Sometimes a bit of back-and-forth with you, beloved readers, can bring up useful and even thrilling ideas. Consider the following, wherein you'll read of a revolt against uptight homeowners’ associations that forbid clotheslines. The exchange starts with an idea for improving dryer efficiency and ends with a bold pro-clothesline stance.
Hey Mr. Green,
In Phoenix the outside air is very hot and dry in summer. If a hot-air dryer for clothes could use this air as the intake, then it wouldn't need as much energy to dry the clothes. Does this make sense? --Joseph in Chandler, Arizona
Your idea of using warm, dry air coming into the machine sounds interesting. I don't know how much energy it would save, and it will take some serious calculating to figure out. But surely if a dryer is drawing indoor air at, say, 68 degrees and quite likely higher in humidity than the 110-degree outside air, there has to be some sort of savings. The big question would be whether the energy savings would justify the cost of fitting the dryer (and the house) with a duct to bring in the outside air.
If I succeed in figuring this out, I'll let you know. Of course I remain a staunch advocate of the common-sense, old-fashioned, solar-drying clothesline!
Hey Mr. Green,
Thanks for the feedback. Our homeowners’ association has a specific provision against using clotheslines, but I think I should start using one anyhow. I grew up in cold, wet, windy Ireland where everyone used a clothesline, and moved to hot, dry Phoenix where hardly anyone uses one. --Joseph in Chandler, Arizona
Well, I've got just right ally for you: the Right-to-Dry Movement. Yep, some sensible folks are fed up with those silly anti-clothesline rules and they're fighting back with a refreshingly amusing campaign to liberate clotheslines and restore them to their once-glorious place in the American landscape.
I'm quite fond this cultural zinger from Helen Caldicott: "Where in Victorian times, clotheslines were ubiquitous, Mrs. Brown's brassiere blowing in the breeze has apparently become scandalizing to some modern Americans. A strange brand of prudery has made it impossible for some people to conserve energy and money by using a clothesline."
Let linen flap defiant!