Author Topic: Hang drying my clothes in the basement is making my dehumidifier work overtime  (Read 8676 times)

Stashy McStasherton

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I am feeling very Mustachian hang drying my clothes in my basement and not using the electric dryer. However, my electricity bill remains unchanged due to my dehumidifier running overtime to keep up with the added moisture.

Drying my clothes outside is not an option because my backyard is super small and right next to my neighbors yard. My husband also seems to believe that the town does not allow clotheslines, but I can't find anything stating it. My basement is very large and has two huge clotheslines that run the length of it. I use a small rack for socks and such. It is perfect for drying with the exception of this whole dehumidifier thing.

There has to be a way! Does anyone have any ideas? If the dehumidifier does not run, it gets seriously musty.

davef

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If you cant do it outside you are not going to save money. It may be btter for the clothes however.

okashira

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Just hang them in the back.
Sometimes it is better to beg for forgiveness then to ask for permission.
You are doing something to better the environment. Let the city/town/whatever be the bad guy and give you a warning/send you a letter/whatever
If your city wants to force you to use a clothes dryer, go to the local news with their letter/warning, such a terrible law. You might make a positive change.


Magpie

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Some areas do not allow fixed clotheslines; call your City Hall to find out.  If you don't want to install a clothesline, hang them on a collapsible drying rack.  I've had my wooden ones for 10+ years now.    I love the smell of outdoor-dried laundry.  If your basement is that musty, do your clothes not absorb some of that odor even with a dehumidifier? 

Stashy McStasherton

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Thanks for the swift face punches.

@magpie - My clothes do not smell musty with the dehumidifier running. Without it, the basement smells... well... basementy.

I will get some more free-standing racks and put them outside. The neighbors will just have to deal with it. It is time for me to get tough and air out my frugality, literally.


justajane

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What about hanging your clothes to dry on a collapsible drying rack on your main floor? You could do it overnight or when you are at work. Sometimes my clothes are taking forever to dry downstairs, so I bring them up to where the A/C or heat is on and they dry quickly. Plus in the winter, drying clothes above grade functions as free humidification.

If your basement smells that rank, perhaps there's a moisture issue that you should tackle? This isn't the cheapest option but might be the best long term. Dehumidifiers are major electricity hogs.

Stashy McStasherton

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What about hanging your clothes to dry on a collapsible drying rack on your main floor? You could do it overnight or when you are at work. Sometimes my clothes are taking forever to dry downstairs, so I bring them up to where the A/C or heat is on and they dry quickly. Plus in the winter, drying clothes above grade functions as free humidification.

If your basement smells that rank, perhaps there's a moisture issue that you should tackle? This isn't the cheapest option but might be the best long term. Dehumidifiers are major electricity hogs.

Good points. Having them on racks upstairs is a good option (will be great for the winter too).

It would be awesome to not have to use the dehumidifier. I am sure that is what is destroying my electricity bill. Any ideas of how to handle the stinky problem other than the dehumidifier? The basement is sealed well. We have a sump pump that never runs. I only heard it go on once during hurricane Irene (we are in upstate NY). There are no obvious leaks. I think it gets musty because of where we live and the amount of precipitation we get. There are some ground level windows. Maybe I should work on sealing those better. Could they be the culprit?

scottydog

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What about hanging your clothes to dry on a collapsible drying rack on your main floor? You could do it overnight or when you are at work. Sometimes my clothes are taking forever to dry downstairs, so I bring them up to where the A/C or heat is on and they dry quickly. Plus in the winter, drying clothes above grade functions as free humidification.

Hanging above vs below grade is a good distinction that I hadn't previously considered.  Thanks for pointing it out.

Whatever doesn't fit on our outdoor line usually goes on collapsible racks in our basement bathroom+laundry room that also has a dehumidifier.  I've always considered it my decision as dryer vs dehumidifier, and in the winter the dehumifier's heat helps keep the house warmer.  The winter air is so dry that the dehumifier isn't on for long.  Still, that room does get warmer than necessary at times, so I'll try hanging clothes upstairs to compare.

