Buying a clothes dryer

Before I start today I want to thank Teri for sharing information in my last post about using a Kitchen Aide mixer to knead bread dough.  She said: I love baking bread. I'm having problems eating loaves with lots of seeds, so I may have to try your recipe. If anyone is using a Kitchen Aid to knead the dough, I found it's helpful to let it run for 9 minutes. I learned about that in a cookbook and my bread is better since I started doing that.  I'm sure that will help some bakers make better bread using their Kitchen Aide mixers.  It doesn't take much time to share something like that and yet it might be just the thing that helps someone who might be thinking of giving up on homemade bread. Small things do make a difference. Thanks Teri.

~.~.~ ❣️ ~.~.~

An idea for the craft bee - jug covers.

Hanno's visiting the doctor again this morning and I'm working on our next craft bee. A few days ago I announced on Instagram that it would be a sewing project - making a tea cosy.  When I thought about it later I remembered there are very few of us still using tea cosies, so back to the drawing board.  I've decided now to open it right up so that you can decide what you make. The only things set in stone are that the item you make must be something used at home, you must make it now, not get something already made out of the drawer and it must be made using fabric or yarn. You could make a tea cosy, dish cloth, tea towels, kitchen curtains, a shopping tote, crocheted edges on a pillow slip, cushion covers, table runners, jug covers, food covers or anything you need to make for your home.  Many of these things aren't sold in shops, we have to do them ourselves and this is a good way to connect with your online community and show what you're capable of producing with your own clever hands.  So get your thinking caps on, I'll announce the craft bee and give dates and other information, here on my blog, later in the week.

Here's another adjustment we need to make because we're ageing. We both get dizzy doing various household chores and although we're getting around most of them, hanging out the washing has become difficult.  So we decided to buy a clothes dryer.  We've only had one dryer, bought nearly 40 years ago to dry our babies' nappies. After the nappy phase we rarely used it, although the kids dried their chefs uniforms occasionally when they still lived at home. It still worked when we got rid of it but it really chewed up the electricity and I was glad to see the end of it. When I started looking at new dryers, I was delighted to see that technology has moved on and there, waiting for us, were heat pump dryers. They use a lot less energy and while they're more expensive to buy, it's worth it to save on running costs and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The dryer is on the right. Our washing machine is two years old.

We bought a 7 star, Bosch heat pump dryer with a capacity of 9kg. It's sitting in our laundry now ready to take over the task of drying our clothes, underwear, dish cloths, tea towels and such. We'll still hang out the larger things like sheets and towels.  According to the energy rating calculator, it will cost us about $140 a year to run three times a week.  Although there are two of us living here and we have many visitors, our electricity bill is low - it's the same as a one person house. We expect our bill to rise about $35 per quarter so I'll be watching that and making sure it goes no higher.

Do you use a clothes dryer? How do you manage the energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions?




52 comments

  1. I too get dizzy. So I use my clothes horses. That way I’m inside and able to sit when I need. Plu the fire is going anyway so use that heat twice

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  2. Oh, Rhonda, you will love this! We have a Miele version bought at ridiculous expense some years back when it was very new technology, but if it's like any Miele appliance it should last 20+ years. It only gets a whirl when drying conditions are positively dire and for 20 mins on wet towels so they stay fluffy after line drying (Mr P takes a stand against crunchy towels!). Anyway, the reservoir for the water collection is marvellous - straight back onto the garden it goes!

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  3. When we bought our dryer ? years ago....we went for a mid size energy efficient front loader. The energy cost was not even a blip on the power bill. I hang most of our clotehs as well as all sheets. We live in snow country so I had hubby hang a double line near the ceiling in my quilting studio/guestroom. It works great!

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  4. I use clothes horses, they are coincidentally under a heating outlet and Windows which get the morning sun. I rarely turn my heating on but the clothes seem to dry quickly year round.

