Riddle me this…

10 Jan

We’ve been in Ireland almost a full year, yet there is one thing that still hasn’t made sense to me.

The electric shower.

“What is an electric shower?” you ask.  Why, it’s a box on the wall of the shower, that you turn on and it heats up the water instantaneously as you shower.

It’s actually a cool concept.  Having an electric shower means you never run out of hot water.  Having two electric showers in your house means that two people can be in two separate showers, having their shower as hot as they like.

In a family of six, this is really quite a handy thing.  Just turn on the power to the box (which in our house is a string hanging down from a box on the ceiling), then turn on the shower in the stall, and set the temperature to what you’d like. Miriam can shower upstairs while I hose Maura off downstairs.

It sounds like I like them, so why the confusion over them?

Well…this is where I get lost…

They have boxes, run by electricity, inside your shower. Where you are showering, with water spraying everywhere around it.

But the light switches for our bathrooms?  Are outside of the bathroom.  And bathrooms do not have power outlets for the most part. Some newer ones I’ve been in have special outlets for electric razors, which do you no good when you’re standing there with dripping hair and no where to plug in your hair dryer.  I’m guessing this is all done for safety purposes, so you don’t accidentally electrocute yourself while turning on the light or whatnot.

So if you’re still following along  – no outlet, no light switch inside the bathroom.

And yet there are electric showers.

After almost a year, it still doesn’t make any sense to my American brain.


21 Responses to “Riddle me this…”

  1. Lisa Jane January 10, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    Its against the law to any any power outlets in Irish bathrooms (like against building codes). And I’m irish and I don’t really understand the electric shower thing either 😛

  2. Dina January 10, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    Many houses are planned and building is supervised by men. Sometimes men, when planning houses, don’t think about the necessity of hairdryers or electric toothbrushes being used in the bathroom. My mom when her house was planned, asked for power outlets in every corner. In the end, she had about half the power outlets she had asked for actually build in the spots that she had planned them for.

  3. Donna January 10, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    I think it’s some kind of a zen koan. If you sort out the answer you’ll know the meaning of all life as well as where I left my sunglasses and the book I was reading and….and…
    I’m enjoying your writing and look forward to the book. Thank you.

  4. Alessio January 10, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    Four years in England and it doesn’t really makes sense to my Italian brain as well 🙂 Very nice blog!

  5. Karin January 10, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    In an episode of the TV show House Hunters the Real Estate Broker referred to something similar in Nicaragua as a “suicide shower”. Your version looks safe, but their version had the electricity at the shower head, not on the wall. I wonder if this could pass code in US? I’m guessing not.

  6. Covered In Roses January 10, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Yep – makes no sense at all. 🙂

  7. Mary Marianne Lynch Trana January 10, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    I laughed out loud when I read this post! I too had the same question! Lisa Jane’s comment answers the question, but still….. LOLOLOL

  8. lifelibertyeducation January 10, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Never understood the logic there either but I do miss my electric shower and endless hot water.

  9. Mara January 10, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Yeah, I remember the electric shower. I always got in and got out as fast as I could. I always felt like I just a moment away from being electrocuted. Something else I never understood were the separate rooms for the shower and toilet. And the room with the toilet had no sink. It was like that when I lived in France too.

  10. Janice January 10, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Hahaha–I’ve watched dozens of Househunters International and wondered what those were. It’s a great idea, but it seems like it could be geographically located a little farther from the water! Seems like if the water got into the electrical part of it, the hair dryer would be a moot point!

  11. Eileen Hegarty (@allovus) January 10, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    How an electric power shower works: in a nutshell

    Cold water flows in from the cold pipe.
    Electrical energy flows into the heating element.
    The heating element heats the cold water.
    The thermostat constantly measures the temperature of the heated water.
    If the heated water is too cold, the thermostat turns the heating element on; if the water is too hot, it turns the heating element off.
    The pump increases the flow of hot water.
    Hot water flows out through the outlet hose toward the nozzle.
    Holes in the nozzle turn the rush of hot water into a diffuse, efficient spray.

  12. Candes January 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    They do have them in the States, but they are larger units mounted on the outside of the house or in a utility room or chase. They’re often confused for endless hotwater heaters, which are similar, but are designed to supply a house with 2-3 bathrooms, kitchen, and utilityroom. We’v been looking into an electric shower here in AZ fr my mother’s bathroom. They can’t be mounted in the shower here, or inside a living space. And they cost tons! But, it would be worth it for my mother, who’s bathroom is way on the other sid of the house. It takes 8-9 minutes for the hot water to reach her. Still, not in th shower, lol.

  13. ordinaryandbeyond January 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Sounds similar to something we’ve only heard of here in Panama, and what Karin referred to as a “suicide shower”. It doesn’t sound like it’s the same thing, but still! Would make me hurry when showering!

    Thanks for following my blog! Both my husband and I have Irish ancestors and it’s one of the places we would like to live sometime for a little while. I know I loved it when I visited there a few years ago. 🙂

    • phoebz4 January 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

      Your new home is just gorgeous! I enjoyed seeing your pictures – and love the idea of a fruit seller coming to my street!

  14. C. January 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Come on, an electric shower makes more sense than having two separate taps for hot and cold water!

    • C. January 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

      Riddle me that… As a Mexican living in Ireland for more than 15 years, I have gotten used to the ideocincracies of this lovely country… I was in the US a few times last year and despite knowing this, I now find it hard to u detest and 😉

      • phoebz4 January 11, 2012 at 5:34 am #

        Well, now we know where Shel Silverstein got his inspiration for “Where the Sidewalk Ends” ;

  15. Wendy January 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    I was at Ace Hardware here in AZ and someone from Mexico had one of the shower head heaters that I have read about from south of the AZ border. All of the clerks were running over to see it. I’m sure your Irish boxes are safer than the shower head version. I have read many stories of shocking shower experiences with those.

    • phoebz4 January 11, 2012 at 5:31 am #

      I don’t think I could live with a shower head heater!

  16. Lacy January 13, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    I love the electronic water heating device… In our house if u are showing and someone washes there hands. You will freezing your butt off! Ice cold water comes out the shower!
    So I’m going see if this will help me ! Thanks for telling me about it!

  17. Suzi January 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    almost 9 years in England and it still doesn’t make sense to me either!

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