Now that we live in Hydro One country our electricity bills have sky rocketed. Does anyone else pay $300-$400 of electricity only (no water, no sewage, no gas) in the middle of the summer? When we lived in the City of Kingston we were paying no more than $80 in the middle of the summer for electricity, natural gas, water and sewage. Now we are paying almost 4 times as much and our energy use habits have not drastically changed.
To say we were shocked at the high prices is an understatement! As a family of 6 we recognize that we may use slightly more electricity than smaller families, but we are also extremely conscious of the amount we use as we try to reduce our energy consumption as much as we can. We leave lights turned off, keep our heat low, don't use our air conditioner, take showers infrequently and overall try to find ways to save energy where ever we can. See our post about 10 Creative Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption.
That being said, there are times when I get lazy and use the dryer consistently. These are times when I notice my Hydro One bill jump into unchartered territory. One of the main sources of energy in a home comes from using the dryer. It uses a significant amount of energy compared to other appliances.
There is one quick, simple and cost effective way to reduce energy consumption in the home and that is by hanging your clothes to dry. In the summer hanging clothes to dry is more convenient and more appealing. Who doesn't love the smell of clothing coming in off the line on a crisp summer day?
In the winter, hanging can be slightly more complicated and a little less convenient. Here is what we do:
1) We use Accordion-Style Drying Racks from Lee Valley. We love that they can be hidden away and pushed to the wall when not in use. They take up less space in your home. We first purchased these racks when we lived in a really small home. The space a standing drying rack took up was just not possible in our home. As a result, we searched out alternatives and found these Lee Valley accordion style racks. They were the perfect addition to our indoor drying plan. We have two of these racks in our home. Both in areas where there is increased sun and close to heating vents.
2) We use a retractable clothes lines. This one is a little studier than others we have seen and I honestly have no idea where we picked it up (perhaps Home Depot or Rona?). Again, we love it because it takes up little space and can be retracted. Don't want to spend the money on one these? Hang some rope across a large room and tie them into nails hammered into your wall (we have done this before too!).
3) Hang your clothes on your outdoor laundry line. This is my least favorite option as I hate hanging clothes to dry with cold hands, I know many families who hang their clothes outside in the middle of the winter. As long as the moisture is low they will dry relatively quickly.
How do we do it?
Because there are many of us in our home and because we have a farm (think dirty, stinky and poopy clothes!) we do laundry every single day. We wash in the evening starting at 7pm. My racks can fit one to two loads of laundry. One very large load uses up most of our rack space or two medium loads will fill the racks. At the end of the night, I will hang all the clothes on the rack. By the next evening, my racks are ready to be switched from dry clothes to wet ones. Our clothes are normally dry within 24 hours.The process starts again.
One added advantage of hanging clothes to dry is that my clothes will last longer. High heat from the dryer breaks down materials much more quickly. Hanging your clothes to dry will significantly improve their life and quality.
Once you get in the rhythm it is really isn't much more difficult. Yes it takes more time to hang the clothes on the rack, but really only an extra 10 minutes out of my day. For the amount of money it saves our family and the impact it has on the environment, it is well worth our time!
ps. I also consider it part of my daily "exercise". I have put my racks just high enough that I have to reach, so I am stretching my body each time I hang my clothes ;)