Monday, February 15, 2010

Of Winter and Japanese Water Heaters

My water heater picked the absolutely worst time to break. See, if this was during the humid hell that is Summer in Tokyo, I would have probably welcomed the sudden decision by my water heater to stop working. Unfortunately though, this is the coldest part of the winter and the idea of turning into an ice cube during shower is not particularly appealing.

Old waterheater First a little background on water heaters around here… They use gas to heat up water and the heaters themselves are actually provided by the gas company. The heater consists of two parts – an outside unit which is hooked up to gas and water and does the actual heating when you turn on the tap, and an inside unit which is this nice little display in your kitchen. The inside unit lets you turn the outside unit on or off as well as set a desired temperature for the hot water.  Pretty cool, right? Now, what you see on the right here is what mine was showing Friday night. Yup – “Minus zero”. It turns out this is an error code and also explains why all of a sudden I was out of hot water.  Going through manuals online which turned out to be all in Japanese, decrypting what I can, and finally getting help from a friend, I was able to ascertain that I had to unplug the unit outside, wait for 20 minutes and then plug it back in and presumably things would work. I won’t go into the details but let me just say there was no plug outside and I had to pick which fuse to turn off and eventually the unit did work but for barely long enough for me to take a shower.

New waterheater After my friend contacted the company that handles renting apartments, they reassured us that the device would be replaced and today, I came home to find a nice man from Tokyo Gas replacing the unit with a nicer, newer one. Well, I am happy to report that things are now back to normal. I have hot water and everything which is good news since I was sure the reset trick would no longer work with the older one. Oh and I like the new LED color too – nice and green :)

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