There are great reasons to line-dry clothes. The sun can kill dust mites, the sun can whiten and deodorize, there is no electricity used, and more. But the convenience of the dryer is something most of us rely on with gratitude. Not only does it take no more time than it takes to move the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, but you can easily dry clothes at any time of day or night. Fortunately, a few simple steps can help lessen the energy load your dryer may be costing you.
Dry full loads, but don’t overload the dryer as it will take more energy to dry the clothes.
Dont overdry. Some new dryers have moisture sensors that automatically turn the dryer off when clothes are dry.
Size your washer and dryer for equivalent load sizes.
Wash and dry similar types of clothing together. Different fabrics dry at different rates.
Clean the lint trap before every load.
Be sure the dryer is vented to the outside to avoid moisture and lint build-up in the house.
Be sure the outlet venting duct is free of tight turns, or elbows. Lint can build up at elbows, slowing airflow out of the machine, increasing drying time and creating a potential fire hazard.
Rigid venting is better than corrugated flex vent at keeping air moving and avoiding blockages.
Avoid kinking or crushing the vent material.
Don’t exceed 25 feed of vent length (or per manufacturer’s instructions).
A front-loading washer spins out clothes better, reducing drying time.
Run loads in succession to capture residual heat of the previous load.
Use the cool-down cycle to complete drying.
If you like how your towels feel after coming out of the dryer, try using it for only ten minutes or so and then hang dry.
If your clothes tend to take longer to dry than they used to, perhaps the thermostat or heating element has gone bad. Are the clothes hot but not dry? Check the venting system.
Never vent a dryer into a crawlspace or attic.
Adapted from The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy Smart by Paul Scheckel (New Society Publishers, 2005).