Electric Showers?! How Shocking! (Are They Really Suicide Showers?)

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When I stepped in the shower for the first time in Ecuador I was shocked to see wires coming out of the shower head! I could not believe what I was seeing! My whole life I was taught that electricity and water make a deadly mix.

I didn’t know if I should turn it on or not. I called Bryan over to take a look and see what he thought. We determined that it must be OK because the wires were coming out of the top where we thought (and hoped) the water could not reach them. So I held my breath and started the electric shower.

As I think about that now, I can’t help but smile. I took a shower every day for more than a year with that type of a setup and thought nothing of it. It did take a little getting used to because there was a bit of a trick to it.

If the water flow was too fast the shower would be cold, the flow had to be started slowly and then left to warm up. Then the flow could be gradually increased until it was coming out reasonably fast and warm at the same time.

I have never been in an “electric shower” that had a powerful flow and was hot at the same time. It can be a little annoying when you are used to a hot powerful shower, but if an electric shower is what the apartment you want has, you can get used to it as long as the building is wired properly.

If it’s not, the shower will fluctuate, much the way the lights brighten and dim as the electricity flows unevenly throughout the building. If this is the case, you may not be very happy with your morning shower. You may be even grumpier when you come out, than you were when you went in.

If you don’t want to deal with that, make sure you check the shower setup before you move in. If it has an electric shower head you will be able to tell right away because you can see the wires coming out of the showerhead. If you don’t see wires, then the shower is heated by propane.

Some apartments have the propane heating unit right in the apartment, and you have to take care of setting it how you want it. Others have them in a central location; if this is the case you will probably forget all about it. You might even think the water is coming out of a hot water tank, just like in the States or Canada, if that is what you were used to.

Are electric shower heads safe? Yes. I guess you could say that we are living proof of that.


Have you ever seen an electric shower?

Culture shock can set in pretty fast the first time you see a shower head with wires sticking out of it!
That’s what happened to us. I didn’t know if I should get in or not.

Are Electric Showers Safe?

That question was one of the first things that went through my mind as I stepped out of the shower stall. I had gotten in, but was too afraid to even turn the water on, so I got right back out!

This happened on our first morning in Ecuador, it was my first taste of expat culture shock.

The first thing I did was call Bryan into the bathroom to check it out. We were a little freaked out by how it looked!

But after talking it over, we figured it had to be safe, if that’s how Ecuadorians shower every day. So I gave it a try, and it was fine.

Now, over 5 years later, I take a shower in an electric shower every day and think nothing of it.


Are Electric Showers Really Suicide Showers?

I have heard some stories of people getting an electric shock, but it’s never happened to me, my husband or our daughter. I think there may be a risk of shock if you touch the shower-head while the water is running.

There really is no need to touch an electric shower-head while the water is on because, unlike other showerheads, it’s directly above you. So there is no need to adjust the angle.


How Do Electric Showers Compare?

Sad to say, not very well.

Electric showers can be a little frustrating.

You have to choose pressure or heat. You can’t have it both ways, at least I’ve never seen it.

As the pressure goes up, the water get’s colder. There is only one tap in an electric shower – cold. As you turn the tap, more water flows through the electric shower-head, and it can’t keep up.

There is a little trick to it. If you turn the tap just a little at a time, let it warm up, then turn it a little more… you can have a half-decent shower.

But an electric shower will never hold a candle to what you are probably used to. A hot shower with lots of pressure. The nice thing is, you’ll get used to it. It’s just a normal part of life for our family now, and we look forward to our shower every morning, just like we used to. It is kind of funny though, how we get so excited when we travel and get to use a shower with lots of pressure and heat :).

Have you ever seen an electric shower? Have you used one? Please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.

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  1. Just had a scary experience in Guatemala. I didn’t know about the pressure so I used low pressure for about 3x (I just prefer low pressure not knowing there’s an impact in heating. And when i was almost done I heard boiling so I turned it off but water continued and there was so much smoke and burnt plastic smell. I’m ok but I’m afraid to use it again. The host checked and they said it’s working again so I don’t think they’re gonna change anything. I’m afraid it already burnt or damaged something there as the burned plastic smell lingers. Does that make sense? I wouldn’t have a proper shower for a week. I’m thinking using a bucket from the sink.

