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Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« on: January 01, 2020, 02:22:38 pm »
I've lived in Korea and gone through many winters.
I've never had to leave my boiler (using room temperature gauge/controller on the wall) on to keep the pipes from freezing.

Since the gas costs are really high to keep your room heated (where I live, we're using some kind of gas boiler system)
that can easily run between 150,000 - 250,000 a month, I always leave mine  OFF and simply use an electric fan heater to heat my room.
I only pay for hot water / showers which comes to around 17,000 won in gas per month.

My owner keeps reminding me every year (a few times each winter) to keep my  boiler on at "외출" which translated i believe means "outing"?
He says that  it keeps the pipes from potentially freezing, because if I don't leave it on and the pipes freeze, it could cost hundreds of dollars to fix. 

Is this a common problem in Korea?  Have any of you ever heard about this or had frozen pipes that cost you hundreds of dollars to fix becase you failed to keep the boiler on at 외출 all during winter season?   I don't know how much money the gas bill will come out to each month
just for leaving it on 외출 (which isn't heating my room, it's just meant to keep the boiler at a minimum so the pipes don't freeze).  I would imagine it should be pretty low but then, I also never had any issues leaving it off the entire winter.   I'd much rather not have to pay for something that is merely just a preventative and not actually giving me any heat.  But if it comes to only a few bucks a month for nothing, I guess I can just do that.  It's just, I've never heard of any stories or posts where foreigners who didn't know reported they had to pay hundreds of dollars to fix frozen pipes because they didn't leave the boiler on during winter season.
https://ibb.co/8d3CT35
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 02:25:47 pm by persimmon14 »


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 4105

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2020, 02:34:02 pm »
It would cost your landlord, not you hundreds of dollars to fix.

In Korea, landlords (for monthly rentals) are responsible for ALL repairs as long as you didnít break anything.


Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2020, 03:03:54 pm »
Yes frozen pipes do happen, seen many people here talk about it. The problem is that pipes in Korea aren't insulated, so if they're in the laundry room balcony thing they can freeze. Just put it on the travel setting (the waechul thing) and won't cost you much at all. You could get charged for the repairs since you caused the pipes to freeze. Plus you don't want to go without hot water in winter.
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Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
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Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07
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  • oglop
  • The Legend

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    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2020, 03:18:14 pm »
It would cost your landlord, not you hundreds of dollars to fix.

In Korea, landlords (for monthly rentals) are responsible for ALL repairs as long as you didnít break anything.
Yes but if your landlord tells you to leave your heating on 외출 and you don't, causing your pipes to freeze..it's your fault


  • Lazio
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    • January 27, 2018, 03:56:10 pm
    • Gyeongi-do
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 06:21:00 pm »
Pipes can indeed freeze in the winter. It depends on how exposed the boiler is to the weather. I saw plenty of older houses where the boiler was just on an outside wall, fully exposed. Also, a balcony with mostly windows (and I mean old windows that don't close well and don't really insulate) will not be able to prevent the temperature there from dropping below freezing on the coldest days.
Check where your boiler and see how well protected that area is from the outside. If you have a thermometer, put it there and check how cold it gets on a cold day when the outside temp. is minus whatever Celsius.
I don't think the "out" setting on the thermostat would use a lot of gas. It would run for a short time, every once in a while to pump some warm water through the pipes.
If you lived in the same place for years, and there was no problem even though you didn't use the boiler, then it should be okay doing the same way. Just to be safe, you can use the "out" setting on extreme cold days. Not sure where you are but in Seoul and Gyeongi that would mean around -14, -15 celsius or lower.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 08:56:21 pm by Lazio »


  • JNM
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    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2020, 07:46:49 pm »
Pipes can indeed freeze in the winter. It depends on how exposed the boiler is to the weather. I saw plenty of older houses where the boiler was just on an outside wall, fully exposed. Also, a balcony with mostly windows (and I mean old windows that don't close well and don't really insulate) will not be able to prevent the temperature there form dropping below freezing on the coldest days.
Check where your boiler is. If you have a thermometer, put it there and check how cold it gets while the outside temp. is whatever.
I don't think the "out" setting on the thermostat would use a lot of gas. It would run for a short time, every once in a while to pump some warm water through the pipes.
If you lived in the same place for years, and there was no problem even though you didn't use the boiler, than it should be okay doing the same way. Just to be safe, you can use the "out" setting on extreme cold days. Not sure where you are but in Seoul and Gyeongi that would mean around -14, -15 celsius or lower.