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  5. I have a gas dryer that is thirty years old. I only use it when it's raining. It's nice to have, though. My gas bill is definitely higher during wet weather. I don't worry about the emissions, since I use it so rarely. I'm glad you bought such a nice one. They are very convenient, and it sounds like you need it.

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  6. I didn't know of this new technology in dryers Rhonda, so it sounds the perfect solution for you. At this stage in our lives, and because we live in a much drier part of country, with very cold winters, we line dry (outside in summer) or use a clothes airer in front of the wood fire during wet weather. However, I do totally understand the need for a dryer, when that time comes, as the act of bending and hanging articles on a clothes airer would still make you dizzy. I'm currently researching washing machines and discovering they are far more expensive than I thought. X

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  7. I live in a condo, and we can hang clothes to dry in the attic right above me. Works great for me. I do have a dryer from my former place and I've started using it again this winter about once a week for the small things like underwear, washcloths and the like. I check my electricity and gas consumption once a month and it hasn't gone up much. We've had a rather warm winter in Germany, so all in all I used up less energy overall. I wouldn't want to dry all my clothes via dry, but for the small, fussy things it works great for me.

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  8. I have the same dryer, it is fantastic!

    My bills haven't changed at all, probably because we don't have to rewash things when we were too sick or tired to hang them out.

    I love being able to do the washing on a schedule rain, hail or shine!

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  9. I use an energy efficient washer and dryer. It made no dent in my electricity bill compared to the one that came with the apartment. However electricity bills have gone way up this year...about 8.5 % so need to cut back on something..not likely the clothes drying.

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  10. Rhonda, I wonder would it be easier to use clothes horses for the small items that aren't cumbersome to handle, and do the big, heavy things like sheets in the dryer? Just a thought.

    Madeleine

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    1. You would think that makes sense, Madeleine, but I like the sheets dried in the sun.

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  11. My AEG dryer broke about 2 years ago, so did my washing up machine. As money is tight, I havn't been able to fix either of them. With husband, three boys and two dogs, I miss the dryer most. I am often not well enough to hang clothes out, so I use clothes horses. I used the dryer for sheets, towels and bed clothes. Clothes seem to last better when air dried.
    Thinking what to make for the sewing bee, need food covers, want less plastic in our house. That jug cover is lovely, so pretty. Hope Hanno's doctor appointment goes well. Blessings, Pam in Norway

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  12. I also use a dryer due for health reasons and have loved the idea of heat-pump dryers ever since I found out about them. Please keep us updated on how you find it, I'd love to know how it performs against your estimate of $35 a quarter. I'm hoping my dryer will last many more years, but it is good to have first hand reviews for upgrade options when the time comes.

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  13. Hi Rhonda, I haven't had the opportunity to congratulate you for your blog anniversary, so I do it now. I remember how reading it saved my sanity when I was a new mum in a new country, very much lost in my new life. Reading your blog entries was (and still is !) the highlight of my days. So thank you for all your very clever and interesting writing.
    Now, on the dryer subject. I don't have one and, so far, refuse to have one. I guess I still remember that I come from a cold European country, and the Australian sun still amazes me every day. I just love, love, love hanging the washing. Maybe except in periods like now, when it's fire hazard reduction season and the air is filled with smoke for days! I then hang everything on clothes hangers a bit everywhere in the house.
    This said, I totally understand your situation. I remember following your advice when I bought my appliances, about 7 years ago : go for the best quality I can afford. I never regretted it. I love reading your posts, as you are one of the absolutely most authentic and honest person I read on the internet.
    I'm sure you will enjoy the use of your dryer, and the balance in still hanging some articles in the sun for the nice feel of it.

