Picture of How to Take a Shower in Germany
OK, for some reason you are staying in Germany, but you did not have the financial means to check into a ****** hotel. Now even if Germany can be mistaken for being a civilized country, a large number of their houses are less comfortable to live in than a Mercedes or a BMW. Since these cars do not come with  bathrooms as part of their standard equipment, you must resort to the facilities found in the house where you are staying. If you are out of luck, your bathroom is eqipped with a thing like the one shown in the picture above, the dreaded "Durchlauferhitzer".
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Step 1: Leaps and Screams

Picture of Leaps and Screams
You strip naked, grab your shower soap, and jump into the shower cabin. Then you turn on the water and curse. It's friggin cold. Well, maybe it takes some time for the heater to get going, or for the water to reach your shower from the central heating.

No. The water remains as cold as a cod fart. Since you're child of your time, you guess that the machine on the wall must be programmed in some way. Before you reach it, you have time to get worried about your smartphone: Was it quad-band or only tri-band? Will it be able to interact with the heater?

Wrong. As you can see in the picture above, there is ample reason to despair. The dumb thing does not even have a power on button. (No, not even on the sides that are facing away from the camera.) Well, "one dot" and "two dots" are at least labels that are gender neutral and perfectly incomprehensible regardless of cultural background.

You give up and call one of the natives. After some battle tank gearbox noises in your ear, you have learned that the thing is fully automatic. You just have to open the tap some more, then the heater is turned on. The native explains that a "Durchlauferhitzer" heats the water on the fly (swim?), as it passes through the thing. There is no reservoir with hot water.

With new hope you step into the shower and open the tap, some more, then some. When the flow rate rivals that of the river Rhine, the box on the wall finally goes "clack". Within seconds, the water goes from "cardiac arrest" to "cerebral haemorrhage", and you slam the tap shut in self defence.

After experimenting for twenty minutes, your performance remains erratic. The machine goes "clack" or "thunk", that is, turns the heat on and off, respectively, virtually at random. Most of the time, the water actually gets colder as you open the hot water tap more, but sometimes it can suddenly become much, much hotter. What's the deal? Who invented this piece of <censored by the instructable team>? Is he still alive? If yes, where does he live?

Stay cool. I'll explain everything in the following steps. Above all, don't scream and throw the thing out the window, your neighbours will call the police. (...not because you vandalised the bathroom of your flat, or because you threw the "Durchlauferhitzer" on the street, the Germans do that all the time. No, they'd call the police because you screamed.)
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lukas.hofmann7 months ago

…I'd call that a top floor problem.

very few of the numerous german durchlauferhitzer I've had the pleasure to encounter showed such brutal behaviour. but especially on top floors of buildings where the system pressure might be lower and the durchlauferhitzer is "last consumer in line", changing flow rates are a problem for the dinosaur ones.


RosyRivet1 year ago
Brilliant. I have been this soldier! Scalded and frozen and half wet and resorted to boiling a kettle to bring the tub to tepid.
ckafka2 years ago
I would seriously love to know where you stayed that you had to use one of these. The last time I've had to bother with one of these was at my grandparents' cabin where the bathroom is in a seperate building because the thing is just that old.

I'm 22 and have lived in Germany most of my life. Believe it or not, in all places that I've lived the showers were much more modern and comfortable than what you describe. Thus I don't apreciate you calling one of the most efficient industrialized nations that I've seen to date one that "can be mistaken for being a civilized country."

So while, yes, these types of heaters do still exist they are a tiny fraction and most people in my generation probably would be just as baffled by them as you must have been the first time you saw this. Just felt the need to make that clear.
I'm sorry, I don't understand. "When" did Germany get "civilized'? (Smile)
There are some WWII vets that might tell you, it happened immediately at the close of the Second World War. ;)

Besides, they are home to BMW, the most refined and civilized automobile affordable to man.
I live in germany and have done for more than a decade.

first of all these things are all over the place.

secondly if these have not been fitted properly ,the flow rate/pressure isn't strong enough or fluctuates, the wrong unit( for the size of pipes fitted ) is used then it will not work properly.

You can still buy these and plumbers still fit them badly even when you employ a "meister"

and I understand you wanting to defend your nation but this-

buddhafragt says:
if you are too stupit to handle a Durchlauferhitzer, you better ask a local people.
But it is soooo easy: Only turn on the water....
Cant be soo difficult, even for an American.... ;-)

is nothing more than ignorant , offensive, pathetic and a sad indictment of the world we live in.

at least this instructable was humorous.
I've just finished reading all the comments below and thought the following points worth noting.

