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Time for you to learn how to use Korean Floor Heating, also known as Ondol Heating. Yep. This is gonna be a bit of a boring video, kind of like our How to Use a Korean Washing Machine video, but it’s necessary! We had no clue how to use the floor heaters ourselves until we were taught, so now we’re gonna spread the Ondol Heating Love.

See, we did our How to Stay Warm in Korea video a short while ago, but we didn’t mention the floor heating, because, well, we barely use it at all. Maybe it’s the crazy Canadian in us, but we don’t like it when the air gets hot. We like to be bundled up and to breathe cold air. Using a heater, though, makes the air all warm and nasty, and we don’t like that. Is that weird?

Anyhow, we’ve recently changed our tune, because it’s just getting so bloody cold that we sometimes, SOMETIMES have to resort to the floor heater. Yes, floor heater. A Korean floor heater, known in Korea as an “Ondol,” isn’t like the heater we’re used to back in North America. Back home, the heaters would just blow hot air through the vents. Ondols, on the other hand, don’t use hot air. They use hot water below the floor to warm up the floors, and then the room gets warm and toasty as a result. Nice! It’s especially popular in Korea, since Koreans are a floor-sitting rather than a chair-sitting culture. And, boy, sitting on an ondol heated floor is totally comforting.

If you’re in a bind for time, here’s are the few steps you need to know to turn on your Korean floor heater:

1) Plug it in under your kitchen sink: most of the time it’s under the kitchen sink, at least. That’s where we’ve always seen them.
2) Crank your thermostat up: Find the thermostat on a wall somewhere in your place. Crank that badboy up to something like 24 degrees or so
3) Slightly turn the water lever under your sink: That’ll get the water flowing. Don’t turn it up all the way. You’ll pour in too much water unnecessarily. In fact, we did that last year, and somehow it caused a short circuit in our place. Too much water = bad.
4) Wait a few hours: it doesn’t take effect instantly. Go out and play. Or go sleep. Or go eat. Go make a movie. Yeah!

Before we end, though, we’d like to say thanks to our YouTube subscribers, because we’ve just reached 30,000 subscribers! Amazing! We never thought we’d have this many people subbing to our channel! So thanks to all of you! Also, thanks to JB and Annie from [닉쑤] Enjoy Your Happy Life~* for translating this super boring video. Since it’s so boring, Martina drew a picture, because she likes drawing pictures. Here it is:

Ondol Heating

Hooray Korean Floor Heating! And that should be that. If there’s anything we missed, if your Korean Floor Heater/Ondol is different than ours, or if we’re flat out wrong about anything, please let us know!

ToFebruary
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  1. Antonio Tejada

    I have underfloor heating here in Switzerland. It’s fantastic, way better than that vent crap in USA. Like all radiator heating, it’s more efficient than forced air. The big downside is that it costs more to install when the house is built.

    Also, that thing under the sink probably isn’t actually the heater — there’s probably a big boiler in the building. More likely, the thingie under the sink is an automatic valve controlled by the thermostat, together with a flow meter to measure your energy usage.

    It should make no difference whether the manual valve is open fully or just part way: the meter should be billing you based on the amount of warmth you use, not on the amount of water that flows by. The automatic valve would just change its behavior based on what the thermostat tells it to do.

  2. From_the_NorthCountry

    Forgot to say, your videos are very interesting, even though I am not in Korea.

  3. From_the_NorthCountry

    Another Canadian here (still in Canada, though I hope to visit Korea some day.) “We like to be bundled up and to breathe cold air???” You LIKE it? I do that, to save money but I DON’T like it. Wish I had ondol though….warm floors would be so nice

  4. Alyssa Griffin

    I totally understand the want to keep the heater off. It does feel weird that dry heat. Maybe it is because I am Acadian and we like to bundle up too. Fuzzy socks work just as well. Well… until it gets deathly cold but that rarely happens where I live! I wouldn’t mind a floor heater for my bathroom though!

  5. I know it varies, but what would you say the average bill is during the winter time when the heat is on? Also, does the bill vary depending on temperature (ie. the hotter you turn it up, the more expensive it is?) or is it solely based on how long you have the heat on for?

  6. Thats still very usual because if i was there i wouldn’t know what to do if i went to korea. This is a very helpful video thank you.

  7. Hi im from australia and am used to gas fire heating… the floor ondol heating sounds so great though! Out of curiosity… do the Koreans have a natural gas supply? do you know of anyone using gas fires? thanks! cool video :)

  8. wow… I really had no idea you could warm your house through floor heating… (and Martina: it wasn’t boring at all, don’t worry!)

    thanks a lot for this interesting korean-culture fact…
    lol

  9. I moved to south korea and I don’t have to plug in my heater… I just have to push a button and turn it up to the temp that i want… 

  10. Billie Moore

    Well I don’t live in Korea but I thought your video was still interesting. You guys are fantastic personalities that are great to watch. 