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    1. Thank you. I'm pleased we got through your tough times in a new country together. I hope you're settled now. We'd rather continue hanging clothes but reality has stepped in and it's not possible. I'll think of you hanging your clothes and that might be enough for me. Of course we took our own advice and bought good quality and I think this dryer will see us out. I'm glad you took that path too. xx

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  14. Our machine is a combined washer-dryer as we don't have space for two separate items. Although it's running costs aren't high, we tend to only use it for larger, heavier items and particularly in the winter months when it's not possible to get them to dry outside - it saves having heavier items hanging about indoors for days trying to get dry. Like you I'd much rather hang clothes outside but we have very limited outside space and in England, there are only so many months of the year when things hung outside aren't likely to end up wetter than they started!

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  15. Hi Thanks, it seems drying washing is a problem for most of us. I have no place in my house to fit a drier and clothes horses aren't possible either as my husband is in an electrostatic wheelchair which needs too much space.

    I have found solutions to hanging washing outside, as I tire easily and have balance problems. Most of our clothes go onto clothes hangers before being put on the line, with pegs to stop them slipping. I sit down in the house whilst I put them on the hangers. Small items go onto the hangers that have lots of pegs which hook onto the line. Towels etc I put pegs onto whilst still in the house so that there is no rooting for pegs. I usually wash smaller loads to reduce the time I have so stand outside. The only things to defeat me are bedding and curtains, so I wash them when I know my daughter is coming so she can peg out. I manage okay to bring them in as they aren't as heavy. Still some work, but a little organising indoors reduces the work outdoors.

    I am fortunate that I have a verandah, so I can peg out small amounts of water on all but the worst days

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  16. I loved my dryer when I was living in (wet and cold) Holland. Now I'm in the Caribbean and I love being able to hang my laundry outside whenever I want to. But I can imagine that it's getting too hard to use it when you have dizzy spells (been there). You will love using the dryer.
    I think it's great that we live in a time that has the technology that enables us to make things easier when we need it, that helps us to stay independent when we grow older and still allows us to make well-thought-through choices about what to use and what not.

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  17. I use a drying rack on my back deck, as I don't yet have a clothesline. My husband and son (who do their own laundry) prefer the dryer.

    If we were neighbors, I would offer to hang your clothes.

    Thanks for the tip about the mixer. I have not been making homemade bread because of the kneading, but I may have to break down and buy one of those contraptions just to make bread.

    Enjoy your day!

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    1. Hi daisy g,
      I bought a Kenwood chef after a lot of research for kneading my dough. Making a loaf most days it makes the job easier and gives a lovely bread. I also use it for cakes and whipping etc - things I used to do by hand. I took a long time to make the jump (expense, a large machine taking up space...) but don’t regret it. My son has started an apprenticeship at a bakery and he uses it to make bread at home. They use large kneading bowls in commercial bakeries.
      Rhonda, I am always inspired by your willingness to change your position as life changes. It allows for simple living to be driven by what works rather than becoming some dogmatic formula that must be followed. I have Ménière’s disease so dizzy spells are common for me too, but so far they have not impacted my life too greatly. Enjoy your new appliance.
      Noni

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  18. Hi Rhonda,

    I sent you a picture of my milk bread by email. I used my Kitchenaid and ran it for 10 minutes. It turned out so good.

    I use a dryer because the pollen in the air clinges to the clothes out on the clothes line and then I have terrible allergies. So for now everything has to go into the dryer. When the pollen goes away I can still hang clothes outside. It is my preference to line dry everything but circumstances dictate otherwise.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice, your photo arrived and it's been up on the downtoearthbaking page for a couple of days. Thanks for sending it.

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  19. I rarely use my dryer. I have a clothes line, and a straight line running across the yard which dries so much quicker. When it's raining I have a drying rack hanging from the ceiling in the laundry and clothes horses.

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  20. We dry ours for half the time then finish off on airers or radiators, saving quite a bit of electricity.

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  21. We too have a drier, love it. What warms my heart is that we have solar powers so don't feel too bad about using as we do generate and feed back into the grid.