I have recently fitted one of these to replace a boiler that took 8 hours to heat! so it is easily more cost effective to run.

mine has electronic temperature control. I paid 50% more than a standard instantaneous heater because I have used these before and know what a pain they can be.

european domestic supply is between 220v and 240v dependant on where you live.

In germany it is 220v but these appliances have what I believe is called a 3 phase power connection and have 3 live power inputs.

So if you get a shock from one of these you are likely to get 660v through your wet body which ,if the warning on the box is correct ,suggests will probably/maybe kill you! or at least hurt a lot!
Billy 3 phase power does not mean 3 times the voltage. The voltage peak on each wire leads or lags the other wires by 120 degrees.
okay I'll take your word for that, I'm a chippie not a spark.

The point I was intending to make was, that these units take a far higher degree of technical competence and should not be confused with a normal u.k. domestic electric shower which normally use a normal domestic supply and are really an easy d.i.y. upgrade.

My point still stands though it would hurt lots.
merijnvw ckafka2 years ago
he's german himself tho
ckafka merijnvw2 years ago
Then I'm even more curious where he lives. Because I in all seriousness cannot imagine where in the country this could be anything but an oddity.
I agree ... I have spent 29 years of my life in Germany and the only person I can remember having one of those is my granny and she still has it.

Any other place in Germany I have ever been showering at did have the same standard as any hotel. Actually I have seen less comfortable solutions in other countries.

Have a good day !
all_thumbs (author) 2 years ago
Hi all of you!

I am blown out of my socks by all this feedback. I hope you understand that I cannot respond to every comment individually. If I tried, I'd be sitting here until well after X-mas.

It is amusing to see how quick some of you have jumped to conclusions and accused me of all kinds of things. Well, I suppose it can be held against me that I cannot resist the temptation of adding to my own amusement, and that of all my supporters, by revealing the following facts about me:

I am not from Germany, I am not from USA. I have lived one year in USA and eight in Germany. Cheers

p.s. Don't miss my new instructable about how to peel a banana like Jonas.
You're only nine years old??!! I can see it in your (I assume) self portrait, but man, now I'm even more impressed by the instructable. Seriously though, I enjoyed reading it, it was instructive, well-researched and funny -- I especially liked the end, when you describe the digital heaters designed to oscillate between hot and cold. Don't let the nay-sayers get you down, they are part of the loud minority. I used to think that if someone misunderstood my writing the fault was always mine, but now I know, especially with humor, that it not the case. Someone is bound to miss the point and take offense. I once had someone complain that my vegan egg instructable was a cheap, deceitful trick to get views -- he was mad because it wasn't an actual egg.
I think I will stay in Canada. One knob to control the amount of cold water going through the pipes and another knob to control the amount of hot water.
arivero2 years ago
Better instructable I ever read! I never thought I'd laugh as I read reading an article on this site. Congrats!!!
twighahn2 years ago
we have a gas battery sparked water heater that works just like that. its for camping
BrittLiv2 years ago
all_thumbs (author)  BrittLiv2 years ago
What a bummer, but right you are.

Yeah, the German language sucks too, but I think Mark Twain beat me on that subject. It has many similarities with Swedish, but way too many superfluous syllables like "ge", "be", "ver", and, in this case "er" in their words. Pretty confusing at times.
Those "syllables" weren't randomly tossed into words just for the heck of it. They're prefixes which have specific meanings. In English for example, you have prefixes like "re", "de", "dis", "ab", "con", "be", and so on. So if you "re"move the "con" from "confuse", you get "fuse". In your world then, you would have people say "I think you're fused about the directions", instead of "I think you're confused about the directions". In this case, you're either definitely misinformed or just finitely informed. Not sure.
all_thumbs (author)  mgeier2 years ago
Well, "superfluous" in my comment wasn't superfluous.

There are certainly prefixes that carry meaning in German, but when we start comparing with other germanic languages, you quickly become aware of that German tote a number of prefixes that have been dropped from other languages long ago (if they ever made it there in the first place). "Erhitzer" actually offers a good example. Is there a German word like "Behitzer", "Enthitzer", "Gehitzer", "Verhitzer", ...? No. A quick and dirty translation of "Durchlauferhitzer" would be something like "throughput water heater". No need to say "throughput water erheater", or anything like it, is there?