    Thank you for writing about this, I found few people sharing about this.

    1. Sounds like a rough way to start the day. I don’t feel comfortable troubleshooting this without being there. And when we lived abroad, we hired a tech to come in a few times to check our heater.

      In regards to safety, the propane heaters seem to cause more trouble than the electric ones. Sometimes the propane water heaters are installed somewhere with poor ventilation and the carbon monoxide will collect. It wasn’t uncommon to hear about resulting deaths from this setup.

      If you aren’t confident in the shower setup, a sink or bucket wash might be the best solution. One a side note, these shower heads aren’t expensive – you could offer to purchase one for your host.

  2. I, too, met my first electric shower in Ecuador. We had a Spanish language class that morning in which I learned a word for fear and then said I was afraid of the electric shower. When I got back to my host family that afternoon, they explained that I had nothing to be afraid of. They also explained that I should not shower while anyone was doing anything else involving electricity because then the housemaid would have to take the broom outside to flip the circuit breaker for the house which was mounted above the front door. Ah, I thought, that explains why my morning shower had gotten hot, then cold, then hot again.

  3. When I was backpacking Latin America in the mid-seventies last century the electrical shower heads in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador were a hell of a lot more scary than those in the pix here.
    Us experienced travelers had a very simple solution: Ask the GH owner: “Hay un balde?” Put the bucket under the shower head, turn the water on and wait till your
    bucket is full with warm water. Done. Turn the water off, take off your take hiking
    boots, undress and Roberto is your uncle.
    Now that I spend part of the year in Laos I had a wooden house built. All wires (with different thickness depending on what you want to wire) are connected with twist connectors – not electrical tape. All wires are inside flexible plastic tubes for additional protection.
    Wherever there is a connection (with twist connectors, even available in Laos) the
    connecting wires are housed in a connector box for additional protection and safety.
    This is an easy and cheap solution – I cannot understand why anyone would put up with dangling wires taped up as shown in the pix. If the problem is inside the shower head – get a new one and install it properly, see above !!!!
    I am not an electrician – I just googled my way thru this whole wiring business and spoke to some of my falang (gringo) friends . Not difficult to do.

  4. The electric shower you showed in the photo would not meet electric codes in any country I am familiar with, and certainly not in the US or Canada. The fact that you were not shocked by it does not mean it is safe – it only means you were not shocked by it.
    Not all electric showers have wires coming out of them, as a matter of fact most don’t.

    1. Meeting code and being common are two different things. Things are different outside of North America…
      Death from carbon monoxide (propane water heaters) is not uncommon. I haven’t heard of any deaths from the electric showers.

  5. My first visit to the Dominican republic. My daughter and I rented a cute little apartment. I loved it until I stepped in the shower. Now I am not easily intimidated and know how to go with the flow she to speak, but honestly I was petrified. I love long hot showers, even in hot countries, but I looked up and saw a mangle of electric wires in the shower I was out in a split second. I actually did some testing before I would get back in. Finally I eased in to taking short showers. But once in a while I would get this little buz, weird feeling when I touched the faucet. Yikes, I jumped everytime. That was 10 years ago. Now we live here and believe it or not we are thinking about putting one in. But I am very insistent I dont want to see any bare wires or even capped wires. Calling my plumber and electrician tomorrow. Ha ha..

  6. My rented apartment in Nicaragua is one of the few places I’ve stayed where the water in the shower was usually cold, as opposed to lukewarm from being exposed to the sun somewhere along the way. I dreaded taking actual cold showers in the morning (as opposed to after a hot afternoon), so asked a friend for help (with my landlady’s consent). A “suicide shower” head was competently installed (with the wires neatly boxed in) and I finally get to enjoy hot or warm showers with no buzz–I’d have to stand on tiptoe to reach the temperature control. A plastic bag containing vinegar and water occasionally wrapped around the shower head cleans the calcium out of the nozzles, and the only time the showerhead doesn’t work perfectly is when city water is occasionally cut off, because our back-up tank doesn’t provide enough pressure to turn on the heating element. No complaints here!

