Dryer vs. Clothesline: Drop the Power-Wasting Appliance

Updated On

We may collect a share of sales from items linked to on this page. Learn more.

Somewhere in your home, perhaps lurking in the basement, a closet, or even a bathroom, sits the biggest single energy consumer in your home.

This power-wasting appliance consumes an average of 4000 watts, the typical clothes dryer uses far more power than any other appliance in the home.

Its only saving grace is that in most homes it isn’t constantly running, unlike freezers and refrigerators. Fortunately, there are alternatives.

However, before we get into these alternatives, if you are not really one for giving up such a convenience as a washer, then you should at least look into making it more efficient.

Do a visual inspection of your washer. If you find any cracks, busted seals, leaking gaskets, etc., then repairing or replacing these parts is crucial. This site is a wonderful option for replacement parts for most washer machine models.

Aside from that, you most likely have several home improvement and plumbing supply stores at your disposal. Shop around and see what you can find.

It wasn’t that long ago that almost every home had a clothesline in the back yard.

As standards of living improved throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the clothesline became stigmatized as something that only “poor” people had.

Into the 1980s and 1990s, zoning regulations and Home Owners Associations started regulating against clotheslines in new sub-divisions, terming them “unsightly” and complaining that clotheslines, by making a house appear “poor”, lowered adjacent property values.

Most private communities in the United States ban clotheslines, though Florida, Colorado, Utah, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont have passed laws that forbid the banning of backyard clotheslines by communities, while in Canada, Ontario has likewise followed suit with its own bans on banning clotheslines. So far, it is the only province in Canada to do so.

Now, the pendulum is swinging back again. People are beginning to see the value in using clotheslines again, both from the standpoint of saving power, and the environment, and the value of letting a warm summer breeze dry your clothes, and providing a fresh, outdoors scent.

When looking to put up a conventional clothesline outside, keep in mind the following tips:

  • You should also take the time to find out if your municipality has any restrictions or regulations relating to the installation of clotheslines or posts.
  • Check your insurance policy first if you plan to attach the clothesline to your house. It’s often not a good idea, especially in places with very high winds.
  • When hanging clothes, always stand upwind of the clothesline. Otherwise the wet clothes will slap your face – cotton towels can sting – or stick to your body if the wind gusts during hanging.
  • Plastic clothespins last longer than wooden pins. Look for those with strong springs and bright colours.

Aside from the conventional long-line type of clothesline, there are other options available as well.

For a more compact yard, the umbrella-style clothesline might be the answer, with its ability to fold up when not in use.

For the apartment dweller, there are folding clothes racks that can go on a deck or patio.

Even in winter, there are options, including retractable clotheslines for inside the house.

For houses with forced air heating, racks or indoor clotheslines can be positioned to take advantage of the warm and extremely dry air coming from the furnace. This can also add much-needed humidity to otherwise very dry indoor winter conditions.

Changing attitudes toward clotheslines are making their usage more acceptable, and as the price of electricity continues to climb, clotheslines will become more common as well.

  • Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn was born and raised in Northern Alberta. Growing up in the boreal forest gave him an appreciation for nature, an appreciation that was enhanced by the works of his artist mother, Svala Dunn, who captured the landscapes and wildlife of the north in her oils and watercolors. He holds a Degree in Geography from the University of Alberta, with a concentration in Urban Studies. He has since found career in information technology, but still pursues his first interests in geography and the environment. He lives and works in southern Vancouver Island, with his wife and three children.

What do you think? Leave a comment!