Desperate Cry for Help!!!

Okay... so obviously Korea is getting colder... for those who live in Korea... you know this... well... i'm a small town girl from Texas... it gets cold in Texas... obviously... but we generally have heaters and the ability to read the heater controls...

 (Top part of the panel is on the Left and bottom part is on the right)

well i'm in Korea... (if you haven't guessed)... in the coldest... freeziest (yes i'm an english teacher let me be...) apartment in Korea... i literally locked up my windows to make sure no more cold was going to come through... but now I can't figure out the heating system...

It's not a normal heater... it's a floor heating system... called an Ondol heating system... underfloor... which sounds like a great idea cause heat rises BUT!!!... i dont speak enough korean to figure out what these buttons say... i've translated the korean words and all i get are:  timer... water... out (or as leaving) restart... and like a sleep function... does this make sense?  obviously the water one makes sense to me cause i use it pretty much every day... but i can't figure this floor thing out...

if you know what i'm talking about and can explain to me what buttons to push... then maybe i wont die in this cold and can report back to Texans that it's safe to live here in the winter... ^_^.

till then... i'll just sleep in as many sweaters as I can find and hope that i can keep my socks on so I dont shock my body in the morning...


*i couldn't resist...*


Lola O. said...

You need to take a picture of the control panel and post it so people can see what it looks like. I would post it on Dave's and here.

Foreigner Joy said...

Ask your supervisor. My last place didn't have one of these because it was sh*thole as ya know. From what I know one button will heat up the water and one will heat up the ondol.

sorry >< I'm not much help ... I can show the pics to my boyfriend and see if he can figure it out...but he isn't online yet..

Kristen said...

Press the red button to turn it on, the top green button should be lit (if not, press it).

Turn the dial to your desired temperature, somewhere in the 20-22 range probably. In about 15 minutes your floor should be warm. If not, perhaps the vavles that allows hot water to flow through the ondol pipes are turned off and you can get your school to have someone locate them and turn them on for you.

Foreigner Joy said...

From the boyfriend:

실내온도 = inside temperature, she can control the temperature as mush as she want, as turning controller (wheel)

운전 = be working, if this light on, the heating system is working now..

취침기능 = sleeping mode, she can use the funtion when she gose to bed

if she use the sleeping mode, she can save fuel payment

목욕기능 = taking shower mode, she can use the hot water when she take a shower..

That was the translation for the buttons on the left

if she wants get hotter temperature, she has to handle the controller (looks like wheel)

John from Daejeon said...

Joy's boyfriend pretty much has it spot on, but in extreme South Texan-speak (where I come from):

On the balcony, or where the water heater actually resides, there will be a couple of pipes with valves that control the heat from the water heater to the individual rooms--you might want to turn down the living room/kitchen's to save some money while making sure the bedroom's is fully open.

Now, the big wheel on the top right controls the temperature in your rooms. Turning it below 10 degrees will turn off the system, and the button for the current temperature it the top one on the left. Yes, the second grey button from the top on the left is for night time.

You press the third little grey button on the left when you want to take a bath or need hot sink water and the little round button on bottom right that ranges from 45-85 degrees controls the temperature for that button/bath and sink water. You want to set it higher in the winter and lower in the summer.

The middle wheel on the right is a timer that I've never used. While the fourth grey button on the left is used if you plan to be gone for several days.

The red button is a reset button. Sometimes, you might try and use more hot water than the system can keep up with, so it will shut down and all the buttons will start blinking until you reset it with the red button. If the water heater starts only providing hot water for less than a five minute shower before it shuts down and needs resetting, the boiler will need an engineer to repair/clean it.

Hope this helps. Oh, yeah, writing it down with a marker on the controller makes it easier to remember.

John from Daejeon said...

I forgot to mention this earlier, but you might want to keep an eye on how much gas (cubic meters) you use a month to keep the cost down by watching your gas meter. I have no one living above or below me in a very old and poorly insulated building, so I use more than the average person and I had a really big bill my first January here. I since learned how to combine both gas and electricity together to keep the cost reasonable. A good low temperature-rated sleeping bag also helps.

Gas currently costs me 3,500 won a cubic meter and as long as I keep my electicity below 400 kwh things aren't too bad. My electricity is exponentially billed (100 kwh is 6,670 won, 200 is 20,130 won, 300 is 39,960 won, 400 is 70,490 won, 500 is 115,550 won, 600 is 194,830 won, up to 487,680 won for 1,000 kw hours). I mostly use electricity to heat my bathroom whenever I need to use it, so an electric heater comes in handy.

Foreigner Joy said...

Whatever you do don't turn everything on all at once or else your house will implode and George Bush will be President again.

SeoulSearching said...

WOW! Thanx for all the help! i'm hoping to try it out soon. I left my windows closed while at work so my home wasn't as cold as yesterday! hopefully it'll stay that way! (at least for now!)

Thanx again!!!!

Kristen said...

Just another couple pieces of advice I wanted to give....

I'm also from small town south texas and though I went to uni in Massachusetts with apartments where heat was included in rent, I'm only just now getting the hang of winterizing myself to save money and energy.

1. The most obvious but easily overlooked is layering while at home. long pants (preferrably flannel or else something that is warm), socks, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater or hoodie and slippers both when lounging around and at least a long sleeve shirt, pants, and socks when sleeping.
2. Double the blankets at night. A 30,000 won extra blanket from E-Mart will be cheaper than the extra heat you'll use in the long run.
3.Turn on the heat for an hour or so in the evenings, then turn it off. The floors stay warm F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Simply getting them warm enough to heat the apartment for a bit will keep it warm nearly all night.
4. Keep your skin moisturized with lotion and if possible, run a humidifier at night. The dry air has a way of making your throat sore and make you feel sick and I find that when I feel sick, I feel colder and thus use more heat.
5. Finally, my Canadian friends have drilled this firmly into my head: get used to the cold weather before really cranking up the heat. The first cold of the year is shocking to our system but we'll eventually hit a point where we can better handle certain temperatures. Use the heater and all the extra clothes as sparingly as possible now so that you can slowly acclimate yourself.

Good luck this winter and enjoy the absolute wonder of ondol heating! You'll never want another place without it.

SeoulSearching said...

Haha Thanx kristen! i'm definitely going to Emart this weekend to get another blanket. i dont really want to be paying extra so i'll be wrapping up a lot... it's going to have to be crazy cold for me to turn the heater on but like you said hopefully the initial shock will wear off!!! Thanx again!! what area of Korea are you in? maybe we can hang out sometime!

Kristen said...

I'll admit, on Sunday I had to turn the heater on for an hour. It gets warm fast and it stayed warm until the next morning and at least took that initial chill away. Just an hour here and there and you won't have too big of a bill.

I'm way down in Mokpo. I rarely make it up to Seoul and I'm not sure I will before the new year since I'm in super saver mode. :( But I would love to meet some Seoul folks the next time I make it up there!