  7. I bought a speed heater bout 3 weeks back ,it was working for 2 weeks perfectly until one day it over heated..Imagine just hot water coming out and then steam.Panicking i switched it off to cool down.The next morning i tried switching it on but up till today there is no more hot water coming out.I had the guy whom installed it check it out,he checked the wires to see whether electricity was passing of which it was.I made a mistake of throwing away the receipt and cant return it..please if anyone has a solution on fixing it help..

  8. Electric Showers are extremely common in the UK
    Almost all houses had them until we started using combination boilers.. and maybe 75% of homes still have them.
    Not with wires into the head though.. we have safe wiring into the wall unit but its still electric in the shower with you.

  9. On a dove hunt in Honduras (the approach into Tegucigalpa Airport must be experienced to be believed) I was staying at a very cheap motel where the showers had electrical heating elements on the shower heads so that you would have warm water when you showered.
    Mine had a short in it.
    Rather than risk trying to disable the thing (anything with wires that is more complicated than a set of jumper cables puts my brain into lockdown mode), I just took “tingly” showers for the next four days.
    One side effect is that I was noticeably more awake than the other members of our hunting party every morning at our 5AM breakfasts before heading out into the dove fields…

    1. I was an Air Force pilot and flew into airports around the world. Tegucigalpa was NOT in out ‘how to’ training manuals. Fortunately, in a C-130, the passengers don’t have windows. Depending on the weather, sometimes it was a bit scary. 🙂

  10. Just wanted to chime in… during my year of travels through South America, I encountered these many times…. However,,, one day in Jericoacoara, Brazil, I happened to be showering as usual, and I forget if something fell down and I tried to put it back (my bad), but I was shocked so horrifically that my boyfriend luckily heard me fall from the other side of the wall and turned off the breaker. I thought I was going to die! And I couldn’t even yell out for help, it was such a strange scenario. It quite literally took hold of my arm and continued to move electrical volts throughout my body in such a way that I was thrown to my bum on the shower floor before I knew what happened… I was shaking for the most part of an hour after, and ended up changing rooms in my hostel afterward. Not a fun thing to have happen out of the blue. I admit, normally they work out just fine,,, but dangerous they are!

    1. These are malfunctioning showers or they were installed by non-technicians, I’m sure about that because I do this kind of installation myself. Nowadays Brazil has a mix of solar heating showers (with a boiler, like in US) and electric ones. The new electric showers available on market today, are energy efficient and save more water than previous generations (let’s say 80’s, or 90’s, a ton of homes still have them). Since Brazil has a short winter in the middle of year, people usually turn off the heating function during 70-80% of the year.

  11. Dear Dena,
    I think sometimes installers DO NOT USE plastic pipeline specially when they MUST. I installed one of those at my home using plastic pipeline in Loja. Our culture is a little bit tricky sometimes.
    Best regards.

  12. Electric showers are very common in older homes in the UK. I had never seen on either until i moved here from Canada.
    Not all electric showers are equal as you discuss in this post. We lived in one nicely modernized flat in a building that was built in the late 19th century. I didn’t even realize that one of the showers was an electric shower because it worked so well.
    We recently moved into a Victorian era townhouse and the electric shower is awful. It was so bad it affected our daily happiness. Nothing like a cold winter with weak showers of luke warm water.

  13. I removed the cap of the shower to clean the holes but the inside cap that covers the heating elements also came off. All the water that it holds came out. I put the caps back on but forgot that you need to let it prime first in the off position. When I turned it on there was a loud snap and blue spark inside I guess it didn’t damage it as it still works.

