We all know that when it gets to this time of year our houses can't help but become more humid. We dry clothes indoors on clothes horses and radiators and all the while keep our windows closed to conserve heat. This leads to visible condensation on walls and windows and a growth in that icky black mold.
Having a family means that we do a lot of laundry. Like maybe 15+ loads per week. You can imagine the amount of water that 15 loads of washing might give off. Or can you...? Based on how frequently I empty our dehumidifier I guessed that we might get one litre for every 2/3 loads.
This is our trusty electric dehumidifier. We got it from amazon and it's this one: De'Longhi DEM10 Compact Dehumidifier. This photo shows it's empty, but the container holds two litres of water.
Here's my one load of washing.
I left the dehumidifier on for a total of 6 hours. It was on four hours in the evening, then turned off overnight and I put it on for two hours the next morning. The washing was pretty much dry by that point. What I usually do is put anything that's a bit damp still or feels a bit cold onto the radiators for a bit just to finish it off. Or if it's something that needs ironing usually the iron takes the cold off it anyway.
You are probably thinking that 6 hours is a long time, but don't forget that I usually have two loads of drying together. I'm not sure whether the liquid is pulled out of the air faster, maybe not but it doesn't take twice the time to dry. I know that much. Also, when not using a dehumidifier I have had laundry sitting on clothes horses for DAYS without drying completely.
I wanted to know how energy efficient these machines are and whether using one is cheaper than drying in a tumble drier. From my internet research (thank you Google!) I have learned that this machine will use only 0.35 KWh. A tumble dryer uses 3 KWh, which equates to about 30-40p per hour.
Now, this requires a bit of maths, so excuse me while I make a cup of tea...
Okay. Better. To completely dry a load of washing in a tumble drier let's say it takes an hour. It doesn't for ours, because the drier only holds about half a wash load, but for simplicity's sake, lets assume it takes the whole load and dries it in an hour. Let's also assume that it is safe to dry everything you wash in the tumble drier. That would cost 40p on the topside.
If each load of washing takes 6 hours of dehumidifier time we can work out that it would cost a total of... 28p. Or thereabouts. I think.
It's not a huge difference, granted. BUT, you can dry everything in one go without risking shrinkage. Plus, the cost isn't the main reason we use one. We could dry everything indoors without a dehumidifier, but it would take a lot longer and we would have loads and loads of condensation.
The photo above shows the result of those 6 hours dehumidifying. My inner geek wanted to know exactly how much liquid was sucked out of my office where the clothes were drying and so I took the water and measured it. A total of... ::drumroll:: 3 3/4 pints or 900ml. Gasp! I guess I was way off in my estimate of 1 liter per 2 or 3 loads.
Can you imagine if all that liquid was just floating about in the air each week? At 15 loads we could have over 13 litres (7 gallons) of water per week being let into the air in our home. Clinging to our windows and walls and causing that horrid black mold!
It's actually a really simple set up too. The clothes horses are kept in the office, which makes the enclosed space easier for the dehumidifier to work in. The description says it's good for an area of up to 45m2, so great for most average sized rooms I would imagine.
And, as if that wasn't enough to sell it to you, you can keep the water you get out to use in your iron! It's demineralised so you won't get limescale. :)
Let me know how you dry your clothes at this time of year! Do you use one of these? Or something better?