In 2016 I was in Eastern Europe, in a home on the Caucasus Mountains.
This was my first time outside of North America and my most memorable trip.
I was leaning against metal piping underneath a window that almost burnt me. It was as warm as a human can withstand heat before screaming or having a reflex. This is when I discovered that there are different types of heating systems. I asked my friend why that hot metal piping was on the walls and not inside the walls. He explained to me that its purpose is for heating their home. The whole process of boiling water in a tank with natural gas and then pumping that hot water throughout a home into radiators was also explained to me. Since I am lucky enough to live in a first world country where forced air is the primary method of central heating systems, I was really able to appreciate my situation. The country I was in had a strange energy grid where individual sources of utilities were non-existent. If one person on the street did not pay their bill, or “stole” water/gas from the city, the local government would have to cut off water or gas to the entire street until somebody would pay the bill. This would happen often since the climate was freezing more than half of the year. When one or the other would be cut off, water would freeze in the pipes causing radiators and piping to burst. In this region, nobody could afford to just replace a broken part to anything. Virtually nobody could afford to call up an HVAC company to send out a plumber or HVAC technician. Some areas of town did not even have any type of heating repair service.