Peaceful Valley*
Permies likes alternative energy and the farmer likes really saving energy - eliminate the clothes dryer permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login


permies » forums » energy » alternative energy
Bookmark "really saving energy - eliminate the clothes dryer" Watch "really saving energy - eliminate the clothes dryer" New topic
Forums: conservation alternative energy
Author

really saving energy - eliminate the clothes dryer

Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    8
Paul and Jocelyn talk about some friends of theirs that recently had an energy audit on their house. They talk about CFL lighting, and the importance of making lifestyle changes in sustainability. podcast


www.thehappypermaculturalist.wordpress.com
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
We are WWOOF hosts and, being relatively close to Paris, get quite a lot of American youngsters staying with us. One particular girl kept taking photos of me putting the washing on the line. So I had to ask why. "It's just SO cute" she replied. Cute? I was amazed that putting washing on the line could be 'cute' however she went on to explain that they would never, ever consider putting their clothes to dry anywhere other than a dryer. Anything else was just "too old-fashioned". Get real I thought to myself. I asked other American volunteers about washing etc and was amazed/horrified to find that putting clothes in the dryer is normal practice and "nobody thinks twice about it"! Not so in Europe, I'm glad to say. Hopefully they went away with a 'new' idea to try.
John Abacene


Joined: Oct 07, 2010
Posts: 114
My apologies for not having read all the post/comments/whatever on this thread, as I too am pressed for time as most people tend to be.
If what I add is redundant, because it has already been covered, again, I apologize.
(The following is about cooler times of the year when heat is useful)

Here is a problem, and a potential solution:

Problem: First, the technicalities of the time/labor that may be involved with alternative methods - this is, of course, a matter of personal conditions and preferences.
Second, this involves a lot of moisture/humidity, which could cause its own problems.

The in-between: Consider the efficiency of a dryer. - I know, it seems inefficient and costly, but that may have a lot to do with how things are situated, set-up and used.
If you can make more use of what comes from a clothes dryer, the efficiency can improve greatly. The (watsed?) heat, the exhaust, etc.

Possible solution: If the "utility room" (assumes there is one) heating ventilation can be re-directed or shut off, the dryer can heat that room or part of the home.
If the dryer is/can be located elsewhere, like in a garage or something, again, it is also providing heat.

My favorite though, is that sometimes you can have a small greenhouse next to the home where the dryer vent is. If so, especially if you build a small greenhouse using pallets as the base to a sub floor of sorts, maybe the dryer vent could vent under or through the greenhouse floor (before exiting?), thus also heating the greenhouse?

One of my greatest loves is taking problems and finding ways to turn them into solutions.
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2466
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  60
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I just found this thread and it's awesome pics and info after being very excited to see this Unbanning Clotheslines article from one of my NW (America) faves, The Sightline Institute.

I'm not sure how mapping the banned areas will help, unless they will be lobbying or documenting for policy or law changes.


I've been following Sightline Institute's efforts to "unban" the clothesline and they recently published that 19 states have laws protecting the use of solar energy which makes HOA (home owner association) rules that ban clotheslines illegal.

Yes.

Someone in the comments posted a link to what looks like it could be an important movie for building awareness in this space: Drying for Freedom.


Hands-on workshops in all shades of green - Cascadia & Seattle Eco Events Calendar | QuickBooks Consulting and Accounting Services - www.jocelyncampbell.com
Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    8
Paul and Jocelyn cover more listener questions in this podcast. Some things they talk about include Paul's food rating system, (similar to Jack Spirko's Agritrue), eco-labeling, nurture vs. nature, recycling, legality of things like the clothes line, and pirating copyrighted material.
Brett James


Joined: Mar 25, 2012
Posts: 2
I love my drying racks. I purchased a few to use during the winter indoors. During the summer, I try to use our clothesline as much as possible but it doesn't work so well during the winter. So I did a little research and came across this article here. After reading that, I was convinced to go looking on Craigslist to see if I could find some cheap racks and found a couple. During the winter, we use a wood stove for heating and I just set them up near the stove and the heat drys the clothes in no time at all. Plus, the house smells like fresh laundry for the next day or so.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14875
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Oooooooo shiny. I think this is a really cool design:



Full details: wall mounted clothes drying rack


sign up for my daily-ish email / rocket mass heater 4-DVD set / permaculture playing cards
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2093
Location: FL
    
  49
The dryer takes 45-50 minutes to dry a load of work pants, runs 240 volts. The breaker is 30 amps, the thing probably uses 20 amps. 240x20=4800 watts @ 13¢/kWh=62¢/load.
Down here in Florida, the clothesline takes 20-30 minutes, produces no lint, uses zero volts, zero amps.

Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
http://farmwhisperer.com
Erica Strauss


Joined: Mar 27, 2012
Posts: 3
Thanks for linking to my Wall Mounted DIY Drying Rack. I've since remodeled it and Version 2 works great! It folds flat to the wall when not in use, and hinges into a sideways-V to give two layers of drying in very little space. Also like the cost, which was about $3.



Detailed post here: http://www.nwedible.com/2012/04/wall-moutned-clothes-drying-rack-perfected.html


Northwest Edible Life - Life on Garden Time
www.nwedible.com - nwedible@gmail.com
Cris Bessette
volunteer

Joined: May 20, 2011
Posts: 669
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 8A
    
  29
Something I have not seen mentioned on this thread yet is the matter of if a piece of clothing is really "dirty".

For instance I know many people that will wear an article of clothing part of a day in an air conditioned building, then throw it in the wash.
When did it get dirty? The same type of person would look at me like I was a caveman if I said I would take it off, fold it, and wear it again a time or two.

There seems to be a mindset that says, "if you wear it even a little while, then it is automatically dirty and must be washed."

I will wear the same pair of clean , "nice" jeans to work for a week, when I get home in the evenings, I change into a "yard work" pair that I also use all week, they may get a little dirty, but that doesn't matter, because I will be the only one seeing them and besides, since when is dirt bad anyway?

Now, if I go out and get sweaty, then that stuff gets washed because I know people have a harder time smelling their own body odor than other's .

I use my washer maybe two or three times a month, and my drier even less, and then only on rainy days.

Kylie Harper


Joined: May 04, 2012
Posts: 28
Location: Zone 6, Kentucky, high water table
OK I was inspired by this thread! Today I installed 3 clotheslines between two big trees in my yard, which can hold about 2 loads from my washing machine. I'm shocked that the shirts really are almost completely dry and it's only been 20-30 minutes. It was so easy to put the clotheslines up, so this novice DIY-er is quite proud. Also, I have to say it's nice to get a stretch while hanging the clothes to dry and to have another excuse to be outside on a gorgeous day.
Scott Patrik


Joined: Mar 21, 2012
Posts: 6
Hi all,

I am thinking of making a equivalent to a solar dehydrator, but a compact outside drying room. I am in aust and the dryer gets used ( cloth napping a 13month old) a bit in winter. Was thinking if the same design features of the solar dehydrator that has the hot air going to the top and then second passive of condensation, the back up a black chimney. I remember watching one of pauls videos and the draw on the dehydrator was amazing, thought that this would work wonders for the colder months. I was thinking of having it 1.5/2 times the solar dehydrator size and putting possibly either rope or dowell as the things to hang the clothes on. Thinking that I should be able to source all the goods second hand for Around $50, emphasis being on having the main section air tight....

Any thoughts / hints / advice?
Deb Stephens


Joined: Dec 03, 2011
Posts: 194
Location: SW Missouri
    
    6
What is a clothes dryer?

Seriously, I have not used a dryer for at least 20 years and I not only do NOT miss it, I wouldn't use one if someone gave it to me AND paid the electric or gas bill. I love hanging clothes outside on the clothesline. I get to be out in the fresh air and my clothes always come in smelling like sunshine and the great outdoors (instead of half-melted). The bonus is that I can hang my white clothes on the line in full sun for a few hours and don't need to use toxic bleach to get them bright. I don't even spend money on clothesline. I have all the lines I need by re-using baling twine.

I dry clothes outside in winter too, so I don't have to mess with lines and things in the house. You would be surprised at how fast clothes will dry outside, even when it is really cold. It can be a bit of trouble to get them off the line if they freeze before they are dry though, so its best to hang them out in a sunny spot on a windy day. Once I stupidly hung them out just before an ice storm hit, and had to chisel the clothes pins out to get the clothes off the line so I could rehang them (after I hammered all the ice off them). It was kind of weird to hold a pair of pants straight out in front of me like a board!
Peta Schroder


Joined: May 25, 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Australia
Oh gosh, my husband and I wear the same clothes over and over and hardly ever wash them! We wash t-shirts and shirts if they seem sweaty/smelly, and of course we wash underpants, socks and bedding, but much of everything else is deemed to be clean unless proven otherwise; we wash if it gets stained. Even stockings I wear at least twice as they get damaged so easily. Saves a lot of human energy too as well as $$$ because we hang the laundry out on an outside line and have to bring it in if it rains.
Cris Bessette
volunteer

Joined: May 20, 2011
Posts: 669
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 8A
    
  29
Petra Smirnoff wrote:Oh gosh, my husband and I wear the same clothes over and over and hardly ever wash them! We wash t-shirts and shirts if they seem sweaty/smelly, and of course we wash underpants, socks and bedding, but much of everything else is deemed to be clean unless proven otherwise; we wash if it gets stained. Even stockings I wear at least twice as they get damaged so easily. Saves a lot of human energy too as well as $$$ because we hang the laundry out on an outside line and have to bring it in if it rains.


