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During your time in Mexico, it is wise to take some precautions.

Water
Drink filtered water or bottled water.

Vegetables and Fruits
It is recommended that you wash you vegetables thoroughly and soak them in a special solution of purifying drops (found in any supermarket).

Home Finding
When choosing a place to live here are some things to consider: location (proximity to work and or schools), security, proximity to services and infrastructure, and the terms of the lease agreement.

Try to rent a house or an apartment with an installed and functioning telephone, since experience has shown that if you rent a house without a telephone service, it may take weeks to have a line installed. In some areas of the city, getting a new phone line is somewhere between hard and impossible.

If you adore the house and can live without a phone - a cellular phone may be an alternative. Sometimes an agreement with payment to a serviceman in the neighborhood will get a phone (or extra line) installed today. Do not try to change the telephone listing to your name, as it can be a long and expensive process. The phone bill will usually be in the name of the owner or a previous tenant, and should come to the house each month with a stated due date.

If you do not receive a bill within two months, check with Telmex, the national phone service. As a rule, the phone company cuts off after two months of nonpayment. If you have the phone line removed from the house, you will be responsible to obtaining a new line. The telephone bill can be paid at bank and at authorized establishments like Superama, Sumesa, Sanborns etc. Payment of Telmex bills may also automatically be made from a peso checking account.

Mail Delivery
The mailman comes infrequently to some areas, and more frequently in others. It all depends on where you receive your mail. November 12 is Mailman's Day, and you are expected to tip him on this date and at Christmas. Either you will find an envelope in your mailbox, or he may ring your doorbell for his tip on that day. How much you tip him will depend on where you live, so ask your neighbors what is customary. If you find that you are not receiving any mail at your home, ask at the post office, in case the owners have rerouted all of the mail to their new address or there is some other problem.

Electricity
The electricity bill will usually be in the either the name of the owner or the previous tenant. The meters are read approximately every other month, after which you should receive a bill. Bills are payable at most banks and supermarkets prior to the due date shown. Problems with low-voltage and service interruption may be reported by calling one of the 24-hour service lines. Call 5629 7171 in the D.F. In the north zone of State of Mexico, call 5836 6000. In the southwest zone of the State of Mexico, Naucalpan and Huixquilucan, call 5629 7171. The general switchboard telephone number is 5629 7100. For complaints call 5140 0070 to 23.

Sometimes, either inadvertently or on purpose, others will tap into your electric utilities line. If you have any doubt that you are using the amount of electricity that shows on the bill, you can easily check to see if someone else is using (some) of your electricity. Turn off the main power switch to the house. The main fuse box may be found outside a house, in the garden or garage area. Go and watch your electricity meter. If it moves and you are SURE that there is nothing electrical is plugged into your outlets, someone else has tapped into your line. Report this immediately.

Their e-mail with complaints or reports on service is: sst@inter01.lfc.gob.mx and Internet site is: http://www.lfc.gob.mx/.

Surge suppressors are a must for your computers and any other electronic equipment of value. In fact, there are some expatriates who have surge suppressors on every electrical outlet in the house just in case. A back-up battery/power source for your computer will also allow you to properly shut the computer down when hit by power outages which are more frequent in Mexico, depending on where you live.

Natural Gas
Residents of homes will find a natural gas tank located in the yard or up on the roof of the building. If you can't find it, ask the owner or his or her representative to show you where it is. This may be important since the gauge that shows how much gas you have is located on the top of the tank. Gas is delivered to your home by the trucks of various gas companies, either at your request or on a regularly scheduled basis. Current exceptions are some areas of La Herradura, where gas is supplied via underground pipes with the bill then later delivered to your home.

To obtain regular delivery of gas, it is highly recommended that you get a contract with one of the companies that deliver to your area. If the intake valve is located inside the property's perimeter, you will need to allow the gas truck access to the property. Don't wait until the tank is near empty to call for a delivery, which can sometimes take days. Also, check the gauge on the tank around Christmas, as gas companies do not take into consideration the increased demand during that time of the year.

Apartment complexes usually charge the individual owner or tenant either a metered rate, or a proportional charge according to the number of apartments. The administration office should give you the bill, which can usually be paid at their office. For houses, payment is made in cash or by check when the gas is delivered. Some people tip the deliverymen each time; others do not and still receive regular contracted deliveries. Many tip the deliverymen at Christmas. Natural gas is used for the stove, water heaters, individual heaters, gas clothes dryer and sometimes central heating. The size of the tank may be of importance, depending on the needs of your family and the appliances requiring natural gas. Check before renting.

Water
Issues about water in Mexico City include too much water (on the streets during heavy rains, which can make the roads treacherous), too little water (coming from the pipes in the street into the house), and the quality of water. Since the flow of water from the street into the home can be inconstant, most houses have water storage tanks and cisterns called tinacos. The tinacos hold water in reserve for household use when water from the street is unavailable or the pressure is too low for the water to reach the higher floors of the house. It is highly recommended that you have your tinacos cleaned two to four times per year, depending on the quality of the water in your area.

If you don't do this often enough, you get what plumbers in Mexico smilingly call agua chocolate (chocolate or sludge water). After having your tinacos cleaned, unhook the hoses from your washing machine, turn on the water faucets and clean out the pipes. It can be very expensive to repair.

comms@iwcmexicocity.org

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