Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Grohe Scald-o-matic

Trying to take a shower in Europe for an American is often a challenge initially.  In France you can't find a shower curtain or door or wash cloth.  In Germany there's often a wide range of temperatures within just a few seconds while trying to rinse shampoo out of one's hair.  In The Netherlands, there's the Grohe Scald-o-matic.

The Amsterdam Eden Hotel American, which is over a 110 years old, they've updated the bath room plumbing and fixtures.  Pictured above is the Grohe faucet model that our room had earlier this month.  Checking the Grohe web-site, it appears they no longer sell the Scald-o-matic, but you can see it here.
What I learned from trial and error, is that the knob on the left sends water UP the tube to the shower, or DOWN to the spout into the tub, and the knob on the right controls temperature.  OK, that's fair enough.  And figuring it out is not too hard, but notice the two feed pipes that come out of the wall.  The one on the left is HOT (not warm, not a little hot, but blister causing hot).  The one on the left is cold.  When you first approach the shower's faucet, and it's not been in use within the last 20 or 30 minutes, all of the metal surfaces are ambient room temperature, leaving one to guess what is what.  As you attempt to figure out flow and temperature and water direction, the left hand feed pipe heats up rapidly, and is obviously not guarded at all.

Now, I am a silly conservative when it comes to water.  Conservative that is, in actually conserving water - turning it off when I am lathering up my hair with shampoo, or washing my skin with soap, and then turning it back on to rinse - not "conservative" in trying to use up all the Earth's resources as fast as Hush Dimbulb, Glenn Feckless, and Bill O'Falafel  tell their devotees that American Christians [TM]  have the Gawd given right to use as much as possible.  So after getting my hair wet, I turned off the water using the left knob, and lathered my hair with shampoo.  Easy, no worries.  Hair rinsed, I go to turn off the water again to soap up my skin.  But this time, the water had been running long enough to heat up the hot water feed pipe.  Yikes!  Having your fingers just a few millimeters over the edge of the plastic knob brings them in contact with the scalding hot feed pipe.  If I had little kids, or grand children, I'd not let them get within arm's length of such a faucet.  Next time, I shall be more wary.

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