A Lesson Learned about Roman Water

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Fountain on Via Paolina, just around the corner from Via Liberiana

No, I didn’t just learn that the water in Rome is so exceptionally clean therefore, instead of wasting my money on bottled water, I should just keep refilling a bottle of my own from one of the city’s ubiquitous fountains. I already knew that. And I have yet to partake in that practice, I might add–I’ve been on a huge l’acqua frizzante kick since I arrived.

What I did learn: Roman water has incredibly high levels of calcium which leads to a build-up of this element in everything from the tea kettle to the shower head to the hot water heater. The latter I learned the hard way–I’ll get to that shortly. The lesson: every other week or so, soak and/or clean these objects in white vinegar to destroy the calcium build-up.  I would never have known this if not for Elena, my new hairdresser, friend and current sublet-mate. Also on the white vinegar front, it seems to reign supreme for tackling an entire laundry list of household tasks.  Who knew?!

Back to the hot water heater. Long story short, we lost power one night–in just our apartment, not the entire building. After some trying & testing once we were up & running, we discovered the power only went out when the hot water heater was on. An electrician came by to inspect the heater and told us the problem wasn’t electrical.  Five-days-with-no-hot-water later, we learned that calcium had built up inside the year-and-a-half-old device. Moral of the story: have the calcium deposits removed from your hot water heater once a year to prevent anything like this from ever happening to you.

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