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  22. Hi Rhonda,

    Firstly, thank you for sharing your reader's thoughts on using KitchenAid stand mixers to knead bread. I tried using mine for this exact purpose and found that I may have kneaded my dough for too long, so the tip on 9 minutes I will definately be trying!

    I also recently purchased a heat pump dryer and while I do not use it very often I love the way it doesn't make my laundry humid and damp! I also like the fact I can then take the water that is extracted and water my pot plants with it.

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    1. Hi Shevaun. I like that too, no humidity and you can close the laundry door. They don't cook the clothes either. I only used my other dryer (circa 1980) for nappies because if you put tshirts or cotton dresses in it, they shrunk. This dryer is definitely a good investment.

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  23. Gosh, driers certainly are a double edged sword for sure! They chew so much power, not only in the end use, but in the manufacturing process. These days that is 99% guaranteed to be in another country like China, India or Brazil.
    Always check the manufacturing process to determine whether you really are saving the world with your apparently canny purchase! Some of these companies are more than happy to pull the wool over your eyes.
    Yes Rhonda, you wash days will certainly feel much easier with a new drier. I've never owned one, but now having lost most use of my shoulders, the temptation is certainly there. So far I am making do with what's called clothes airers. I have 2 fancy ones that I pull into the sun on the verandah as needed. Sheets are a bother though. But still, I'm not sure they are a $400 bother yet! :)

    I love jug covers and tea cosies. I make my own ginger beer and occasionally sour dough. Both those require an open wide necked jar usually sitting on the kitchen bench. Therefore I can have several jug covers on the go at once. But I only have one tea cosy, which has been part of my permanent kitchen paraphilia for so long I can't remember getting it.

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    1. You won't be buying a heat pump drying for $400, Clissa. They're well over the $1000 mark. I think they're worth it because the running costs are around 50% cheaper. The added bonus is they're made in Europe.

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  24. I have both a washer and a dryer. They are made by Speed Queen and are mechanical appliances; no motherboards or chips to contend with! I use my dryer in the wintertime when it rains; otherwise I hang out my laundry on a line in the back garden.

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  25. I love the clothes line but I struggle with my hands so I can appreciate the need for change. The house becomes toasty with the combustion heater going so I use the heat from that by using a clothes horse I can wherl from room to room - also makes it easy to find a sunny window. And as a side note ... I love my tea cosies, it's sad that I see them less these days.

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  26. Hi Rhonda,
    I have a combined washer dryer. I hardly ever use the dryer function but it's a godsend when I need it! My house is tiny (hence the combined machine) and if it rains the house is overrun with hangers of wet clothes unless that dryer function gets a workout. Honestly though, I use it more for the odd occasion I need something ironed- it has a steam function that gets the wrinkles out of anything in next to no time! And now that I'm a single mother I must confess that occasionally I have had the day saved by the ability of that wonderful machine to both wash and dry a load while I'm at work. If a certain child wet the bed I can still have clean and dry sheets that night- amazing! Having said all that I still hang 99% of my washing on the line to dry. Nothing like the smell of sunshine on your sheets at night :)

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  27. Hello Rhonda
    Ageing-in-place is about altering our routines to suit our physical and mental capabilities. Fortunately we live in a country which has ready access to appliances that make day to day chores achievable despite our age. If a dryer is what makes your living easier go for it. However, it is a shame that both your washing machine and dryer are sitting on the floor in your laundry. Two years ago my husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to design our new home and have it built to suit our ageing needs. I have both a front opening washing machine and a dryer sitting side by side on top of a very sturdy built-in drawer unit. The appliances are thus sitting approximately 400mm off the floor - this enables me to pack and unpack both machines without bending over.

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    1. What a great option for your washer and dryer if you can't bend over. We're not quite at that stage yet and after half a lifetime of gardening and bending over to do it, it might be a long way off. We have no problem at the moment bending to load and unload our machines. Our problems arise when we repeat the action many times. It just highlights the need to think about what suits each person and being willing to be flexible with our choices.

