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Why You Can't Afford NOT to Air Dry Your Clothes

by Household Essentials • May 09, 2017

Summer: AC goes on and the energy bills go up.  Winter: Heat goes on and the energy bills go up. 

Energy bills can be a significant expense.  As of June 2016, energy costs consumed between 5% and 22% of after-tax income for most American families (1).  Add to that that energy costs worldwide remain near 10-year highs (2).

YIKES!  Up to 22%!  Sure, we know saving energy is greener, healthier, safer, better for the planet and future generations.  Better for THIS generation.  But did you know that it could put up to 22% more greenbacks in your pocketbook?

That's just good math.

Suddenly, the hassle of using drying racks to air dry clothing…air drying clothing and other cost-cutting measures doesn't seem so, well, much of a hassle!  Here are 2 things you can do today to impact how much you spend out (and save) in energy costs!
Starting with our Household Essentials's favorite . . .

#1 Harness the Breeze

No fibbing: in the appliance world, the electric clothes dryer is an energy hog.  It is second only to the refrigerator in most households!  Even energy efficient dryers (which have to run more than once to dry anything heavier than sock) suck up some serious joules.
Line drying clothing--indoors our outdoors--costs nothing but a little time after the initial investment in getting set up.  Clothesline has scaled up and down, too: from elaborate retracting umbrella models for the backyard to the simple folding indoor drying racks that sit in the corner of the bedroom or laundry room.  Clothes dryers fold up, expand, collapse, and hide away now.  They come in lots of finishes, colors, and materials.  It's a choice, and now it's an art!  The art of air dryingSet them in concrete or put them in the bathtub.  Dryers go anythwere, these days.

The benefits?  Lower electric (or gas) bills from NOT running the energy-sucking dryer.  Longer-lived clothing (it's drying that fades colors and strains seams most).  Fewer items shrunk by accident.  More hands helping with laundry (we hope).  Less time spent folding (at least when clothing is worn right off the rack!). 

#2 Tweak the Temp!

Just 2 degrees up in the summer and down in the winter can mean serious savings in your wallet.  It doesn’t seem like much on paper, but bumping your central air settings from 70 to 72 during the summer and from 70 to 68 in the winter gives your heater and air conditioner that much less work to do (and that much less $ to burn through).  Even in much more efficent homes, 2 degrees can mean savings.
If you’ve already made the 68/72 split, try 2 degrees more: 74 in the summer and 66 in the winter!

Then, to keep comfortable, borrow a leaf from your grandparents’ lifestyle book:
Winter: Cozy up in sweaters and blankets.  Think of the Scandinavian’s expert use of hygge coziness.  Use a space heater to add heat only to the room you are in while you’re in it. 
Spring/Fall: Dress in layers.  Open windows and place a box fan in front of it to draw cooler outside air inside.  Open windows on opposite ends of rooms and the house to create cross breezes (it’s internal air, courtesy of physics!). 
Summer:  Use fans to keep yourself comfortable indoors.  Spend time outdoors under a tree: grassy shaded areas can be more than 10 degrees cooler than their surroundings!  (Also consider planting a tree to shade your house for those hotter summer months!). 

So what do you think?  How will you spend your saved energy funds this year?  Break out the clothes drying rack, adjust the thermostat, and let us know!


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1. American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “Energy Expenditures by American Families”. PDF. 8 May 2017.
2. International Energy Agency (IEA). “Energy Efficiency Market Report 2016”. PDF. 8 May 2017.