If you travel to a developing country or are considering living in a developing country such as Costa Rica, you should be prepared for the shocking reality of electric showers. Electric showers are very common in Costa Rica as they provide an inexpensive way to heat water. Our rental home in Santa Elena has two bathrooms, each equipped with an electric shower. Our hostel in Quepos, La Rana, also had an electric shower.
The first time I saw them, I totally freaked, even though I had read about electric showers before as I was researching moving to Latin America. Many of the upscale hotels will not have electric showers. I bet it is because they realize the tourists will freak at the sight of the wires coming out of the shower head and the unnerving “hum” that the shower makes when its turned on. After living here for a month and surviving multiple showers without electrocution, I have to say I like these showers.
Electric showers work by heating the water in the tubing as it comes out of the shower head. This means that as long as you have electricity, you have limitless hot water in the shower. I take long showers so this is a big plus. My landlady also told me that electric showers are cheaper than electric water heaters because you are only heating the water that you need real time.
The most obvious downside is that most of us are unnerved by the thought of mixing water and electricity. A 5 year-old will tell you that you don’t do that. A little bit of water sometimes leaks around the tubing, which means that you get an occasional drip with cold water while you shower. If there is too much water running through the tubing, it will not heat up well. This means that to get a really hot shower, you need to run the water pressure at lower volume to make sure it heats up in the tubing. The other downside is that we only have hot water in the shower. All other sources such as the washer or faucets or sinks only have cold water. We use a dishwashing cream that is specially formulated for cold water which suds up well to clean greasy dishes. Finally, you cannot take a hot shower during a power outage, which honestly I would not want to do anyway.
Worth the shock…
The downsides of electric showers are worth the price of living in this paradise I am lucky enough to call home. After all, what is the point of moving to a developing country to live a simpler life without having to give up a few creature comforts? I would not trade my ability to spend all day on Saturday looking out my front porch while my kids play in the yard for the fancy water heater that I had in the USA.
What are you willing to give up to have a different life?