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  28. That dryer sounds fantastic! When life changes, we sometimes must change the way we do things. Sounds as though you found an excellent solution.

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  29. There is a product made by a company called Laundry Alternative called the Nina Soft Spinner, which spins most of the water out of the wash and uses no heat. They are available online. It is just a high powered spinner that costs very little to run. If you put your wet laundry through the spinner for 5 minutes or so before hanging them or using the dryer, you will cut down drastically on the amount of time it takes to dry, plus the wet laundry is not as heavy. There are videos online that show how it works. I have one of these spinners and I highly recommend it.

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    1. Thanks so much for your recommendation. I read about the Nina Soft Spinner and watched the videos and it looks like a great product that would help a lot of people with washing machines that leave a lot of water in the clothes after the spin cycle. Our washing machine, and most energy efficient front loaders, have a very effective spin cycle, but not quite to the level of the Nina. I think this would work really well with an old-fashioned agitator washing machine and for all those people who are drying clothes on clothes horses inside their homes.

      Thanks for telling us about the Nina. I'll write about it on my blog soon so those who don't read the comments will find out about it.

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  30. Since I started using vinegar in the rinse cycle for my towels they have been beautifully soft. Couldn't believe the difference at first.
    I bought my dryer about 15 years ago. I wasn't allowed to lift my arms above my head at the time. One day I realised that standing on a ladder as my mother handed up the washing was a bit ridiculous and bought a dryer. Hardly use it now and won't replace in my current state of health but who knows? Very handy at times. JillN

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  31. I do hope we can find such heat pump dryers here in the United States. We are not at the point of needing a new one but will sure be on the lookout for them when we do. Actually we should look now to be prepared when they are needed. Without your input we would have never known about them. Europe seems to be ahead of us in such things many times. I have a blogger who asked women all over the world to show them their laundry areas and I was surprised at the different methods and types of alliances and solutions to laundry work they had. It was so eye opening. A wonderful post. I very much want to thank you. We too at 72 are needing to adjust our work ways and in doing so do get things done only differently. ! Yet slower. :-)) Rhonda.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I'd be surprised if heat pump technology wasn't available in the US now. Maybe they're there but because you're not looking for a dryer now, you don't know what's in the shops. That's what happened with me. When I started looking I was surprised to find them in with all the older style dryers. Hanno and I live in Australia, if we have them, they must be in your country.

      A love the idea of everyone showing their laundry rooms/spaces. I'm going to do it too! I think we all might learn a bit from that exercise. It will be easier to do it on Instagram and we'll have all the photos side by side. It will be a bit of a palaver to do it but so worthwhile. Thanks for the suggestion. xx

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  32. Driers are not good for the environment consuming both electricity to operate and also manufacture...not to mention the carbon miles from Europe. While I do understand that aging causes difficulty in day to day chores placing clothes on an airer takes little more effort than removing them from a washing machine and placing them into an electric drier. ..your "Down to Earth" blog should convey a more environmentally friendly message as a lot of people follow your lead. Best wishes to Hanno on his visit to the doctor.

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    1. Hi Suzie. Almost everything we buy impacts the environment in some way - dryers, washers, refrigerators, computers, phones, cars, bikes, clothes, shoes, food. There is always a cost. The key is to make the most sustainable choice for your circumstances.

      It would be easier for me to never write about what appliances we use here but then we wouldn't have the conversations we have about the choices we make. It would have been easier to use a dryer for the past 40 years. I prefer to minimise what I use but when change is needed to have an open mind and to write about my choices.

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  33. We have a used electric dryer. The climate here is wet, so it's not usually a good place to dry laundry outside. We have at least three other households that at times come over to use our washer and dryer.

    The book I got the tip about the Kitchen Aide was The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure by Alana Chernila. Her bread recipes are great (even the bagel recipe.) I put a timer on when I'm kneading bread. It's long enough to really develop the gluten.

