Thursday, March 17, 2011

My New Solar Dryer

Here at the Green Family we like to keep things easy while being green.  Some of our green activities this spring have included hanging up laundry to dry. I usually drag my feet each spring getting back out to do this but once I get in the habit of hanging up the laundry outside.  I was lucky enough to inherit a clothesline with my house.
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And oh what a clothes line it is. It has four  lines to it. When weather conditions are right I can dry clothes faster out here than in the dryer. We all know that a washing machine finishes a load faster than the dryer.  Given that fact, I can have two loads of laundry out on the clothes line dry faster than I can have one load of laundry in the washing machine.  As a matter of point. today I had some of the clothes on the line dry faster than I could get the next load out there.  We expanded our clothes line last year from the two lines you see to four and since then I have never been able to completely fill the line, as the clothes dry faster than I can wash four loads.
I could go on about the joys and benefits of line drying but instead I will highlight only a handful
  • Line drying saves you energy = cost savings. The dryer is one of the top three energy users in your home.  You can figure your cost to run an electric dryer here.  In my case it costs me about $206 a year to run my electric dryer.  I happen to live where energy costs are low but I do more above average laundry. Go figure 3 active kids, live on a farm. (I just don’t know where the dirty clothes come from –hehe).
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  • Line drying saves your clothes.  Clothes that are line dried last longer. Did you ever stop to think about what lint really is or where it comes from? It is from your clothes. The dryer is causing wear and tear on your clothes.
  • Hanging up your clothes is an excuse to go outside a couple of times a day, and when the weather is nice we need all the reasons we can get to go outside
  • Even if you only use your clothesline when the seasons and weather permit, you will save significantly, we figure we have prolonged the life of our dryer but letting it sit idle most of each summer. ( In order to keep up with laundry I need to wash at least one load a day, therefore on inclement weather days I will use the dryer to keep my sanity.)
  • When you line dry your clothes, they smell great.  IMG_3148
  • Line drying your whites is a great alternative to bleaching them. If you clothesline gets a lot of sun the sun will bleach your clothes for you. No more using liquid bleach! Whoo Hoo! Alternatively if you have dark clothing that you do not want the sun to bleach dry them on a line in the shade, turning them inside out works well also.
  • If you iron your clothes line drying will eliminate or reduce your need to iron.  Drying your button down shirts buttoned up and upside down will leave them mostly wrinkle free.  As for pants hang them folded at the crease and from the bottom for dress slacks. I have found that this does not increase the drying time significantly and one does not have a folded crease across the legs.
  • Folding laundry is so much easier when you are taking it down off a line versus pulling it out of a dryer. No stooping.
  • There is no need to buy dryer sheets = another money $avings  If you find the clothes a bit stiff to your liking simply add about a half cup of white vinegar to your washing machine. Bonus – The vinegar will disinfect and remove some of the lingering  odors glaubig-familyjpg-0bf9f534ac7b2939_large
  • You just might be able to get the kids to help.  At least my kids think hanging the laundry up to dry is infinitely more interesting than putting it in the dryer.  If they do it on their own it might end up looking like this
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  • IMHO line drying does not take up any more time than using a dryer, as previously stated I can dry more loads quicker than in my dryer. If you were to total the complete amount of time line drying takes versus machine drying and added in the time it takes to walk outside hang up laundry and take down laundry, line drying comes out ahead.  Yes there is a convenience factor in using the dryer but it takes less than 5 minutes for me to get the laundry out of the washing machine and hang it up. If I have another load out on the line I take down one hang up one. Use two baskets or your dry clothes will end up damp again.
Happy secher au vent season as we like to call it here.

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