    1. disassemble it and inspect thoroughly, the fault may exist but just didn’t manifested itself yet, it’s best to have a little work now than getting electrocuted later

  14. In Costa Rica:
    Shady hotel, water just turned back on after not working for several hours.
    There I am taking my shower, and for some reason I need to touch the shower head. I do it and suddenly there is a pain in my finger. I wonder what it is. In a brilliant stroke of wisdom I touch it again to find out why it hurts. I recognize the sensation of being electrocuted…
    I quickly pull my hand away. Dying naked on the shower floor is not my idea of a fun evening…

  15. In many countries there would be a huge number of code violations with an electric showerhead setup. That is the reason you would not see them in the US. These GFI protectors (ground fault interuptors) are now standard to protect people in any room with water (bathroom, kitchen, etc). Here in Ecuador most homes do not even have any ground. By any technical standard all this is pretty dangerous and would not be possible elsewhere.
    What baffles me with all the hot water discussion, is the lack of use of Solar Energy to heat water. There is no other country more ideal to utelize this free and safe energy.
    We have now in Manabe number of Solar Water heaters that are installed on private homes as well for hotels and they work perfectly, if done right. Utelizing a thermoastatic valve to set the hot water temperture for the wholes house makes it very comfortabel (without these pesky temperature variations due to pressure fluctuations). The same valve also prevents scalding accidents as it shuts the system off if the coldwater supply fails.
    The other great advantage is the effect the system has on the safety of the hot water. As the temperature in the holding tank often reaches temperatures between 75C & 100C, all pathogens are killed (an hour of 70C or more already does the trick).
    I believe, because propane is (for a little longer) so cheap in Ecuador, nobody looked at alternatives. Now, as the import of gasheaters is banned and the propane prices are planned to go up to around $20/bottle in 2016, this will eventually change.
    I want to disclose to be a little biased when in comes to Solar Energy as I founded an Ecuadorian company providing Solar Water heatings systems. I don’t want to abuse this great website for free advertising and therefore do not mention my company nor provide a link, unless the webmaster is asking me to.
    Brian & Dena: If your think, my comment is inappropiate please do not hesitate to delete it. Keep up the great blog.

  16. Hi, I am from Colombia and eletctric showers are really common to me. WhenI went to USA I didn´t see any , and I still dont understand the reason why in USA don´t use electric showers… could someone explain me ?? Please

      1. Formerly, there were many electric showers in Chile, but they have almost disappeared in favor of on demand natural gas showers. We have on-demand natural gas water in our Buenos Aires apartment, and it works very well. We looked into it for our house in California, but it was awkward to install, and more expensive, than a hot water tank.

  17. I’ve used those for a long time and I’d say they are safe as long as they function correctly. For example if there is too much dust in a house, the dust gets into the ON-OFF mechanism and the shower head may get stuck in the ON position, so when you close the water the shower head will continue to work, then the water boils and gets spit out with the steam (hopefully you won’t be under it), then the plastic starts to melt and plastic drops will fall… So if you ever turn OFF an electric shower head and still hear it working simply open the water again and shut down the electricity until you can figure out what to do.
    Other problem is when the seal between the water and the electrical part fails, then the water goes to the top part possibly creating a short circuit (hopefully no one touches it).
    Finally a problem anyone can encounter with electric shower heads, if you touch the water near the shower head while it’s working, you WILL get a little shock (and potentially a big one if there’s something wrong with, so better don’t try at home), that’s why tall people hate electric shower heads.

      1. You’re welcome. Just one more advice, the safest thing you can do when there is a failure is to shut down the electricity, it’s recommended to have a knife switch inside of the bathroom where it can’t get wet (you can put a lace to it so everybody can reach it), this is because if the water makes its way to the top of the shower head, there is a chance that the electricity will reach the water knob since water conducts electricity.

  18. Actually, I had to use this in Bolivia, and I can tell you I used it only ONCE and NEVER AGAIN! Because as I moved my body into the water stream, I could actually FEEL a tingling sensation all over and that was horrible!!!