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  34. I will turn 70 this year and will be celebrating our 50th anniversary come next month and would you believe that I have never owned an electric dryer. Only dryer that I have ever used was / is called a clothes line.

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  35. I have a small electric dryer as we have a lot of cold wet weather here but I only use it as a last resort, we bought it in 1997 when we lived in a flat with no garden so we relied on it back then. We moved to a house with a garden the following year & I've kept it for emergency use only & I'm glad I did. If it's a dry day my laundry goes outdoors even if it's just for an hour as every bit of moisture I can get out of it is worth the bother to me as long as I can manage it,yes I'm a stubborn old bird but I know there may come the time when I can't do it & I'm not ready to give up the fight for a long time yet. Last year we bought a bigger fold away tower type clothes maid, I've always had the concertina ones, but this one is tall and holds a lot of stuff, it's light to move around on it's castors even when fully loaded (which isn't often) so I can wheel it outside if I want to and get all it in quickly if the weather changes. It folds away very flat and I can slip it in behind my sofa out of sight when not in use as I've not got a utility room. The air flows around it more easily and as a result everything seems to dry much faster. I don't use it for bedding or larger towels they still go on the line, but it's been a huge help and I've definitely used my dryer even less this past Winter. Lou x

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  36. I have lived places in America where it is cheaper to use electricity late at night...so being I am often up late...generally I dry things after 9 PM or later at night. That may not be the case there in Australia.

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  37. I am is US and have gas dryer. Cheaper than electric and lasts longer too,

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  38. Gee that's super energy efficient. We have just a basic dryer here, and don't use it alot, though when it dies I will certainly look into a dryer that style. We don't need it much, but it can be helpful in periods of wet or illness. Should also be a lighter load on the generator.

    xx

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  39. I have had the same dryer since 1987...no kidding! Works fine, but obviously not as energy efficient as newer models. However, I have had friends complain a lot about newer appliances (not necessarily dryers) breaking down, so I am just sticking with what I have. I do a combo of hanging up (I have lines in the basement and outside) so I am covered for all weather. Now that the kids are grown up and out in the world, I hang up as much as I can. All my husbands work dress clothes go in the dryer, and are immediately hung up so i don't have to iron them. My more casual wardrobe is hung to dry. I have not noticed dizziness, but i do notice that my arm/neck muscles aren't what they once were so I need to be careful not to overdo my reaching or I end up with neck pain.

    Here's an idea to consider..I have noticed in Amish farm communities, they have some sort of pulley system set up, with one end high up (like on a barn) and the other end low, like shoulder height. They hang larger items first, and these items are pulled up as the lower line is pulled down. Then reversed when they take the laundry in. A pulley wheel at each end. They don't have to moved around the lines as we do to hang things up, and it wouldn't involve as much overhead reaching as I currently do. I guess it's also somewhat space efficient. Of course my neighbors, who probably think I am super eccentric for hanging up laundry, would think I was just plan nutty if I did that here! LOL!

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  40. Regarding the KitchenAid mixer: I too make bread by hand and used this method for years. The only problem is that I am concerned that the long knead cycle is a bit hard on the motor. Nothing has happened yet; but I am getting a bread maker to prolong the life of my mixer! I will still bake my bread in the oven in my own pans, though.

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  41. Considering that we don't have running water inside our home, our choice is to line dry - outside in summer, inside by the fire in winter. We live in a very different climate, homesteading in northern Romania. We are used to the ways of old, been doing this for more than 10 years! Enjoy the freedom of your new dryer!!

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  42. I have a hills hoist outside and a retractable clothesline on the veranda. We left space in our laundry for a drier just in case, but so far not required. Isn't it brilliant to see technology improve over time. We noticed the same when we bought an air conditioner a few years ago and had an energy meter to compare new and old units in the house, new was half the energy (and cost) when running.

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