So you make your own laundry soap? You rock! Here's another way to make the household chore of laundry cost less and leave a smaller footprint (hello buzzword =). Hang it out to dry! Did you know that electric dryers are in the top five energy hogs in your home? Of course it depends on the age, brand and model, but in general it's true!
Here's a link (How much electricity does my stuff use?) where you can calculate approximately how much energy you are using with certain appliances and then you can calculate the cost. This is a great tool! You can pick an appliance, device or even a kind of light bulb, adjust the amount of time you use it in a day, choose the cost of your electricity in kilowatt hours (get out your utility bill and do some math - the cost of your electric bill for the month divided by the KWH that you used) and whalaaa! Your cost per year is calculated for you!
In my situation we wash approximately one load of laundry per day (cloth diapers will do that to you). As a result, we run the dryer about one hour per day. I live in Oregon and the my average cost per KWH runs 7 cents. If I dried my clothes on the clothesline each time, I would save 150 KWH/month, $10.50/month and a whopping $126/year!
Does this offset the cost of my clothesline? Absolutely! My clothesline cost me $42.21 plus a bit of quickcrete and a little labor from my hubby (having a hubby is not necessary to complete this project, it just helps when you have a 1 week old newborn). If I use my clothesline 121 days the first year then I've paid for it with the money that I save not runing my dryer - every time i use it after that it's like money in my pocket!
Now, if you have to use your dryer like I do for part of the year (living in sunny Oregon and all), here are a few tips on cutting down on your energy usage:
- of course you COULD hang your clothes on an indoor rack - Our dryer is in our garage so I hang my clothes on hangers and then hang them from the garage door tracks
- when it's time to buy a dryer, buy one with a moisture detection feature so that it will shut off when the clothes are dry - and just FYI, the EPA does not award dryers with the energy star label
- if possible put your dryer in a warm location in your home that way less energy is used to heat the air to dry your clothes
- clean the lint filter after each use so that the hot air moves efficiently through the dryer
- dry two or more loads in a row - take advantage of the heat still in the dryer from the first load.
- dry full loads when possible - drying small loads wastes energy