It seems like “using a clothesline” makes every top-10 list of energy saving measures you can make at home. But clotheslines are lousy at getting out wrinkles, and in humid climates often give clothes a chance to mildew.
If and when you use a dryer, there are a few things you can do to use as little energy as possible. I found these in the study “Are We Missing Energy Savings in Clothes Dryers?” by Paul Bendt of Ecos, which was part of ACEEE’s 2010 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
- A natural gas dryer is cheaper to operate and has lower environmental impacts than an electric dryer. (Note: this assumes an average electricity mix – if most of your electricity is renewable, you’ll likely have lower impact with an electric dryer- but it still won’t be cheaper.)
- High washer spin speeds are more efficient than evaporating the water in the dryer.
- Drying full loads is more efficient than a larger number of partial loads.
- A “low heat” setting is more efficient than higher heat settings (I had a hunch that this was true, and found the study with a little Googling to find out if my hunch was correct.)
- A “less dry” setting is more efficient than “normal” or “more dry
One frequent tip that doesn’t work:
- Cleaning the lint trap has little effect on energy use, although it does speed drying time.
Now you know what I’m doing with my Easter Sunday afternoon… maybe I’ll celebrate Earth Day by enjoying the just-arrived spring with a clothesline.