Tag Archives: energy

Drying Your Clothes with Less Energy

As the weather warms up, I’m starting to really wish for a clothesline. Only one reason one hasn’t been installed yet:

We’re renting.

We did think about it last year, and right about when we were starting to get winter rain was when my husband figured out a way he thinks he can manage it. Our budget is tight enough that we have to do this as cheaply as possible, and many of the freestanding solutions I saw were out of our budget last year.

This year the delay is different. With my husband out of work, we may only be here through April, then into the *eek!* inlaws’ house. And there’s no way we feel comfortable committing to a clothesline until we know we’re staying long enough to really reap the benefit.

Using a clothesline has a lot of advantages. First is how much you save on energy. Clothes dryers use a lot of it. According to energy.gov, a clothesdryer uses 1800–5000 watts. If you wash a mere 4 loads a week with 45 minutes drying time for each load, that’s 187.2 kilowatt-hours per year, and at $0.085/ kWH, is $23.88/year on the low side.

But most families use their dryers far more than that. Heck, I can end up doing a load a day if my son’s going through a bedwetting phase. With 4 people in the house there’s always enough to make it a full load immediately.

Winters here are mild enough that much of the time we could even dry the clothes outside. But there are indoor systems that you can use too, I know. My mom even had a clothesrack when I was a kid.

Of course, if you do have a dryer and just prefer to use it, there are things you can do to save energy. Keeping the lint trap clear is a big one that most of us know, yet some neglect.

Your washing machine can also make a difference. The newer horizontal axis ones are more efficient in many ways, but they can be better at getting water out of your clothes as they dry, so there’s less work for the dryer to do. But with other washers you can get a similar effect by doing an extra spin cycle at the end. More moisture will come out.

Replacing your dryer when the time comes is one of the best ways to cut back on its energy use. Look for one that has a moisture dectector, which is pretty common now, I think.  Look for the most energy efficient you can get on your budget.

I’m very hopeful that we’ll get things figured out here so that we can stay at least another year or so. If we manage that, I’m going to try to get that clothesline up this year!