Clotheslines Save Energy

Posted 2014-05-27
Written by
Category Taking Action

Now that the warmer weather has come, an easy way to save money on electricity costs is to use a clothes line or laundry rack to dry your clothes outside. In addition to saving you money, the sun acts as a natural deodorizer leaving your clothes smelling fresh and it also bleaches the clothes making them look brighter and last longer. Drying the clothes with air instead of the dryer is a way to preserve the textile.

A heavy duty clothesline starts at $35 and gives approximately 22 meters usable length, and a fixed rotating clothes rack, starting at $100 has 55 meters usable length. Installing a clothes line or rack is fairly easy and does not require specific tools. If you do not want something permanent in your yard, a portable clothes rack can be purchased for approximately $50 and has the benefit of being able to be used on an apartment deck or indoors.

As an example, a family of five requires approximately 15 full loads of clothes to be washed each month. Typical dryers consume between 3.5 kW to 5 kW per hour. Assuming that the electricity rate is 0.27 $/kWh and one load has to be dried for one hour, monthly costs range from $20 to $40 for a 5 kW dryer and from $14 to $28 for a modern 3.5 kWh dryer. By hanging clothes to dry, such costs can be reduced to zero, for only a small financial investment, and a small amount of time to put the clothes on and off the clothesline, which is only a few minutes each time.

Although water evaporates at outside air temperatures below zero if sunlight is available, a clothes line in the North will work best and be most convenient between April and September. Thus, savings can be as high as $240 per year. These savings can be doubled by using a portable laundry rack indoors during the winter which will also put moisture back into the home that is removed by running a furnace and reduce the need to run a humidifier. If your clothes are a bit stiff after being hung to dry, a few minutes in the dryer will soften them without requiring a lot of electricity.