This week we got our outdoor clothesline up and running, and I’m looking forward to watching our propane use drop another notch because there is no doubt that:
Line Drying Saves Energy
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that all residential clothes dryers in the U.S. annually consume about
43 billion kilowatt hours of electricity
445 million therms of natural gas,
Line Drying Saves Money
- The electricity and gas use mentioned above all costs money. One estimate I found on line was $193 per year. As energy costs rise, that figure will go up. Who wouldn’t like to be handed $200?
- The more we use clothes dryers, the sooner these costly appliances wear out and must be replaced.
- Line drying means no softener sheets to buy.
- Line drying means needing to buy clothes less often.
How Line Drying Saves Clothes
Your dryer is really beating up your clothes – especially at high temperatures.
Tests on cotton fabrics have shown that they suffer serious abrasions and cracking damage from repeated drying. The cracks that appear in cotton fibers after high-temperature drying can reduce the fabric’s strength by 25% or more.
Abrasion from the tumbling action of dryers also damages your clothes.
Not only cottons are vulnerable to dryer damage. The heat and abrasion of the dryer is known to destroy or overstretch the rubber elastic in pants, socks and underwear.
Just think about all that fluff you clean out of the lint screen after every single use. That “lint” is being rubbed off your clothes. They are that much thinner than they were before tumbling dry. You can’t see a difference from an individual session, but it is adding up.
LAUNDRY TIPS from energy.gov
- Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
- Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
- Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
- Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
- Clean the lint screen in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation and prevent fire hazards.
- Periodically, use the long nozzle tip on your vacuum cleaner to remove the lint that collects below the lint screen in the lint screen slot of your clothes dryer.
- Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the heat remaining in the dryer.
- Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material — not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
- Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.
We had to consider carefully where to put our line. We decided not put place it on the south side of the house because we have a natural view out there. It’s also the area where birds congregate for the feeder and bird bath and the many plants, shrubs and trees that create a bird-friendly habitat on that side.
The north side is more problematic because we don’t have very much level ground there, but we were able to place it so it will get sun most of the day without shading our hot water solar collectors.
It’s only a few steps off the porch, which is handy.
I like the umbrella style we chose. It uses space efficiently and can be closed up when not in use.
Hanging out the clothes was one of my childhood chores. I didn’t appreciate it every time as a kid, but now when I hang clothes out, and even more when I gather up clothes that smell like fresh air and sunshine, I feel like I’m a kid again.
What do you like about hanging clothes outside on a line?