In fact, if it is not needed, it likely wonít run at all.


Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2020, 07:49:16 am »
Yeah. Use your 외출 setting. I have had a boiler freeze and break when I first got to Korea because I didn't know to use it.


Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 08:04:13 am »
We've had our pipes freeze when were away before and it was a complete ballache. If you'r worried about gas prices you could leave your taps running at a very low-level. That's what we do when it gets below -5C at night. With winters this cold and construction like this preventative measures like 외출 and running taps are just the cost of doing business. Even if you don't pay for repairs it's still your apartment which lacks running water in mid-winter.


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2020, 08:24:36 am »
Yeah, it's common here.
I can't leave mine on that setting though. The panel is a little broken (been this way since I got the apartment) and the panel often resets itself.
For example, I turn it on and go have a shower, in the middle of the shower it resets, the water goes ice cold, and the default for the panel is the heated floors.
It does this very often, enough that it would just waste a lot of oil while I'm not home. My school is pretty good at fixing stuff in my apartment, but this is the one thing that they haven't fixed, as it's never done it when they have come to check on it.
However, my school has reminded me to do that, I might point it out again and see if we can get it fixed so I can run that without worry.


Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2020, 08:38:40 am »
It would cost your landlord, not you hundreds of dollars to fix.

In Korea, landlords (for monthly rentals) are responsible for ALL repairs as long as you didnít break anything.

Yeah, it would be your fault if the landlord said to do it and you chose not to. I had my pipes semi frozen one winter and it scared me because when I turned the faucet on after returning from a few days away, it started shaking violently and making some horrible sounds.....in the end it was fine, but I don't know if that would have been the case had it frozen completely. In another place, the landlord stuffs warm clothing or other materials into the area with the main water connection....I've seen those break due to cold before but luckily not my own.


  • thunderlips
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2020, 08:44:30 am »
I had a pipe burst from the upstairs apartment being empty and the owner didn't keep the heat on. Water came gushing from the ceiling right where my bed had been, I had moved it into the living room out of convenience luckily.


  • buckybee
  • Adventurer

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    • August 30, 2015, 02:36:08 pm
    • Gunsan
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2020, 09:12:45 am »
A friend went traveling for just a couple weeks and he didn't turn it on. He had to pay for a lot of damages because the pipes burst. It was not cheap.


Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2020, 08:13:38 am »
thanks all for the advice.  It's good to hear about your past experiences.  Even though I've never used it for all these winters and never had any problems or pipes freeze on me, I guess I should still turn on waychil mode from time to time, especially for the coldest nights.  Have a happy new year everyone!


  • lhelena
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    • March 11, 2018, 01:57:14 pm
    • Anseong
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2020, 08:54:36 am »
I would just leave it on. It doesn't cost you anything and it's better to be safe than sorry. I know someone who had their pipes burst from not leaving it on reserve (waechul) and it cost them about 500-600 for the repairs.


  • LIC
  • Expert Waygook

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    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2020, 03:03:23 pm »
Isn't it a drag to have to worry about freezing water pipes for several months a year? Why do you do it?


Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2020, 05:35:06 pm »
Update:  so this past month I decided to turn my boiler on "waechul" for just 2 nights (the 2 coldest days of the month...rest of the days have been pretty mild so didn't bother).   

My gas bill came out to 3,500 won for leaving it on waechul for just 2 nights (roughly 24 hours total. I would turn off during the day).  That means, if I left it on all day / night during the winter, each month would come out to about 105,000 won per month.  That's just for leaving it on waechul to prevent pipes from freezing.  That doesn't included what I'd be spending on gas for showers and dishwashing etc so add on another 15-25k won per month so in total I'd be spending around 130,000 won a month on gas alone.   Doesn't that seem high to you?