I'm the same way. Unless it is obviously smelly or dirty, I don't see the point. I have a pair of pants specifically for working in the garden/yard, and I wash them maybe once a month on average.
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1391
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
    9
Delilah McCoy wrote:I found a pic of the top of the bamboo clothes dryer I made to go over the wood stove. This pic was made when I was getting ready to hang deer meat to dry into jerky using the maple J hooks attached with cordage.


This is an old post that so inspired me that I had to bump it up. Fred I saw this rod with the bamboo hooks and thought "I need a covered place outside to dry clothes!" Now added to my list of projects.


1. my projects
Karen Briggs


Joined: Sep 01, 2012
Posts: 24
Ok this is going to sound like I am whining, but someone has to ask the question.

What about humid days?

If it is a humid day, it might take hours for my clothes to dry. Since I average 2 loads of wash a day, that makes for a lot of laundry that isn't drying as fast as I need it to.

And of course there is the question of what do you do in the winter, when hanging up outside isn't an option (or if you live in one of those HOA areas that don't allow clotheslines). I don't have enough space in my house to hang up 2 loads of wash.


knowledge is an important part of wisdom. I am here to learn.
Karen Briggs


Joined: Sep 01, 2012
Posts: 24
I want to reduce the use of my gas dryer. In the summer I tried to hang them on the line (see whiny post above)

I thought of hanging up many of the clothes on hangers and just letting them air dry before putting them away in the closet. I still have linens, jeans, sweaters, and other clothes that I can't hang on a hanger that need drying. If I put them into the dryer, then I am still using the dryer and might as well throw the entire load in rather than piece it out.

I had completely forgotten the dryer rack DOH! thanks for the reminder. Your idea seems more out of the way than the rickety thing in the room that always seems to get hit and falls. I have an old crib that I imagine I could use.
But I still have the big and bulky items to tend to. Although the little kids would probably love having the sheets hanging from the ceiling, I think this would defeat the purpose of me cleaning them in the first place. hahaha
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14875
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Karen Briggs wrote:What about humid days?


I know that folks in Seattle struggle with this. But I would guess folks in florida would struggle even more.

I also know that several people in Seattle have dehumidifiers because the humidity can cause all sorts of icky problems. In which case, if the humidifier is in the same room as the laundry on racks, then the clothes will dry quickly.

Plus, a dehumidifier will warm the air a bit. So if it is a cool day, this will offset your need for heat. Think about it this way: a dryer will push the heat outside, while a dehumidifier keeps the heat inside.

Barbara Rhoads


Joined: Oct 22, 2012
Posts: 26
Location: North Eastern California

This is the pulley system I have for my outdoor clothes line. Unless it is wet or below 28° (above 28° although things freeze they don't break)
As a child, my Grandmother grew lavender below the clothes line and so our clean laundry always smelled like lavender... good memories

Indoor solutions on cold or wet days *sigh* I still use my dryer. However I can remember laundry being all over the house when I was growing up. My grandmother had one of those umbrella style clothes racks held everything but blankets. She would pop that thing right near the wood stove and they would be dry in no time.


http://rhoadsoffgrid.blogspot.com/
rob zos


Joined: Nov 04, 2012
Posts: 19
how about making a small rocket mass heater somewhere indoor or outdoor to dry clothes
Melba Corbett


Joined: Apr 23, 2011
Posts: 160
Location: North Carolina
A few years back when I was doing research for an Environmental article I was writing, I found out the entire output (at that time) of all the U.S. nuclear plants was only enough to power the nation's clothes dryers. What a shame! I personally feel those nuclear plants need to all be shut down with all the EQs we've been having, as they are just another disaster (like the one in Tokyo), waiting to happen. A great number of them (like the Savannah River Plant in Georgia), are built on fault lines and are unsafe by even their own standards.

Can we take this a step further? What about washing the clothes by hand? It isn't so bad if you have a wringer to get out the excess water. Even a mop bucket with a wringer will work. You can use a dedicated, clean toilet plunger to push the clothes up and down in a tub or large bucket until they are clean, wring them out, then rinse in another bucket in a change of water. Yes, it is a lot of work, but it is an option. Utility costs are not going down.


