There is a lot of noise out there on the internet about the relative benefits or costs of using a clothes dryer (from an energy efficiency perspective). I thought I would add my two cents worth!
OK, we do own a clothes dryer – my parents kindly gave me their old unit after they moved to a new apartment with its own. We had a just had two very humid sticky rainy summers and our clothes often smelt a little off after drying!
We use it very infrequently but I must say it is “nice to have”.
But is a clothes dryer evil?
Am I some kind of energy-guzzling, greenhouse gas producing, anti-environmental thug who steals from small children?
Hopefully not, but what is the cost-benefit of owning and operating a clothes dryer?
Yes, they consume a lot of electricity.
Yes, there are always alternative to drying clothes – hanging them in sun, dry room, near a heater, in the breeze of a fan, etc….
Yes, they are often a lifestyle choice rather than an energy or cost efficiency choice.
However, there are some instances were you don’t appear to have a lot of choices – small apartments with no space to hang anything, humid/damp climate, etc.
There are good dryers and there are bad dryers, there are clothes that dry very quickly and those that need lots more time, etc…
Sometimes, you need something to dry fast. Or you have a big family and your clothes line is often over crowded!
I think there are too many variables to make a blanket statement as to the relative evil-ness (if that is a real word) of the humble clothes dryer.
Here is my take on the circumstances where they might be appropriate (i.e. not evil):
- You only use the dryer when you have no other practical choice.
- Before using the dryer, you consider whether you have really have no other choice!
- You keep the dryer in good working order (e.g. clean filter regularly etc.) to maximize efficiency.
- You have a modern dryer with a sensor dry feature that detects moisture level OR
- You monitor the operation and do not run the dryer too long and over-dry the clothes.
- You are sensible about when it is appropriate to break these rules!
Here is when you are evil:
- You use the dryer as the default method despite having other options (e.g. clothes line, etc.).
- You use your dryer when it is practical to use a more energy efficient method.
- You don’t clean the filter after each load.
- You have an old dryer that is not energy efficient and you can afford to upgrade.
- You run the dryer longer than necessary to thoroughly dry the clothes and do not attempt to monitor the progress.
If you are living in sin, I urge you to repent!!!
For those that live in apartments, here are some tips to living without a dryer: http://bit.ly/XlIMNa
For the rest of you, there is a thing called a “piece of string” – not sure who invented it but it has proven to be very effective at drying clothes in the right conditions!
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