Of course I am finitely informed, what else could I possibly be? Or, as the saying goes:

Perfect knowledge in a field can only be attained by reading one book too many...
...and ten too few.
So German seems to be the only language that hangs onto those archaic prefixes. How typical. They're so inefficient.

Let's have some fun—using your "erhitzer" example but this time with an American appliance. "Refrigerator" offers a good example. Is there an English word like "unfrigerator", "nonfrigerator", "defrigerator", "misfrigerator", ...? No.

How about "inflammable"? Your counterpart from Germany might look at this warning and think, "hmmm, visible — invisible; capable — incapable; flammable — inflammable, OK it's safe. Oh no, I'm on fire".

My all-time favorite is the "hot water heater". I don't know about you, but if my water's already hot, how much more heat do you need to apply?

How about the American invention "television"? Here's a word from the classical language salad bar:

"The etymology of the word has a mixed Latin and Greek origin, meaning "far sight": Greek tele (τῆλε), far, and Latin visio, sight (from video, vis- to see, or to view in the first person)." —couldn't they make up their mind? The more, the merrier—I would've tossed in something Egyptian or maybe even Celtic.

The wheels went off your bus at "quick and dirty translation". "A quick and dirty translation" of any language yields results that suck. The bus' engine then threw a rod when you stuck a German prefix in front of an English word, "throughput water erheater" to try to make your point. Just wait there and I'll call a tow truck or cab.
all_thumbs (author)  mgeier2 years ago
I cannot resist to add two examples in the same spirit.

Refrigerator is just "kylskåp" in Swedish. That gain in efficiency is almost as good as the loss of efficiency in the infamous dubbing of the film E.T. into German. Where E.T. says "phone home" in the original, he must chew through "telefonieren nach Hause" in the German copy. You can forget about lip sync there.

One word is especially ripe to be stripped of its prefixes: reindeer. Well, "re" is a common prefix, leaving us with "indeer". On the other hand, so is "in", so now we only have "deer". Lo and behold, "de" is also a prefix, so in the end there is only "er" left. Fortunately, "er" is not a prefix in English, or else there would be nothing left. (right?)

Talking about dubbed movies. Watching Hollywood movies staged in the WWI or WWII can be quite fun. Now and then some American soldier interrogates a captured German soldier with the help of a translator. In the dubbed version, the American soldier speaks perfekt German, but still fails to understand the German spoken by the German soldier. Here follows an example translated to English:

-Where are the tanks?
-Where are the tanks?
-I don't know.
-He doesn't know.
-Tell him I'll hit him on his head if he does not tell us.
-We will hit you on the head if you don't answer.
-So be it, I still don't know.
-He insists he doesn't know.
(so on and so forth)

It looks very silly indeed.
E.T. distributors obviously used a Swede to translate the English to German.

Did you see the one where ET and Superman go back in time, kick Hitler's ass, have sex with Eva Braun and spawn a race of ugly but powerful and sweet dwarfs for future Scientologists' domestic staff—kind of like Dobby? I forget the title, look it up.

Using Hollywood movies to support your logic—BRILLIANT!!!

You don't seem to know English very well, and are obviously not a native German speaker but I admire your spunk. Nevertheless, you could use some help with etymology. Check this out:

"the word reindeer has nothing to do with reins. The element -deer is indeed our word deer, but the rein- part is borrowed from another language, specifically from the Scandinavian languages spoken by the chiefly Danish and Norwegian invaders and settlers of England from the 9th to the 11th century. Even though the Old Icelandic language in which much of Old Norse literature is written is not the same variety of Old Norse spoken by these settlers of England, it is close enough to give us an idea of the words that were borrowed into English. Thus we can cite the Old Icelandic word hreinn, which means "reindeer," as the source of the first part of the English word. The word reindeer is first recorded in Middle English in a work composed before 1400."
Bierle mgeier2 years ago
Thanks mgeier!

P.S.: WWI and WWII Hollywoodmovies are dumb! (dubbed or not!)
mgeier Bierle2 years ago
"Hollywood and the Pentagon have been in an intricate dance of support and cross-promotion for almost a century, from a time when the Department of Defense was still...known as the War Department. …go back to 1915, when, in response to a request for assistance, U.S. Secretary of War John Weeks ordered the army to provide every reasonable courtesy to D.W. Griffith’s pro-Ku Klux Klan epic Birth of a Nation. The Army came through with more than 1,000 cavalry troops and a military band."

