What to do with our kitchen appliances from Australia?
December 1, 2011 2:33 PM   Subscribe

We are in the US - Help me figure out what to do with our kitchen appliances from Australia.

In short, moved to Australia, got married, gifted with and/or purchased a lot of kitchen appliances (am an avid home cook). So... A year and a half later, we had to move back to the US very quickly and brought almost everything with us. Since then, we have VERY generous friends and family, and due to that the appliances have sat on a wire shelf in our garage collecting dust.

The dust now is over four years old. We have decided to put down roots and need to free up the real estate in our garage. The appliances are in great shape but shipping them back to a friend or relative would cost more than they are worth. Our local Salvation Army charities don't want them and I don't want to simply put them in the trash. Seems wrong.

Any good ideas of how to get rid of them without going to waste?
posted by inquisitrix to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Isn't this sort of what Ebay and Craigslist specialize in? The things you think someone could never possibly want are, suddenly, miraculously, of great value to another person.
posted by jph at 2:38 PM on December 1, 2011

Or freecycle, if they have that in the US?

AFAIK, the US also runs on a 220/240V system, but I think the plugs are a different configuration - just need one of those travel adaptors. Let any interested parties know this.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:55 PM on December 1, 2011

Just take them to an electronics recycling center. 240V 50Hz appliance motors will be very unhappy with a 110V 60Hz supply. A voltage converting travel adaptor won't be strong enough to run an appliance like a blender, and there's a risk of fire from overloading the adaptor.
posted by monotreme at 3:02 PM on December 1, 2011

If you have any appliances you would actually like to use, you can get a converter like this. We have one that we use to run an Italian espresso machine in the U.S. and we've never had any problems. If we owned a house (we rent) we would probably go ahead and install a European outlet (a electrician can do this) to run our European electronics.
posted by jrichards at 3:16 PM on December 1, 2011

Seconding the step-up/down converter idea. I brought a nice DeLonghi espresso machine from the States when I moved to Korea, and once here I bought a step-up/down converter that works like magic to get a 110v appliance to work on a 220v system (that's the "step down"). Make sure the wattage is appropriate for your appliances; check the back or bottom for that info.
posted by holterbarbour at 3:28 PM on December 1, 2011

UbuRovias: you are half right. The power coming into homes is very often 220v. Technically, it is two 110v lines that are 180 degrees out of phase with each other, so that there is 220v of potential between the two. But except for major appliances like air conditioners, dryers and stoves, all of the circuits in the house are split between one phase and the other, against a 0v neutral. When a 220v circuit is installed, two 110v circuit breakers are ganged together and each leg of the circuit is fed by one of the breakers.

What kind of appliances are they? Because if they are "dumb" appliances, like skillets, toasters or tea kettles, you can probably get a 220v outlet installed in your house and change the plug on the appliance and off you go. (Bonus: you might already have one behind the stove. There was a time when electricity was cheaper than gas, and homes built or remodeled during that time will likely have 220v installed.)

If they are any more complicated than that, you are out of luck unless you want a step-up converter in your kitchen. Unless their tags specifically say they are cool with 50/60 hz power. Some things might even say they are able to accept 110/220 50/60, and then you can just change the plug to a 110v plug and off you go.

Alternate suggestion: if it is something you really like, it might be possible to have an electronics person replace the internal power supply. Many products are built in a modular fashion, where all that is necessary to convert one to a different supply power is changing the power supply and maybe a lightbulb.
posted by gjc at 4:10 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ask around at immigrant focused department stores (depending on where you are at) - there are some that cater almost exclusively to the shopping needs of those going back to the 'home country' laden with gifts, the majority of which tend to follow the 220V systems - so you often see signs outside that say "220V appliances available" or some such. You may be able to put up a poster offering your products for sale (at a lower price) etc
posted by infini at 7:32 PM on December 1, 2011

You can get a converter, but it will likely cost as much as your most expensive appliance and be a pain in the neck. You cannot run 240v appliances from a 110v supply - not only will they not work properly, but anything with a motor may overheat and catch fire.

Setting up one (or more) 220v outlets will likely lead to you eventually plugging one of the appliances into the wrong outlet, with obvious results.

I know someone who tried this in reverse and it ended up being more trouble than it was worth, so he ended up getting rid of the appliances, buying new ones and lived happily ever after. Some things just aren't worth doing when you add it all up.
posted by dg at 4:14 AM on December 2, 2011

Response by poster: We have a couple of convertors for other electronics things that we have kept. The point is that we don't need the appliances (because all have long since been replaced) and want them to be gone, but would prefer not to just dump them in a landfill.
posted by inquisitrix at 10:54 AM on December 2, 2011

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