Monday, January 31, 2011

Death of a Power Converter

Tragedy struck our household last week. My 750-watt step-down transformer, absolutely central to my life as a Hausfrau, gave up the ghost. It has powered my coffee maker, my mixer, my blender, my vacuum. Clearly, I cannot go on without coffee, baked goods and clean floors.

What is it, you ask? I had never even considered such a device until we planned our move to Europe. We came here with all our household belongings, including appliances that were designed for 110 volts of power, what comes out of the walls in American homes. Here, however, the wall provides 220 volts! All that power would just fry anything that we plugged in. It turns out that it's not as simple as getting a plug that fits the big round shape of the outlets. We had to buy a device to decrease the voltage to 110. But it's not only about voltage; there's also wattage to consider. Bottom line- appliances that mix, heat up or suck dust draw a lot of watts and a converter has a limit to how much it can handle. That means of course, that it's hard to find one that will meet the requirements of our appliances. We've only ever found them from U.S. companies. So, here we are just months from the end of our European experience- close enough that it seems like a waste to buy a new one and have it shipped overseas, far enough that I can't really get away with not vacuuming again.

Aaron and I had numerous discussions about the replacement of the the power converter and ultimately decided to buy another one. And that was the big happening of the week. Isn't it strange the things that can occupy so much of our time and energy? Things that are so essential to day-to-day life but really so mundane and trivial. I suppose that's just part of the business of living.

1 comment:

C N Heidelberg said...

We also had to get ours from the US! I love it though. I'm sure you'll be able to sell/give away yours to a fellow expat when you go. :)