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December 31, 2006

Hung Out to Dry

So, it would seem that one of the things that, according to my darling husband, makes me an oddity (attempting to hang laundry to dry during monsoon season) is about to become a permanent way of life for us. Our lovely little washer/dryer combo (one machine that does both) bit the dust yesterday. We knew it was having problems for a while, but kept hoping that they were just little quirks that we'd have to live with. But on Friday, the dryer wouldn't produce any heat, and by Saturday morning it wouldn't even do a wash. How nice of it to wait until the week after Christmas!
Thankfully, the Freecycle gods smiled upon us, and we were blessed with a gorgeous Maytag Neptune front loading washing machine. It's a thing of beauty (as much as an appliance can be), and I can't imagine why the people who gave it to us ever parted with it, but I'm so grateful that they did!

I finally saw An Inconvenient Truth the other day (more on that another time) and had been contemplating putting our dryer to rest ever since - I guess this was some kind of sign. Since we can't afford the space or money required to replace our dryer, we have no choice but to go all the way with the environmental option!
With the real possibility of months of non-stop rain in the winter here on the west coast, I'm a little concerned about having to dry everything indoors. I usually manage to dry a large percentage of our laundry outside during the winter, but sometimes that's just not possible. We've got an indoor line running the length of our back room, but it's only 10 feet long so it doesn't hold a lot - I usually only dry smaller things like our skivvies there rather than subjecting our neighbors to the sight of them (or me to the thought of them having seen them). At the moment, we've got laundry hanging all over the house, but I just ordered an Ecodri rack to hang in the back room over the washing machine which I'm hoping will keep the drying laundry more contained.
High indoor humidity can be a bit of a problem here, so I'm a little worried about that. Our house being so tiny (less than 800 square feet) with four of us showering and breathing doesn't help matters, so we've been thinking about getting a dehumidifier, but I don't really like the idea of running another electrical applicance. However, we're going to look at a used Jotul wood stove later this afternoon, and I'm hoping that if we can make that work, the dry wood heat will solve our humidity problem.

We're off to ring in the new year with our family this evening. I wish you all the best for 2007!!

13 comments:

Lu said...

Cheryl, an interesting post indeed. I'm so impressed with your drying outside skills in the dead of winter. I hang an awful lot in my basement to dry. Good luck with the stove today. And, may I say - Happy 2007, may it greet you with peace and harmony. I'm glad I found your blog this fall, it's been fun and a learning experience for me as well. Lu

Chelee said...

Wow, that is the coolest freecycle thing I've ever seen. Way cool.

Happy New Year!

El said...

Happy New Year to you, too.

We've had high-efficiency washers/dryers for years (bought new ones when we bought the new house) and the one thing you can look forward to is clothes that are nearly dry when you pull them out of your washer! We high-spin everything, practically, that can be washed. (We have the Whirlpool Duet pair; you have the option to do different spin cycles per wash.)

Maybe you guys can set up a fan to help waft the clothes dry. They're fairly low energy-usage; we tend to point ours nearly skyward to dry the clothes in the basement.

And look into a good exhaust fan for your bathroom to vent all that steam. One that direct-vents to the outside (via a duct), and not just dumping the moisture into your attic, would be best; you can put it on a timer. We have one that is a light/nightlight/fan combo. Three separate switches.

But that woodstove should take care of a lot of your excess moisture!!

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

I would LOVE a jotul or rais-wittus-- hard to find around here though. Lucky you. Maybe I will have one someday or I might just end up with a "regular" looking stove.
I also dry my skivvies inside (in the winter anyways when the trees are leafless) My neighbors seeing the colors, prints, patterns and laces of my underwear is a bit.......well, you know--ODD.
also check out this: http://www.gaiam.com/retail/product/63829
It is something else to store (always a thought in a condensed household) and your new washer may not need it but I didn't know if you had ever seen it.

Niobium said...

I only dry the jeans and towels cuz I can't stand the stiffness and I don't want to use fabric softner in the wash.

Right now, I'm hanging things percariously from everywhere I can. Like you, we live in 600sq with three cats and a Husky, so it's tight (and no article of clothing is without fur). We too get very steamed up here, especially now that we have plastic over the windows.

Cheryl said...

Lu - Thank you so much for your nice comments (this one as well as previous ones). It's been a pleasure for me as well.

Chelee - Isn't it amazing? I'm still pinching myself.

El - Putting a fan there is a good idea. Our last machine was a front loader too, and I was always amazed at how dry they were coming out.
Our bathroom fan does vent into the attic, but the one in the kitchen goes outside, so that might help. I'll keep my eye out for one like yours when the time comes to renovate the bathroom!

Monica - I've seen Jotul stoves on Ebay, but not everyone will ship them.
The spin dryer on the Gaiam website is pretty neat!

Nio - I can totally relate to the pet hair problem, what a pain.
The one saving grace is that our house is totally drafty at the moment, so the moisture's getting out somewhere.

Carla said...

I'm sorry to hear about your washer/dryer combo but glad you were able to get another washer through Freecycle. You'd be amazed at how creative you can get when you're dryer isn't working...or simply non-existant. Mine went on the fritz about a month ago, not that I used it much...but I've since had to make do otherwise.

Teri said...

The wood stove will definitely help with the humidity.Personally, I always feel warmer with wood heat. Am trying to get my own set up and certainly wouldn't mind a Jotul!

Debbie said...

We've got "An Inconvenient Truth” on the list of what we want to watch soon. Al Gore was on Oprah talking about it, and it looks very interesting...and scary. Good for you for doing your part for the environment. Even if it wasn’t planned!

Debbie said...

PS That washing machine looks awesome!

Cheryl said...

Carla - You're right, it's not really that much of a hardship having to do without, it just takes a little planning (and the ability to drop everything and do a load of laundry if the rain stops!).

Teri - Wood heat is so much nicer than anything else, isn't it? We're hoping to get it installed asap.

Debbie - Thanks! The movie is really good, he mentioned quite a few things that I hadn't heard anywhere else.

robiewankenobie said...

best. freecycle ever.

rachel_merrill said...

A few months ago we moved to a house with propane gas, so we can't use our old dryer and I couldn't bring myself to buy an electric one when I live in the southwest. Sushine almost every day, we live high altitude so always a slight breeze, and of course nearly zero humidity- the clothes are usually dry quicker than a dryer could do it. But during the few cold wet rainy weeks this winter I got by hanging the wet clothes directly on hangers and hanging them in a spare closet or over the shower rod to dry. If you don't have a spare closet, I read that you can hang a chain somewhere rather than a clothesline, then put the hangers through the links in the chain. Much more space efficient than hanging the clothes over the line.

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