"As David Robb, the author of Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies, observed: “Hollywood and the Pentagon have ... a collaboration that works well for both sides. Hollywood producers get what they want—access to billions of dollars worth of military hardware and equipment—tanks, jet fighters, nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers—and the military gets what it wants—films that portray the military in a positive light; films that help the services in their recruiting efforts.”
I never comment... Ever... not my thing. I typically don't even log in...

I just felt the need to this time to point out your immediately obvious ignorance. I am a born and raised American who lived in Germany for 3 years and I guarantee that either

A) You know nothing about Germany (or humor for that matter).
B) You have your head in the sand so far that you fail to see the pathetic inadequacies of your own nation.

I guarantee that Germany is among the most "civilized" of nations on this planet, if not the most civilized.

If you still disagree consider this.
- They care about the earth they live on
- They realize that the health and safety of the people come before any
private investor or company's profits
- They don't fight necessary wars for un-necessary amounts of time
- They have an insatiable aim for perfection that tends to keep them at the
forefront of modern technology
- They predominantly realize religion parallels mythology
- They actually believe in human assisted global warming and let the facts
and science do the proving

If your nation has the mindset of even a fraction of this list, I would be surprised...

Have a nice day and stop spouting nonsense.
Thank you.
(removed by author or community request)
i think he/she is talking about nowadays not like 60 years ago
Exactly Bierle...
Gloval warming - a dead non-scientific issue. Not once, but twice the main perpetrators caught with their pants down. In their own words, they deliberately fudged the data. Even after the liberal lame-brained media tried to help them deny it afterwards (initially they admitted to the media they were caught but this was covered quickly), the second round of convicting emails was released a year later.

One of the issues left out of the media's futile attempts of keeping the money-making fiasco going was the fact that the person doing the programming for them left a note to himself inside the program (typical of us programmers) stating to be selective on the data used so the results they wanted to support their theory could be achieved.

Too many people have too much to lose by admitting the truth that this was one of the biggest farces ever foisted upon mankind. They especially have a lot of personal pride to lose. The information is on the web to be found. You can download the original documents yourself and see the facts or take liberal slanted views (even Wikipedia). Yes, I have read them. Yes - they were falsifying information.

Yes IBrewer... I'm sure everyone who says anything must be falsifying information.... Just look up true facts and look at who is paying the bills to fund "research" that opposes the notion of human assisted global warming... only Oil Companies... Many times the money has been traced back to them... never mind that though... think your a lost case.

Chrishughes... Thank you for your grammar lesson. And also, you clearly misread my paragraph. Not once did I bash the country that has provided a nice life for me... all I said was that, given how highly I regard this country; the fact that Germany is at least par or better means that it is surely civilized from my perspective and that of "facts". Regardless I may have to move if this beautiful country doesn't revert to what it once was. :(
Been there - done that - you cannot get better info than straight from the horses mouth of those perpetrating the issue. When they say they falsified it, and they are the ones who originated it, it closes the case.
Thank you Ibrewer42... You finally understand :)
Actually I do not remember research being done to falsify global warming anyway - only research to try to prove the (dead) issue. And the AGW people's research always comes back to bite them anyway - especially since the founder of the concept said it was all a farce.

In the last round of emails that were hijacked/released, he was saying he had to destroy the convicting evidence before being asked for it on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act. Non-guilty people need not hide anything.
I should mention that overall you do have a humorous sense of writing style. If you could just refrain from the natism.
Thank you for your funny write-up. You didn't mention whether your shower was private or communal -- older apartments had shared facilities, at least back in the Cold War (pardon the expression) days. This of course would complicate adjusting to a German shower, as running out of the stall to escape the freezing or scalding might land you in a more awkward situation (or maybe not.)
Bierle says:
we still have only showers in the back yard, and "Plumpsklos"... no fridges...

it's pretty bad...

But we have Internet and computers and invented mp3 and build the best solar cells in the world before the chinese copied them faster than we could develop them further. But still, Wifi on the Plumpsklo is really cool, best improvement ever done to our Plumpsklos. you just have to take care that your smartphone is not falling .... down.

(Where do you live? can you read? or... watch the news...) ;o)
Nick_de2 years ago
Hilarious maybe, but totally unnecessary and exxagerated...

I don't understand how could this instructable come in the mailing list. How could the editor find this worth showing round??
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