It all started at 11pm on a Saturday night. My friend, Sarah (who lives in Shymkent), and I were sitting in my living room playing games. I went into the kitchen to get a drink and suddenly my foot was wet. When I looked down, there was a puddle on the ground coming from beneath the cabinet. I checked to make sure it didn't look like it was coming from the sink. I also thought maybe I was just really messy when pouring tea and poured it on the floor. There was one more source of potential water in the kitchen, which ended up being the culprit.
In Kazakhstan we have city-wide heating. City-wide heating is for all the apartments. Houses and private buildings have to heat their own buildings. This is left over from the Soviet Era. There is a heating station in the city that heats up water. That water is then piped throughout the city (being reheated in a few different locations). The water is pumped into every apartment building. Within each apartment building there are several pumps (usually one for each stairwell) that pump the hot water up to the top floor (going through radiators and pipes in each apartment on the way up). The water then goes back down through the pipes in a different room and leaves the building on a journey to other apartment buildings throughout the city.
The radiator in the kitchen was the culprit of the leak. My radiators are old and we have been thinking we would end up having to replace them fairly soon, but they were never the highest priority. On Saturday night, they became a high priority. My Kazakh father (who is also our maintenance person at the office) came to the apartment and went down to the second floor to ask them to shut of the valves they have in their apartment connected to the heating pipes. This prevented them, myself, and my third floor neighbor from having heat overnight, but allowed us to not wake up to a swimming pool.
On Sunday we hired someone to come and replace the radiators in my kitchen and living room with new radiators. I also asked that we place shut-off valves on the pipes so that we can shut off our own water if we have another leak in the future (or if I get too hot as there is no way to control the heat). The work was completed in about 1 1/2 hours and cost a total of less than $200 for the labor and supplies. This should keep me warm and dry.