I don't know where people say it costs almost nothing to leave it on waechul and just be safe.  It costs 100,000 won a month for literally just keeping the pipes from freezing, even though I've been through many winters here in korea before and I never used it before and never had frozen pipes *knock on wood* and past winters have been much colder than this one.

I thought it might only cost about 5000 won a month to leave it on waechul but it's definitely using a lot of gas.   I think if the temperature outside is around -5 is or so, you don't need to turn it on.  At least in my experience, I've never had frozen pipes and had winter nights as low as -10 before.   I don't know, maybe I'm playing with fire and my pipes freeze up on me, or maybe it depends on  your building....build type, pipes type, etc.   If I know we're going to have a really cold spell, then I'd probably turn it on at night, but I don't think I'll be using it all if it's just -5.   


  • Lazio
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    • January 27, 2018, 03:56:10 pm
    • Gyeongi-do
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2020, 06:34:27 pm »
Update:  so this past month I decided to turn my boiler on "waechul" for just 2 nights (the 2 coldest days of the month...rest of the days have been pretty mild so didn't bother).   

My gas bill came out to 3,500 won for leaving it on waechul for just 2 nights (roughly 24 hours total. I would turn off during the day).  That means, if I left it on all day / night during the winter, each month would come out to about 105,000 won per month.  That's just for leaving it on waechul to prevent pipes from freezing.  That doesn't included what I'd be spending on gas for showers and dishwashing etc so add on another 15-25k won per month so in total I'd be spending around 130,000 won a month on gas alone.   Doesn't that seem high to you?

I don't know where people say it costs almost nothing to leave it on waechul and just be safe.  It costs 100,000 won a month for literally just keeping the pipes from freezing, even though I've been through many winters here in korea before and I never used it before and never had frozen pipes *knock on wood* and past winters have been much colder than this one.

I thought it might only cost about 5000 won a month to leave it on waechul but it's definitely using a lot of gas.   I think if the temperature outside is around -5 is or so, you don't need to turn it on.  At least in my experience, I've never had frozen pipes and had winter nights as low as -10 before.   I don't know, maybe I'm playing with fire and my pipes freeze up on me, or maybe it depends on  your building....build type, pipes type, etc.   If I know we're going to have a really cold spell, then I'd probably turn it on at night, but I don't think I'll be using it all if it's just -5.   

I've never really used the "out" setting on my boiler but that indeed sounds a lot. You might as well heat the house properly with that much gas.
For reference, my pretty efficient condensing boiler uses about 1.8-1.9 cubic meter of gas if I run it for an hour. That's in a 33pyeong apartment, so it's a lot of water to heat up. 1 cubic meter of gas costs roughly 750won. I assume your place is smaller so 1 cubic meter of gas is plenty enough to make your floor nice and warm.
Our gas bill was 76,000 for January and it was 23-24 degrees Celsius all the time, day and night.

*edit
But how do you know it was 3500won to run your boiler? Just simply deducted your normal usage from the bill? That could be inaccurate, since the water in winter is really cold so it takes more gas to heat it up.Even if you wash the same amount of dishes and shower for a flat 10 minutes every day, it will cost you more in winter because the starting water temperature is lower.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 08:37:06 am by Lazio »


Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2020, 06:55:02 pm »
At my last apartment in Daegu we'd run the ondol all the time on high when we were at home (nights and weekends) and our gas bill was like 80,000 a month max in the winter. Unless you have a really shitty boiler you shouldn't be spending much on waechul. It really just runs for like a few minutes and moves the water around for a bit then shuts off.
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
Quote
Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


  • lhelena
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    • March 11, 2018, 01:57:14 pm
    • Anseong
Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2020, 07:59:51 am »
My gas bill has never been more than like 45,000. I leave mine on the reserve/waechul setting pretty much all winter and then actually run the ondol at night. I don't know if I just have a very efficient boiler or what but that sounds very high.


  • Mezoti97
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Re: Is This True or Just Paranoid LandLord?
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2020, 09:27:45 am »
Your gas bill in the winter also depends on how large your apartment is and, if your apartment is larger than a studio (i.e., has one or more separate bedrooms), whether you use the ondol for every room or turn off the switches that control which room the ondol will turn on in, so that the ondol only turns on in a certain room(s).