Sep 4, 2012

K-Fail of the Day: The Hot Water Problem

This is the third installment in a new series called "K-Fails", in which Meg does something dumb because she can't speak Korean.

As you may have surmised from my previous post, I've had a bit of a hot water problem for the last few days. It coincided with the beginning of the month, so I figured the likely problem was something along the lines of the last tenant cancelling the water service when he/she moved out, and it taking effect at the end of the month.

Not having the faintest clue what to do about this, I decided to consult the expert. Cue my building manager (or one of them... there are 3 elderly men who seem to rotate the job of sitting by the fish tank at the front door greeting everyone).  None of them speak a word of English.

After extensive repetition of 내가 온수가 없습니다, which Google tells me means something along the lines of "I don't hot water," I wasn't getting any results. My accent may need some work. I was reduced to repeating 물 (water) over and over again, while miming "shower" and "shivering" before I got him up to my apartment to assess the situation. He ran the tap, poked around in the water heater closet, and (I believe) said in Korean that he was going to go call someone. 

Fast forward five minutes. He came back, smiling. He walked into my apartment, walked over to my thermostat and... wait for it... pushed a button. We were immediately greeted with the sound of water whooshing into the hot water heater in my closet. A minute later, piping hot water was coming out of my bathroom tap.

Upon consulting Google, I have now learned that the label on that particular button means something along the lines of "bath." 


Side note: I promise I'm not actually just bumbling around Seoul committing K-fails all the time. I will have a real update with the goings-on in my life on Thursday. Stay tuned.

Side side note: As requested, here is the picture of the offending thermostat. The button in the bottom middle labeled 목욕 is the offending button. 


  1. omg, can you take a photo of the thermostat. I have the same problem and i have no idea what buttons im pressing.

  2. check it. added the picture. may your water soon run hot like a jimjilbang!