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Date: 25 October 2014

Today's Topic: The Problem of Wet Clothes in the Autumn

Triggers: A little eureka moment

My Grump: This works so well, I wish I'd thought of it ages ago.

The problem is the Autumn. An otherwise wonderful time of the year, when the clocks go back, the sunsets are beautiful, it's not too cold, but it's not too hot either. It's that time of year when your heating doesn't know whether to come on or not. It's a little chilly in the morning, but it warms up as soon as some sun streams through the window. The evenings hold their temperature until well into the night.
Drying Washing on a Rack
The trouble is, this is a recipe for dampness to set in.

You hang out your washing, expecting it to be dry by tea time, and you come to pick it in, only to discover that it's still damp. No heating on at this time of year brings up the dilemma of what to do.

We often think to place a heater on it, or tumble dry it, or stick a fan blowing on it. All of these ideas will dry the clothes and will do a good job. But, what is the problem with this approach?

That's right, the water in the clothes is released into the atmosphere in the house, making everything it touches damp, or to condensate on the windows. This makes everything feel miserable and colder than it really is.
Drying Washing on an Airer
You spend your time drying runny windows, or you bite the bullet and wack up the heating, by increasing the temperature on the thermostat, knowing full well that you are wasting energy really because it is not cold enough to need the heating on.

Well, here's another idea.

Use a dehumidifier. I know that not all households will have one, but I used to use one when I was building, to dry out flooded rooms in student accommodation for landlords who wanted to give the impression that their squalid, damp and dingy basement rooms were actually light and airy. It was, of course, a lie that lasted only until the unsuspecting student moved in and found mould behind the wallpaper.

Anyway, that's another story.

With this very warm, but rainy and damp Autumn, there has been no need to put the heating on up to now, and I am loathe to dry the washing indoors for the reasons stated above. But we came home from the half-term holiday to find we had had a small leak that got in through a cracked windowsill. My first reaction was to put a bucket under the leak, and to effect a repair, once the rain had stopped.

It soon became clear that the volume of water from the North wind blown storm had driven in more water than first thought, so I got out the old dehumidifier and left it running for a few days.
A Dehumidifier
This pulled moisture out of the walls, the floor and surrounding woodwork, like I'd left direct heat blowing over it. It did a fantastic job.

That was when my wife said, 'I've done all the holiday washing (around 4 loads) and it's started raining again, what do you think I should do?' We all know what happens to wet washing when it doesn't dry within a reasonable time. It smells like a pile of damp compost.

So, we spun the washing until it felt as dry as possible, and then spread it in the same room as the dehumidifier, which I turned up to maximum.

Admittedly, this is in a small utility room and is therefore fairly well contained, but the clothes were dry by the morning. Now, this was a LOT of washing. But it was as dry as if it had been hung in the sunshine. You'd expect that much moisture being released into the air to have the walls dripping wet. But they were perfectly dry.

You see, when you use heat, like a fan heater, a drying rail, a fan or a radiator, the moisture released from the clothes is placed in the immediate atmosphere, doing all sorts of untold damage to furniture, walls, flooring and fabric. But a dehumidifier works by pulling moisture OUT of the air, not pushing it in.

So the moisture from the clothes moves from it's wet state into the dry state of the surrounding air, which in turn is pulled into the dehumidifier by the fan and exchanger. Your only job is to empty the dehumidifier of its contents and pour it down the drain.

Please share your thoughts below, thank you.

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