  19. While not something any of us see in North America – Michael and I lived with one of these in our apartment for quite a while until we decided that the location and apartment was what we wanted in Cuenca and since my 84 year old mom was coming to visit it was finally time to upgrade.
    Until then, we had great showers, lots of hot water, lots of pressure and no shocks – for us this was a win. I guess given the stories here, we are one of the lucky couples who experienced no problems with these appliances. Common sense with electricity wins every time!

  20. Living in Korea for almost 12 years, nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to electricity. Although, knowing how poorly things are wired here, I would not want to use of these in the ROK>

  21. I install & repair showers in Dublin, Ireland. I was called out to epair an electric shower in a tiny bed-sit. I was stunned to find a double electric socket above the shower head! It is ilegal in Ireland to have a socket anywhere in the bathroom let alone above the shower head (can you imagine the steam rising & entering this socket?)

  22. I have definitely experienced these showers around Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I have also had the shock when you go to adjust the pressure or head while the water is running. I later learned is a no no. I now have a water heater and the water flow is often still inconsistant yet at least it is always hot anyway. Oh the adventures you explore when you move away from home. –Daniella

  23. I have written an article about the problems of using the Calefón type water heater here in Ecuador. However, I do not wish to start my own blog and was wondering if you would be interested in including it in your “how to” series. It consists of three pages, two on how to use it, and one for basic trouble shooting. If interested, send me a note and I’ll email the article for your review.

  24. I lived in Ecuador for 12 years (2years in Ambato and 10 years in Ibarra) until Nov. 2010. I and most of my friends there used that kind of shower and none of us had any problems with it. Except that sometimes the little holes that the water came out of would get stopped up a bit and slow down the water. So it was necessary to clean out those holes periodically. Plus, there has to be sufficient water pressure to start the heating of the water. This is sometimes a problem in a third floor apartment. But the pressure usually rose during the night, so when we had spells of low pressure, I would take showers at midnight! But that’s just part of the Ecuadorian experience. If it were just like the US, what would be the point in living in Ecuador? It’s an adventure, folks. Have fun with it!
    Susana – formerly of Ibarra, Ecuador

  25. Electric showers are indeed becoming again most common nowadays in Ecuador, while they were totally on the retreat a few years ago. Ecuadorians do not like them at all, preferring gas ones instead, because they cost a lot less money in energy cost and maintenance. Imagine, with gas you only need a plumber, with electric ones you need both a plumber and an electrician. Last year President Correa forbade the import of electric showers and forced Ecuadorians back to electricity instead of gas. His reason was that too many were using gas, which is subsidized there and using up the tax moneys that way. The fact that the shower requires extra thick wiring and a usually a 30-45 amp breaker, does not keep it cheap either. As to safety of these showers, they are often dangerous and electrocution or explosions do happen regularly. The main reason for this is that they are cheap non-standardized untested constructs and not properly installed, or that they lack the minimally required residual circuit breaker (like an emergency switch off) or the required proper grounding. Or a user touches the heating switch while the shower is on. Who said that life was not adventurous enough? 🙂

    1. Correction: President Correa did obviously not forbid electric showers, but he forbade the importation of gas hot water heaters, so gas showers may not be installed anymore.

  26. Thank you all so much for this great website. We are in process of planning our move to Cuenca and this site has been extremely helpful.

  27. Electric water heaters are common here(the Philippines) but few are the shower head type-more of a wall mounted miniature heater-storage module.Everything is typically 240 volt with 240 volt 1 leg(wire)and common the other.No ground.The “appliance” has a ground connector and normally grounded to the closest water line.If your house is plumbed with pvc plastic or galvanized pipe(common here)when wet and standing in water you become a better ground than the one attached to the appliance.Getting “buzzed”here is very common here and unpleasant—sure plays hell with a pacemaker but just another”thing”to be cautious about.Nothing beats a ground rod instead of you being one.

    1. Hi Gary and Logan,
      We have not seen that kind of heating system here, and after reading your comment I kind of hope we don’t. Just knowing that getting buzzed from them is “very common” puts the fear in me. But you are right, these are just some of the things we have to get used to and be cautious about.
      Thanks for commenting.

