A little bit of this, a little bit of that. It’s amazing how it all adds up.
Like the laundry piles that seem never ending…
My husband and I actually don’t have that much laundry as it’s just the two of us – e.g. there will generally be only two or three loads a week. I know, some people do three loads a day – I’ve got it easy!
Compared to our first tiny house, I don’t just have it easy, I have it super easy. That shack of a house was so small that it couldn’t even fit a dryer so the dryer was outside in another shack with terrible venting. It was so cold out there that a small load of laundry took over two hours to dry and our energy bills were much higher than they should have been for the size of the loads we did. The laundry probably would have dried faster if I hung it outside, year round, even in the midst of winter storms, than it did in that sorry set up.
So our laundry area now, inside our dry house, is luxurious in comparison. But what I’ve found is the vent from the dryer to the outside is incredibly close and incredibly chilly in the colder months – as in when I open the dryer, it’s like getting a serious blast of cold air, so of course the dryer door stays closed. But even when I do laundry, if I don’t take everything out right away, the cold air “hampers” the drying.
As in, when the dryer has run for an hour or so and all is good, the chill just washes over every item to the point of the dryer needing to be run again. Not for a full cycle, maybe just a few minutes, but as the only timing option goes in fifteen minute cycles, if I get distracted and don’t turn it off, it will run for that full amount.
If running the dryer for an hour costs about $1, then fifteen minutes costs $.25. Not much, I know. But three times a week, all year long adds up to about $40 spent on needless wasted energy.
But before we do any drying, washing of course comes first. And there can be a huge difference in how much energy one washing cycle uses vs. another. For the most part, I find the “express” cycle does the job but I step it up for hubby’s work gear to the next cycle.
With BC Hydro, we can check our energy use (kilowatt hours) stats online so it’s interesting to see how a week plays out. And laundry day is very obvious. On the rare time when the longest possible washing cycle has been used, when, ahem, I’m not around, the jump adds on another 10 kWh just one or two cycles. At about $.10 per kWh, that would add on another $1 to the day, or $52 to the year, for our modest amount of washing. So you can easily calculate the differences – a family that does three times the amount of laundry as us could save $150 a year by just using the shorter cycles.
If you gravitate to always using the “normal” cycles, you can try out the shorter cycles, not for dirty soccer uniforms of course, but for regular day to day items, and see what a difference that can make in your energy use and bills over the course of a year.
As far as the dryer goes, right now, I’m getting the laundry out “in time” about half the time so my goal is to up that to all the time for this coming winter. I’m on top of cleaning the lint out which is a good energy saver, but I need to step up my laundry alertness and limit the leaks.
Can you think of any simple, tiny changes in your day to day life that can add up over the year to help your savings rise…almost as fast as your piles of laundry?
By the way, if you want to check out my new eBook The Art of Stretching Your Dollar Part One: You and Your Money, it’s at http://amzn.to/1gHEhJb in Canada, or http://amzn.to/1LslzSI in the States, in pre-release mode with September the 28th as the “real” release day!