My Tub Runneth Over


In Japan we typically don’t have water heater tanks. Partly because they take up so much space, but mostly because it wasn’t that long ago that hot water was boiled up with a fire. We usually have inline heating; when we turn on the water, the heater turns on. It takes a little bit to heat up the water.

Because earthquakes are so common here and houses were traditionally very flammable, we have sensors in our gas meters to shut the gas off when a line is broken. This is not the only situation that kills the gas flow. If the gas is used for a long time the switch is activated.

When we are filling our tubs for a bath, some houses have an electronic sensor for flow. We set how many liters we want and we get an alarm when the tub is ready. New ones actually have a voice to tell you that your bath is ready. My tub takes a long time to fill, so I usually start the water and head back to the one room I heat. Unfortunately, the alarm is not so loud and, much like a crow or a monkey, I am easily distracted.

Last night when I remembered that the water was running, I rushed in and found that, not only was the tub running over, but the water was frigid. I had burned off gas to heat the tub and then wasted a load of water which just cooled it back off. Afterward I couldn’t get any heat and passed on my evening bath. This morning I went out to reset the shut-off.

Before attempting reset, all gas valves in the house should be closed. There is a button on the meter (usually under a removable cap), which must be pushed in all the way and held until a red indicator light is activated. After that it takes a couple minutes to reset. The behavior of the indicator light is not standardized. My current meter has a light which will turn on and then blink, but my first place had a light which blinked when there was a fault.


2 Responses to “My Tub Runneth Over”

  1. fightingwindmills Says:

    Oh man. That’s terrible. I never liked bathing in Japan and when I took my children there on vacation they might have gotten 3 baths in 2 weeks because they hated it so much. It’s just uncomfortable to be in a really cold room in really hot water, you know? If you live there maybe you develop a taste for it, but if you are 2 years old and vacationing there it is torture.

  2. びっくり Says:

    My trick is to close the window and door when I fill the tub. The tiles are still a little cool, but the air is like a steam room. Then it is quite nice to soak in the tub. Of course, I open the window afterward to keep mold from appearing, so when I take a morning shower it is a bit chilly.

    Because of my afro-like hair, I generally have to shower in the morning, just to get my hair under control. This afternoon, I will get most of it clipped off, so I can bathe/shower anytime I want.

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