  28. I came across a few showers like this when backpacking through South America. They used to scare me every time I used them and it would take me about 15 mins to pluck up the courage and step in. My boyfriend was much braver than me. I also used to wear my flip flops in the shower hoping that they would ‘earth’ me – I have no idea if they actually made any difference, But I guess I’m still here!! And the irony is I now work for a shower company in the UK!

    1. Hi Lucy,
      I’m not sure if the flip flops would make a difference either, but they are a good idea while traveling because they help protect your feet from whatever germs might be on the shower floor = win win.
      And, I think backpacking through South America puts you on the “brave list” anyway, 15 mins here or there is nothing! 🙂
      Thanks for commenting.

  29. When I read the article I laughed – the laugh one has when you are happy to have just cheated death.
    The wiring looks very good compared to some that I have showered in.

  30. did a missionary trip to mexico about 12 years ago, while the shower heads did not have wires coming out of them, i did get a bit of a shock when i brushed up against the handles. seems there was a faulty ground. im not sure how it all works, but i am sure that i was shocked, no one else believed me at first, then another guy had it happen and they went to figuring it out. in the end it did get fixed, but those first few showers were “fun”. (note – it was never enough to hurt, but it made me feel alive)

  31. We didn’t have electric showers while in Cuenca but while visiting Playas the showers had electric heads. I looked them over and decided to take a shower with them but was very timid but no problems and the water stayed reasonably warm so it was fine especially in such a hot place. You didn’t really want hot showers in such heat. I was glad they were a little on the cooler side but like everyone else is I was worried about they are electric shower heads. The ones there had bare or electrical tape wrapped wires. These are never safe. I’m not sure what they actually use to heat the water as it goes into an element of sorts. I could be AC or DC going to the element. If ac they could step it down to 24 volts with a small transformer and use that to heat the water. This would be really safe even if there was quite a bit of Anperage but better with lower amperage. Also with a transformer it would be isolated from ground and the source so potentially safer as well. But any more than 40 volts is dangerous ac and probably DC as well.

    1. Hi Ralph,
      I agree, you don’t need a really hot shower in a hot climate. We lived in a warm climate when we had the electric shower head and it was not that big of a deal, but the mornings are cool here in Cuenca and a hot shower makes me happy in the morning.
      Thanks for commenting.

  32. I remember watching International house hunters with my parent’s and wife once when they were in in Nicaragua. Before the commercial break the real estate said the house had a “suicide shower”, but they didn’t show what it was.
    After the break they showed an electric shower my parent’s were surprised by the fact that there are electric showers, which sounds dangerous, buy my wife was surprised that they called it a “suicide shower” when it is exactly what she had used for over 20 years living in Ecuador.
    Personally, I don’t like them, but at least Cuenca is not cold and there are still plenty of advantages to living there.

    1. Hi Mark,
      I didn’t like it much either, but it was much better than a cold shower!
      I wouldn’t call them suicide showers, but by the looks of some of these comments people have had problems with them, so it’s good to be cautious.
      Most of the showers here in Cuenca are heated by propane, not electric shower heads.
      Thanks for commenting.

      1. I don’t call them suicide showers and I don’t think that’s a good name for them especially if you’re a reality agent like the guy on International house hunters.
        I didn’t know about propane showers, but I think I may have to buy one for my mother in law’s home.

        1. I guess it’s all a matter of semantics, but the real estate agent who showed me an older property downtown *did* refer to the one that was there as a “suicide shower.” In any case, I don’t think I ever want to take a shower where the last place the water flows before it hits my body is an energized electrical circuit. Just sayin’… 🙂

  33. I was in Ecuador in February, and like many others had showers with the electric heads. The only thing I can warn about (and George alluded to it earlier) is to not touch the head, even the plastic part, under any circumstances while the water is on and the head is active. I made the mistake of doing this, and received the obvious shock.
    In one other instance, the water was leaking out of the fitting, and spraying over the wires. In this case, I had them install a new head.
    So remember kids, don’t touch the head while it’s on (especially to adjust the setting), and water leaking over the wires=bad.
    Tod Wouters, Kamloops, BC Canada

  34. I spent a summer studying abroad in Cuenca and all of my showers were electric (at my home-stay and the hotels on our weekend trips). They were a little scary looking at first, but I never got electrocuted or anything! Some days I did have trouble with water pressure and temperature variations though. I learned that I needed to wash my hair as fast as possible to make sure I could rinse the shampoo out since there was always a chance the water would slow to a trickle or turn freezing cold! I did notice that showering at a random time during the day was usually better than in the morning or at night.

