Friday, May 27, 2011

Condo Considerations

“Mark, did you hear that hissing noise?” I asked.

As Mark rolled over to go back to sleep, I decided to investigate. It was 3:00 a.m. and all was quiet except for the sound of “hissing snakes” in the kitchen.

I opened up the cabinet that houses the “cilindros de gas” (propane tanks) and realized that was the problem: it blew its top!

By that time, Mark was by my side trying to put a “lid” on the whole thing. He turned off the propane tanks and called the security guard downstairs. While they both talked about the leak and how fortunate we were to be alive, I shuffled back to the bedroom and fell asleep.

As you know, I’ve been a “little” under the weather lately and the thought of dying in my sleep went right over my head. But looking back on it now, we both realize that we were very fortunate. Adding to the distress was the fact that our carbon monoxide alarm didn't go off, which was perfectly normal. Carbon monoxide is a different gas than propane (duh!). Back to chemistry class we go!

If you’re looking for a condo, you have two choices: centralized gas or “cilindros de gas.” These propane tanks are sold everywhere and little vans circle the neighborhood--honking their horn--signaling everyone to get out their empty tanks and exchange them for full ones. Our security guards do this for us. They carry the full tanks upstairs to our apartment, hook them up, and away they go. “Yes” we tip them for their services!

Normally, tanks are housed outside your condo along with the tank-less water heater system, but our “cilindros” are housed in the built-in cabinets by the kitchen door. We now close the door, open the window in the kitchen, and turn off the tanks at night (lesson learned!).

The newer condos in Cuenca and many of the high-rise condos are all being built with centralized gas. Those that are not contain the propane tanks or “cilindros de gas.” It was no big deal for us to make the switch from the Palermo building to our current place because we had dealt with “cilindros” in Italy for six years. It was just part of life!

In all our years in Italy, we had absolutely no problem with "cilindros" and this incident was our first in Ecuador. There are ways you can test for leaks in your tank, which is a subject of another post, and also if you buy from the same vendor you can probably lessen your chances of getting a faulty tank. But life is not guaranteed—things go wrong.

If you want to sleep better at night and not worry about things that go “hiss” in the night, I suggest that you look for a place with centralized gas or at the very least, make sure your place has tanks positioned outside the house!

Until next time…hasta luego!






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1 comment:

Pia's blog said...

Great topic! there are many condo consideration you need to consider before buying a condo. Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing.


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