Sunday, May 20, 2012

When the Hot Water Gets Colder Than the Cold Water Is Cool

I knew the day was coming. The temperature for the past two weeks has been over 105° every single day. At night, the temperature seldom goes below 95°, at least near the heart of the city where I live. I'm sure that somewhere out in the desert temperatures cooler because of the nice breeze and the absence of hundreds of concrete heat storing buildings.  Over the past five days three of them have been over 111°. That is actually the good news, when you consider we just started summer here and the temperatures on average go over 130° daily by the hottest months.  As I write this a 10AM it is 106°.

The other morning I got ready to take my shower in the morning, and noticed that the hot water knob actually seemed to increase water that was cooler than the cold water knob.  Now I realize that someone could have swapped the connections to the pipes but there is less sinister explanation. If you've noticed in the pictures I have sent the buildings here have water tanks on the roofs. They do this to supply water pressure within the building, using low pressure pumps to fill the tanks as needed. It should be noted that Kuwait has no abundant source of fresh water. All the water supply to the pipes in the city is desalinated from seawater at a huge plant just outside the city. There are some brands of bottled water that claim to be from some deep water source, but I'm not sure exactly where that might be located. Anyway, I digress...

The huge tanks on the top of the buildings are in the sun all day long. The tanks sit on top of metal stands which are above white concrete roofs which reflect the heat as well.  It is a glorious natural hot water heater. Since that is the source of the water that comes out of the cold water spigot, when that water reaches 140-180°, that is what you get when you turn on the cold water. My apartment has several small hot water heaters located throughout it. Each of them is controlled by their own switch. So, at this time of year, if you turn that switch off you get a few gallons of cooler water because it is stored inside your air-conditioned space. 

The whole thing is kind of bizarre, and I actually wonder if they do something similar in Arizona or New Mexico in the United States. Anyway, last Wednesday marked the day when my hot water was colder than the cold water was cool.  Can't wait for summer when there will probably be steam coming out of the spigot when I turn on the cold water.

Until next week...


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