    1. Hi Cassi,
      I did the same thing, washed my hair and rinsed as fast as possible. Not the most relaxing shower experience 🙂
      Thanks for mentioning these points, I think they will help electric shower newbies.

  35. I just returned from Costa Rica where I encountered the exact model you’re pictured in your blog. My problem was the absentee hostess forgot to tell me there was a switch across the room from the shower that turned on the electrical power for the shower head. I had a couple of chilly showers until I discovered the “secret”. I just thought it didn’t function very well.
    I’ve experienced electrical “instant” water heaters for the last 20 years while traveling in Asia. They kind of “freaked” me out the first time.
    The reason you probably don’t have anyone writing about “bad” experiences is that if the shower “malfunctions” they don’t live to tell about it. The electric water heaters in Asia run on 220 Volts and low amperage, but in Costa Rica they use 110 Volts with higher Amperage. And it’s the Amps that kill you not the Volts. By the way I’ve never heard of any “bad” experiences.
    Dwight Z.

    1. Hi Dwight,
      I have not come across any secret switches yet, but at first I thought the electric shower head was broken because the water was always cold. A friend saw us buying a new one and asked about it, when I told her, she shared the water flow trick with me.
      Thanks for your comment.

    2. The amperage of the shower is irrelevant, when you’re talking about an electric shock then the higher the voltage, the higher the current passing through you. The higher volts result in higher amps.

  36. Dena, I am a general contractor in the United States and I have never seen a shower head like that… Exposed wires, water, and my guess is that a GFI circuit is no where to be found. I would feel ok taking a shower but you would never find me touching the shower head during that shower….

    1. Hi George,
      I felt the same way. I was too nervous to touch it when the water was on. I’m glad I was because as Tod (commented above) found out, it was shocking.
      Thanks for your comment.

  37. We’ve been in Cozumel 3 weeks, 1 to go, showers have been great, but the general electrical wiring of homes is much to be desired. Oh and we meet a friend of yours…Jennifer, was in Canar, Ecuador for 2 years.

    1. Good to hear Rick! Please give our greetings to Jennifer and Melody. We frequently crossed paths here in Cuenca, when they came to town for groceries and Drew really took to them.

  38. Nope. No stories yet, but perhaps in a couple of weeks I will! Thanks for the explanation of electric shower heads…I must admit, this is one of many “unknowns” that has slightly concerned me…

    1. Hi Amy,
      I’m glad that this post has taken some of the mystery out of one of the unknowns for you. But I hope that there will still be some left that you will find out on your own, that’s part of the fun.
      I hope all your stories will be good ones, and that you’ll share them with us.
      Thanks for commenting.

  39. Yes, I do have a story about electric showers or widow makers as they are affectionately called. I was taking a shower in a hotel we were staying at in Salinas, when the widow maker shower head exploded with a loud noise, blue light explosion and resultant smell of burning wires. Well, since the water was still hot I continued to shower, when it happened again. Both times were sudden and caused me to scream. After the second explosion, the water became cold and that is when I turned off the shower and got out. I was very lucky that I didn’t get electrocuted. Don’t think I’ll ever take a shower again with a widow maker shower head!

    1. Hi Patty,
      Wow, that’s a crazy story! The first explosion would have sent me running. You should get an “extreme showering” award or something 🙂
      I think that if they are installed properly they are ok, we used one for over a year and didn’t have any problems. But after an experience like that I can understand why you would not want to try again.
      Thanks for sharing your story.

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