Monday, November 26, 2018

Our dog-powered clothes dryer

Earlier this year, I signed up for a "30-day sustainability challenge".  This challenge was the brainchild of a student at my college.  The idea is that everyone who signs up gets an email each day during November, and this email contains an "easy" and a "hard" sustainability challenge that we're supposed to attempt.

Except that for me, well, the challenges would kind of push me in the wrong direction.  As one example, the email one day encouraged us:

"Easy:  carpool to the grocery store.  Hard: take the bus to the mall".
The issue for me is that I don't go to the grocery store or the mall; when I do go to our farmer's market, I bike.  Yeah, so that wasn't the hint for me.

Another pair of challenges more recently included this:
"Easy: wash your clothes in cold water.  Hard: make your own reusable dryer sheets."
So, the cold-water wash, we've got down.  But the dryer-sheet-thing doesn't work so well with our dog-powered clothes dryer.  Observe:

About two decades ago, I bought for my husband (aka, "The Lord of the Laundry") some very sturdy, large, Amish-made wooden drying racks.  He asked for them, he really did.  This man loves doing laundry.  He also loves the electric dryer.  But apparently, he loves me even more, because he's become more and more willing to air-dry more and more of our laundry, especially in the summer when outdoor temperatures rise and he can bake the clothes thoroughly. 

And I love when he hangs clothes instead of tossing them in a machine.  Indeed, the difference between using the dryer can easily mean $20-$30 swings in our monthly electric bill. 

In the winter, he's been more likely to resort to the electric dryer.  He recently told me that the reason is that clothes just don't dry quickly in our basement.  So I suggested moving the racks upstairs to a bedroom that is almost empty -- the only other thing in that room these days is the dog crate (and because of that, often the dog). 

Heat rises, of course, and the dry winter air means that clothes upstairs actually do dry fairly quickly, much to my husband's delight.   But my husband and I like to think that the body heat of the dog hastens the drying process. 

And that's how we managed to acquire our dog-powered clothes dryer, no dryer sheets required.  

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