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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Fisk

How Do We Stay Warm?

Isn’t Eloise just adorable? I set her next to one of four heaters in our apartment for this blog hah. So a fascinating thing here is in the winter when the heat is “turned on.” In the cities (in City limits), mostly in former Soviet countries, the heat is literally switched on October 15th and is switched off March 15th. What does that even mean? Well, talk about Central heat on a whole other level! Various buildings and homes across the city have these heaters and have water sent from said home or building to a plant in the city to heat the water via gas then send it back to said home or building then is sent throughout the building and to each of these heaters to warm the place up. The nice thing is, these are not hot to the touch so as not to burn anyone or anything. We learned last year at our friends apartment (I think just in older buildings) that if you are on the top floor, you have to screw open the heaters (a knob on the top or bottom of the unit) in each room to draw up the hot water to the top floor first, then it is sent down to each floor consecutively beneath you until it reaches the bottom floor. Here is a picture of a collage of what happened last year when the knobs broke on two of the units!!! They were old and cracked. Poor Andrew actually had to hold the knob on for about 10 min to keep water from spewing until the building maintenance guy could show up and fix it!

Now, also in older buildings you don’t have the option to switch the units off, (Or if you do and you are on the top floor, you can’t, otherwise the other apartments below you won’t get heat) so if you get hot you have to just open windows to balance it out! (Not many local people open the windows) 😂 We actually know other foreigners that leave their windows open all winter. So two cool things about our apartment complex is 1) Our complex has its own water heating unit so it doesn’t get sent to the city one. 2) We can turn off each unit in our apartment so we have the option to climate control throughout the winter. A lot of times we don’t have to turn many on because all the apartments above, below and around us have all their units on (plus floor heating which we never use) so it keeps our apartment toasty! The only bummer thing is we still have to pay for the heat in the winter even if we don’t use it, but I don’t think anyone in the city even has that option 🤷🏼‍♀️ I have heard that the villages and outskirts of the city use coal to heat everything in the winter. So there you go- we’ll stay warm so don’t worry about us over here!!!

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