Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Life is Electric!

So I just had a "shower scare". My friends in Guatemala will understand this!

I was semi-enjoying my regular low-pressure, lukewarm shower and had just put the shampoo in my hair when suddenly ... the lights went dim, the water turned ice cold, and sparks started flying from the shower head!! EEKS!!

I jumped back out of the stream of frigid water and exclaimed (literally), "Oh geez!" Then I realized I wasn't dead, so that was awesome. I carefully reached around and turned off the tap. Hmm, now what? I was covered in shampoo! Well, I just switched off the power and finished my shower with cold water and plenty of goosebumps.  :)

My funky electric showerhead.
So what's the problem with electric showerheads? Well, as you can see above, they're usually not installed all that well. Yup, those are live wires running into the shower, partially wrapped up with electrical tape. (Bonus!) The showerhead itself looks kinda new but I don't suppose that matters when the electricity going into the device is crap.
You can see the switch on the top front of the showerhead. Right now it's in the off position, and there is full on and half on. When you turn the water on, you can hear when the heating coil kicks in.
The tube that brings the water to the shower head is plastic and it isn't strong enough to hold the showerhead up. So they tried to make it straighter by taping a stick to it. Hmm. It doesn't work very well, so the head sags and the water sprays towards the front of the shower, not the rear. But you can't use a metal pipe cuz the electricity would travel along it, so I guess plastic piping is the right way to do it.

Electricity here in Guatemala, at least in Panajachel, is not all that advanced. It is rare to find three-prong grounded plugs. Or you find a three-prong outlet but it's not actually grounded anywhere. Makes me nervous! One jolt of power and my computer will be fried. I brought my surge protector power strip with me from Canada but it's useless without a ground. Three-pronged outlets are so rare that Bert just snapped the third prong off his laptop's plug. You gotta do whatcha gotta do!

Moral of the story? *shrug* I guess... live every day as if it's your last cuz your shower could be out to get you. :)


  1. Kim RogersJuly 20, 2016

    Suicide showers gotta love em!!

  2. Us ham operators used to ground our temporary antennae with a plate of steel buried in the ground a few inches or thrown in the lake. You might look into this for your surge protector. I'm sure the internet has some ideas and it would be relatively cheap compared to a new computer.