Saturday, October 13, 2007

How Many Nuclear Power Stations Does it Take to Dry Your Clothes?

A dear friend of mine who currently resides in the United States told me that in her New York suburb people are not allowed to use a clothes line. In other suburbs, where there is no such regulation, people often choose not to use a clothesline because people might think that they do not have the money to own and run a dryer.

The utter absurdity of these regulations has finally come to the attention of some state governments in the US. According to a an article published by the Christian Science Monitor on 24 August 2007, The 'Right to Dry' – movement is growing and some states have introduced legislation to override clothesline bans, which are often instituted by community associations. Apparently, the main reason why community associations ban clotheslines is that some people are so prudish that they find other people's clean clothes offensive. Quite frankly, I find it more than offensive that people think they can trash our environment for such a stupid reason!

There are so many reasons why clothes lines are far superior to a clothes dryer that I actually think we should ban all clothes dryers!

Clothes dryers use a huge amount of energy.
Clothes dryers account for approximately six percent of energy use in the residential sector in some US states.
In 2005, there were 88 million dryers in the US, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. The Christian Science Monitor estimates that these dryers consume annually 1,079 kilowatt hours of energy per household, creating 2,224 pounds (or slightly over 1,008 kilograms) of carbon-dioxide emissions per year.
That makes a total of 94,952 million kilowatt hours of energy spent to run clothes dryers in the US! By comparison, California's nuclear power industry produced only 36,155 million kilowatt hours of energy in 2005.

This is a complete no-brainer! Clothes lines use no energy. I wonder how many nuclear power stations could be shut down if we all stopped using clothes dryers?

Line-dried clothes last much longer.
I have always been puzzled by American websites suggesting ideas on how to deal with the lint produced by their dryers. My clothes do not produce lint. I did not even know what lint was until I read about it on the Internet! Lint is a result of clothes dryers (and old-fashioned, inefficient top-loading washing machines) subjecting clothes and other fabric items to stress. As a result, particles and short fibers come off and form fluffy clumps known as lint. Fabrics then become thinner over time and clothes start fraying and falling apart. Wouldn't it make more sense to keep your clothes in one piece rather than trying to come up with ideas on how to use the bits that fall off because you are subjecting your fabrics to too much stress?

Clothes that have been allowed to dry in the sun smell beautifully.
You can completely skip using perfumes in your laundry powder, the sun does the job so much better.

Line drying your clothes saves you money.
Yep, you can get something for free! Running a clothes dryer once a day will cost you around US$135 a year, according to the Home Energy Saver website. Using your clothes line is free. You don't even have to invest in solar panels to get the sun to do the job for you!

Line drying saves ironing.
There is a bit of technique involved here. I hate ironing and have not ironed a thing in years. If you hang your clothes carefully and fold them properly when you take them off (rather than stuff them with gusto in your clothes basket), the wind will do the work for you and you will never have to use your iron again.

Clothes lines are stylish.
Just think of Italy and the lines of clothes hanging between houses! Or Australia with it's iconic Hills Hoist in the backyard! I certainly find a living backyard or streetscape with kids, clothes lines and vegetable beds far more appealing than the sterile ugliness of manicured lawns.

Lose weight by using a clothes line!
Here is some incidental exercise to help you stay slim or lose weight and get some fresh air in the process! So much better for you, for your wallet, and for the environment than driving to the gym and breathe in the wafts of sweat and other fumes you and your fellow gym inmates produce when you lift artificial weights or run on an electric treadmill.

Clothes dryers are responsible for a large number of house fires.
The US Fire Administration estimates that clothes dryers account for about 15,600 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries annually.

And last, but not least - yes, you can dry clothes even in wet weather. Just bring them inside and dry them indoors using a clothes rack!

1 comment:

  1. I wrote a very similar post last month. It is just astonishing that more is also not putting into converting top load washing machines, which Snoskred from Life in the Country has written a great post on. The water savings are immense. We have hardly had to use the laundry this year and hang our clothes under the car port. Great post.