water Heater

I turned it off after we got an outrageous electric bill. The cause is still unknown but I don’t want to take any chances. A brother-in-law, who thinks he’s an electrician, was the last one to touch it before I got the bill. The water heater had stopped working a few months before and he’s the guy who fixed it.

The water heater was really corroded on the outside. I didn’t pick it out when the house was built. The contractor did. If it had been my choice, it would have been a stainless steel model. Just like the electric stove and the refrigerator inside the house. Still, if I knew where to buy naval jelly in Olongapo, I could have kept it from corroding so much.

Bathing without a Water Heater

I can understand why some Filipinos want hot water to bathe with. The water coming through the pipes cools down at night. The people who have to work in the morning and the kids heading to school prefer hot water to cold. Some heat up water in a pot on the stove and mix it with water in a bucket (in the bathroom) to keep it from being too cold for them.

I figured out how to take cold showers since I don’t have to go anywhere in the morning. The secret is to wait until mid-afternoon, when the temperatures are higher. The water coming through the pipes tends to be warmer before nightfall. I spent a few months in 2017 and several months in 2018 taking cold showers that didn’t feel like cold showers. I’m sure I’ll do the same when we return to the Philippines.

A Tankless Water Heater?

If it’s something I want to do, I can order a tankless water heater through Lazada for under $100 (less than 5000 pesos). The issue is running electricity and pipes (or pipe hoses) to and from the unit. There’s only one electrical outlet in the master bedroom bathroom and it’s on the opposite wall from the shower fixtures. It wouldn’t be too difficult to work with piping, but I don’t want to run wires along the wall (which is made of cement).

My electrically-inclined brother-in-law installed and replaced tankless water heaters at a resort he used to work at. He said they were easy to install. Okay, but I don’t want one and I really don’t need one. Hot showers are nice but they aren’t necessary. There’s only a couple or three months where it gets cold enough to want one.

No Water Heater Replacement

If I get my way, there will never be a new electric water heater of any kind installed at our house. Not unless electricity becomes as cheap as water. I don’t use an air conditioner most of the year for another, yet related reason. I don’t like high electric bills.

Except for about three months out of the year in my part of the Philippines, I can sleep with electric floor fans blowing at me. Usually just one. During the hot part of the dry season, the heat becomes too much for me. With hot water, it’s somewhat the same thing, just during different months.

I like to keep Josie happy but there are some things I need to ignore. Her desire for an electric water heater is one of them.

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By RT Cunningham
February 21, 2019
House and Home