Wild Edible & Medicinal Plant classes, & DVDs
Live in peace, walk in beauty, love one another.
Alice Lynn


Joined: Feb 11, 2013
Posts: 23
Location: Tennessee
I love this thread! The small room and dehumidifier is the first realistic suggestion I've heard for my area which gets 60 inches of rain annually and typically has 90-100% humidity. I've tried line drying outside and it didn't really work (even after 12 hours) and bugs and burrs got all over them.

I hope this will work in my utility room (dogs sleep in there at night and I don't know how well that will go) although if takes less than a day to dry them that might not be a problem. I'm going to try it. Wow, I'm actually excited about doing laundry! ;p

My washing machine is very, very efficient, so I'm fine with that. The spin cycle will help with removing water anyway. I have two not yet completely potty trained boys and go through a ridiculous amount of laundry. I'm all for re-wearing clothes in winter (summer is another matter) as long as there aren't any body fluids on them, heh.
Alice Lynn


Joined: Feb 11, 2013
Posts: 23
Location: Tennessee
Melba Corbett wrote:
Can we take this a step further? What about washing the clothes by hand? It isn't so bad if you have a wringer to get out the excess water. Even a mop bucket with a wringer will work. You can use a dedicated, clean toilet plunger to push the clothes up and down in a tub or large bucket until they are clean, wring them out, then rinse in another bucket in a change of water. Yes, it is a lot of work, but it is an option. Utility costs are not going down.


I think if an efficient washer is used on tap-cold, it may be like the dishwasher and be less than or equal to hand washing. I should put a water tub under my washing drain pipe and see how much water a load actually uses. I hooked the plug up to a kill-a-watt and the electric use was very minor, from not even registering to about 6w for most of the cycle, that was on delicate though, so I should check it more thoroughly.

Anyway, you've inspired me to measure my washer's water use. I'll do it now and report back =D

EDIT/UPDATE # A normal cycle used right at 15 gallons, the upper limit for an energy star rating. I had hoped it was less than that. I probably do use more than that when I hand wash, but I bet someone with a better set up and more experience could do better. I may experiment with one of those plunger buckets and squeeze-rollers, but I'm going to give the dehumidifier/dryer a try first. One change at a time =D
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6463
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
From reports I have heard, dehumidifiers may not be a green, nor economical solution.

I read a product review from a woman in Louisiana (humid) who bought one. She stated that it consumed as much energy as did her AC, and the results of running it at 'full tilt' showed no noticeable change in humidity.

Perhaps, in a dry climate, where dehumidifiers are not commonly used, it might speed up the drying of clothes indoors, but at what cost? If you need to run this thing for 12-24 hours to dry clothes, is it using any less energy than a dryer for 30-40 minutes?

I used to disconnect the dryer from the outside vent during winter months, and put an old pillow case on the hose as a filter. I just let all of that exhaust heat stay inside my home, rather than exporting it to all of the birds who decided to overwinter rather than migrate. The heat was used to dry the clothes, AND help heat my home.

Alice Lynn


Joined: Feb 11, 2013
Posts: 23
Location: Tennessee
John Polk wrote:From reports I have heard, dehumidifiers may not be a green, nor economical solution.

I read a product review from a woman in Louisiana (humid) who bought one. She stated that it consumed as much energy as did her AC, and the results of running it at 'full tilt' showed no noticeable change in humidity.

Perhaps, in a dry climate, where dehumidifiers are not commonly used, it might speed up the drying of clothes indoors, but at what cost? If you need to run this thing for 12-24 hours to dry clothes, is it using any less energy than a dryer for 30-40 minutes?

I used to disconnect the dryer from the outside vent during winter months, and put an old pillow case on the hose as a filter. I just let all of that exhaust heat stay inside my home, rather than exporting it to all of the birds who decided to overwinter rather than migrate. The heat was used to dry the clothes, AND help heat my home.



We have 2 dehumidifiers and they do help massively with stopping mold from growing on the ceilings, fabric, walls, etc. But a non electric alternative would be nice. One uses 22w, but is run 24 hours a day. The other I haven't tested for wattage yet (loaned my kill-a-watt out) but I need to do it soon. It's bigger so probably 300-400w. These can quickly add up.

On another thread the suggestion of using a desiccant was made, and I think combining that with a small fan may be a better solution than an electric dehumidifier. I'm going to do a little experimenting. I don't have a lot of time right now between kids and college, but I still want to work on this before the house is finished.
 
 
subject: really saving energy - eliminate the clothes dryer
 
Similar Threads
20 ways to REALLY reduce your summer utility bills
bragging: lower energy footprint
hang your laundry to dry outside in the winter
ban on incandescent light bulbs
How much energy does a clothes dryer use?
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books