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This summer we will be seeing another seven plane-loads of olim arriving from North America. As an oleh who arrived from the US two years ago, I have been involved in numerous discussions about appliances in Israel. Electricity in the US operates at 110 volts and electricity in Israel operates at 220 volts. Does it pay to bring appliances from the US with you or is it better to buy appliances here in Israel?
There probably is no right answer. It is best to be aware of the pros and cons and decide based on your own circumstances.
Many olim consider bringing their existing appliances from the US. It seems like the cheapest option. After all, you already own the appliances, and are very likely shipping a container with your other belongings anyway. Adding the appliances to the lift will not cost that much more to ship and seems to be a reasonable option. In order to operate most appliances, you would need a transformer that will convert the 110 volts to 220 volts. For a major appliance like a refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, washer or dryer, you can expect to pay about $70 for such a transformer.
If you are considering this option, you must be aware of some of the drawbacks. Operating an appliance on a transformer shortens the life of the appliance. A refrigerator that has an average life of 20 years may only last 15 if it is being run on a transformer. Additionally, running an appliance on a transformer takes more electricity than a 220 volt appliance. It has been estimated that running a refrigerator on a transformer for 10 years would incur enough additional electricity costs to match what it would cost to replace the 110 volt refrigerator with one that runs on 220 volts.
Why not just buy appliances in Israel? For an oven, washer and dryer, size is the main consideration; US appliances are considerably larger. Of course, you must also consider if your home in Israel is large enough for a full size US washer and dryer. Also, many kitchens do not have room for a large oven. If you can adjust to the smaller appliances available here, you would do best considering this option. It makes repairs a lot easier and allows you to be certain that the appliances you purchase fit in the space you have available.
Another popular option is to bring 220 volt appliances from the US. There are a few stores (mostly in the New York area) that sell the large US appliances for shipping to countries that operate on 220 volts. This allows you to operate your large appliances without a transformer, thereby avoiding the extra electricity needs. You still need to be aware that it may be a real hassle to get your appliances to fit in your apartment. Even if it does fit, it may require partially dismantling the appliance or removing a door jamb to get the appliance into a room.
A reader to email@example.com asks: My work schedule makes it more convenient to paint my home in the winter. However, a co-worker said that painting should always been done in the summer. Does it really make a difference?
If you would have asked this question 10 years ago, I would have agreed with your co-worker. The paints back then took a long time to dry. On a cold and damp winter day, it would often take more than a day for the paint to dry. Most often a second coat of paint is required, which can only be done after the first coat has dried. Working under these circumstances were very difficult and made it very impractical to paint in the winter.
New developments in paint have resolved this problem. The acrylic paints used today dry very quickly. In the winter, it takes the paint about 30 minutes to dry, and in the summer it only takes about 10 minutes. This makes it possible to give a second coat of paint very quickly, allowing you to finish a room the same day you begin. When you do any faux (i.e. sponging, ranging, etc.) painting, the winter actually has its advantages, as it is very challenging work when the paint dries so quickly in the summer.
Today's Do-It-Yourself Resource is: http://www.megavolt.co.il/, which has a wealth of information on all issues relating to electricity in Israel.
Readers' tips, questions and comments are always welcome!
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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