When you first move to Chiang Mai, you might encounter a few problems that the house youâ€™re renting (or buying) have. These are generally not big issues and can be easily fixed or avoided if you are aware of potential problems.
For example, homes in Thailand generally use septic tanks are usually used as a means of dealing with wastes, whereas in your home country, a sewerage system might be used so everything just flows into the sea. Also, Thai toilets are not able to handle as much toilet paper as toilets in Western countries, so a lot of problems can be avoided if you try to limit the amount of toilet paper that goes into the toilet.
Iâ€™m not a plumber nor an electrician. The purpose of this article give you some simple suggestions to try before calling for help.
Here are the top problems tenants call us about and what to do if you experience it:
Thereâ€™s a foul smell coming from the drain!
This can happen when the drain has not been used for a while or the water has dried out in the trap, for example in houses that has been unoccupied for a while, or even in new houses.
Try flushing the drain with lots of water.
You can also buy Effective Microorganisms (EM) to put down the drain to help break down organic matters.
This is another very common problem. The toilets in Chiang Mai / Thailand are not able to deal with lots of toilet paper. Thatâ€™s why you often see signs in public toilets telling you to put the toilet paper in the bin, not down the toilet. At home, Iâ€™ve found that the toilet can handle a certain amount of toilet paper, but not too much.
Try to limit the amount of toilet paper you throw into the toilet
Buy a packet of EM from the supermarket cleaning section (very inexpensive) and flush it down the toilet once a month. This will keep the septic tank healthy with organisms so they can break down wastes effectively.
I have no electricity!
This can happen in Chiang Mai, especially during a storm or heavy rain and can last anything from a few minutes to a few hours.
If you have no electricity in the whole house or part of the house:
Firstly check the propertyâ€™s electric safety box. Have to look to see if any of the switches are in the "offâ€ť position (turned down). If they are, flick these switches up and you should get power back. If this happens frequently, contact the agent or owner to send an electrician to take a look at why this is happening.
If all the switches are up / on "onâ€ť position, check with your neighbours. Chances are that youâ€™re not the only one who has a black out. Please wait and eventually the power will be turned back on. You can also contact PEA (Provincial Electrical Authority) to report the blackout and they might be able to give you an idea of how long the power will be out for. They do have English speaking operators (although I havenâ€™t tried them out!)
PEA Call centre: 1129 ,
Sometimes when tenants go away for a long period of time and returns to find the house without electricity, a possible reason is that the electric bill has not been paid and PEA has disconnected your power supply. In this case, youâ€™ll need to take your latest bill and go to your local PEA office to pay. There is also a fee to have the electricity reconnected. PEA will then reconnect your electric supply normally on the same afternoon on a working day (or the day after).
Tip: If you plan to go away for long periods, please arrange with a friend or neighbour to pick up and help you pay your bill.
I have no water!
If youâ€™re just moving into the house, check the valve on the water meter in front of the house. If the valve is turned off, then water will not be going into the house. Turn the valve on.
Check the water pump and tank if you have one. Make sure the water pump is turned on.
Check with the neighbours if they have water. Occasionally, the water company does do work on the mains so water will be turned off.
Check if youâ€™ve paid your water bill. The water supply might have been disconnected. In this case, youâ€™ll need to go to the Provincial Water Authority (PWA) near Kumtieng Market on the Super Highway to pay the bill and the fine before they will come to reconnect the water.
PWA Call Centre: 1662, Website: www.pwa.co.th (Thai)