  11. very very boring and self indulgent.

  12. you are right, martina. it’s very, very boring… but informative! thank you! hi spudgy~

  13. Congrat! I love your creative videos. :P Connect to you guys since we’re fellow Canadians!

  14. Jasminemin

    wow what a great web site!!!!

  15. Jasminemin

    wow what a great web site!!!!

  16. Most of the floor heating systems in korea you dont need to turn the water valve manually. It is Automatic.
    And the machine recycles the water so there is no water waste.

  17. Most of the floor heating systems in korea you dont need to turn the water valve manually. It is Automatic.
    And the machine recycles the water so there is no water waste.

  18. so. you just let it run until you want to turn the heating off?

  19. I hate those electric fans that generate heat. My parents have one in their bathroom, and I accidentally touched it when it was on. X3 It burns . . . .

  20. Definitely korean. My aunt and uncle in Sherman Oaks built a new house, and they installed floor heating throughout the first floor. It's not the hot water variety (it's problematic and hard to hire someone in the US to fix), they have an electric heating element variety that's just underneath the tiles.

    She's right, it's because koreans spend alot of time on the floor, and carpet is not common. Since koreans don't wear shoes indoors, floor heating is great when you get up in the morning and walk to the bathroom. It's funny how stuff like that carries over to the states with relatives.

  21. Oh my gosh~~~~~!! I found "water heating system" in TX, US. If you live in near Dallas Fort Worth area, you can visit "www.berkeys.com" They are selling and installing Rinnai (which is from SKorea.) I want to get it so badly~~~!! :)

  22. I'm Korean
    I like both of you
    Your videos very fun fun fun!!

  23. Umm. I had lived in Korea as a Korean for more than 20 years since I was born, and I didn't know I have to "turn it on" to use. o_o…. I thought that's just automatic or something! Now I think about it… yea of course you have to turn it on….. How come I didn't realize it.
    Thanks for the info ToT

  24. Oh my gosh! This IS actually one of the most useful videos I've seen so far!!!!! I have a work to do tonite under my sink. No wonder I had no heats on till now…

  25. The video wasn't boring at all. But I also like random-ness ^^. But that's really cool, I wish America had this as well because my feet are ALWAYS freezing during the winter.

    • We do have it in America. It's called radiant heating and it's getting pretty common in Northern California (San Francisco, especially) where it neither gets too warm nor too cold but hovers around 17 deg Celsius all the time, and normal heaters are just too impractical (e.g. they get too hot, too expensive). I think it's getting popular in environmentally conscious West Coast cities like Seattle and Portland, too. And the Romans did it way back when ;-)

  26. Fantastic. really well explained.

  27. iloveumartina

    You guys make seemingly boring video materials into actual awesomeness.. HoorAY FOR EYK!!

  28. its okay that you don't use it that often, you're Canadian. I'm in Canada right now (originally from Germany) and we put on 20°C at max (I love Canada for using Celsius and not Fahenheit <3)

  29. I thought utilities were covered by the school :|

    • Hamid Mahdi

      No, only room and board is covered by the school. Even if utilities were covered your employer might advise you to keep it turned off except in dire circumstances so that it stays within the school's budget.

  30. hilarious video and yet educational to foreigners :) btw, the video is on youtube's mainpage

  31. Is anybody else worried about what appears to be some serious electronics mounted directly below the sink drainage pipes?

  32. It`s not water its actually gas.
    and the sound is of the gas flowing

  33. Lorena Lytle

    Thank you so much. I am literally four days away from moving to Korea to teach Kindergarten, and I like a snuggly warm house during the frigid winter months. It would have been really frustrating to move into a cold apartment, and spend hours pushing buttons in vain, cursing the heavens for the lack of snuggly warmth…Now I don't have to ;D

  34. Could you do a video on how to get your hair cut in Korea? I imagine it must be difficult to explain what you want to a stylist if you aren't fluent D: Plus I love both of your hair ♡

  35. I DEMAND A BEST OF SPUDGY DANCE COMPILATION IN HD! DO IT!

  36. I enjoy the Strong Bad reference at the end. Also, I can't seem to get my apartment over 18 degrees even though my thermostat is up to max. I want to turn up the water, but all of the knobs are grey and uniform under my sink!

  37. Cheers for this video, I had no idea that it was all located under the sink, good to know if I have any problem. Cheers again.

  38. Matthew Jeffers

    You guys are great! Thanks for telling us about this in case we have to confront it ourselves.

  39. cool system…
    we kinda have the same thing in our country… I dunno much about it cz I've never lived there… only visited a few times during winter…
    anyways… interesting clip…

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