Many factors determine whether to line dry your clothes or place them into an electric dryer. Line drying saves on home energy consumption, while the appliance offers convenience.
An electric dryer costs an average of $.36 per load according to Michael Bluejay of saving energy.com. Consider also that some electric companies charge an extra demand fee for electricity usage during what they deem to be peak hours. It sounds like a bargain when you determine how valuable your time is. It could take as long as an hour (maybe more) to hang clothes on a line depending on how practiced you are at the chore and how much laundry there is.
The decision is personal. A busy woman that barely has the energy to get dinner on the table after a day at the office needs the convenience of an electric dryer. On the other hand, a stay-at-home parent or a person that takes exceptional pride in line drying has the time and motivation for the task.
People have lines run in their basements and hang laundry there. Others wouldn’t dry them anywhere except in the freshness of outside. In the latter case, the weather could delay the chore (acceptable excuse) or force a rush to pull the things in.
Demographics of the household could weigh the decision. Is there a couple living in the home or a family with children and teenagers? Teenagers tend to think their clothing needs to be washed after each wear. Line drying could turn into a full time job. If the household needs require that the dryer works for four loads three times each week. The cost equals about $20 per month. Line drying costs nothing except time and the green movement advocates cutting down on convenience appliances when ever possible.
Fabric softeners added to the wash cycle provide adequate fabric care for line drying. Those that use an electric dryer have a choice of washer or dryer fabric softening. Economy would say it isn’t needed at all. The items need to be folded in any event, however electric dryers save one stage of the physical labor. Again do you want it or don’t you? Fabrics hold up better if they are kept from the heat of an electric dryer and many valuable blouses’ has been shrunk the same way.
Budget, ambition, the need be green, size of household, type of fabric, and space available all must be considered. There is no cut and dried answer (pun intended.) If space allows, install a clothes line outside or in the basement if you have one. Allow for both options and make the decision on a daily basis.