Jennifer in Ottawa

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To get rid of that musty smell you need to air the basement out.  If you have casement windows, crack those puppies open until Autumn rains come.

Paul der Krake

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Having a city ordinance, or local law, or worse of all an HOA, dictate how I can or cannot dry my laundry in my own backyard would send me packing immediately. What the hell, stand up to tyranny people!

But get a foldable rack anyway, it's a superior solution as you can move it around for better sun exposure regardless of time of day.

Tai

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A previous tenant installed an extra rail (copper pipe) in the shower so I often put hoodies and stuff on hangers in there to dry. In the winter our wet clothes are welcome humidity! We use portable dryer racks so we can put them outside if the weather is good. Clothes dried outside smell amazing btw.

justajane

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Quote
Any ideas of how to handle the stinky problem other than the dehumidifier? The basement is sealed well. We have a sump pump that never runs. I only heard it go on once during hurricane Irene (we are in upstate NY). There are no obvious leaks. I think it gets musty because of where we live and the amount of precipitation we get. There are some ground level windows. Maybe I should work on sealing those better. Could they be the culprit?

Huh, that sounds like a problem that will be harder to fix, since you have already explored the obvious culprits. But I do think that ultimately the dehumidifier is an expensive band-aid to what is probably a deeper issue in your home. I'm not an expert on these things, but one thing I've read is to tape a piece of plastic on your floor and possibly your walls. Wait a day or two, and if there is moisture between the surface and the plastic that means it is seeping through the concrete. Is it possible you have mold or mildew growing somewhere down there? It can even grow underneath paint.

Also, be sure that all the gutter water is directed away from the home. I've also read that flower beds against the house can cause water damage and seepage, but I'll be damned if I'll get rid of mine in front of my house!

We get lots of precipitation here in the Midwest, but I can't say my basement remains permanently musty. We have a sump pump, but that's about it. But I imagine that your home's location (and how water drains in the near vicinity) can influence these matters as well.
Water problems are some of the hardest problems to solve in a home. We have water damage on the plaster in our living room, and we cannot figure out the culprit. It's frustrating!

GuitarStv

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We don't hang dry clothes in the basement until it's the winter.  In the winter the humidity drops quite a lot, and the whole house becomes very dry . . . hang drying clothes lets some humidity back into the air and the clothes dry very quickly.  If it's a hot, humid, summer day we put the clothes outside.

Regarding your humid basement . . . if you have concrete walls/floor in the basement you have to remember two things:
- Uninsulated basement walls are cool because they're under ground.  If hot, humid air from another part of the house makes it's way downstairs via duct circulation they will hit the cold wall and water will condense.  This can cause a very humid basement and all kinds of smells if circulation is good.
- Concrete is porous and can wick water through the wall from the ground outside.  This often comes into contact with the air, and then makes the basement very humid if circulation is not good.

Your best solution to both these problems is to properly insulate the walls and floor of the basement and use a moisture barrier.  Don't use pink fluffy insulation as it can get waterlogged (and then it becomes useless as an insulator) from the wicking action of the concrete.  You want to insulate with some kind of foam (XPS boards work well for this if you have flat walls and tape all the joints, or spray foam insulation).  The goal is no moisture passing from the wall into the living space, and no air easily coming into contact with wall or floor.  I'd also check out your HVAC and maybe add ducting to circulate air from the basement to the rest of the house, this will keep temperatures more even/comfortable on all floors.

Stashy McStasherton

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Thanks to everyone for all the well thought out responses. Here is an update to my progress:

Laundry Drying:
-I am doing a hybrid of using the electric dryer for the shortest duration needed to get the job done and line drying in my living room. This is much better than my pre-Mustachian ways of putting it on for an hour and then by the time I am ready to deal with it a day or two later, putting the dryer back on for 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out and then putting it away.
-I am using my one foldable drying rack upstairs in the living room parked in front of the open front door (when I am home).
-There is a sale at Aldi's on foldable drying racks starting this week. I will purchase a few more and use those upstairs. We only do about 2 loads a week, so three racks should hold all our laundry as long as I space out the loads a few days apart.

As for the basement, I just do not want to undertake a big project trying to make it more waterproof. This is not a lifetime house and I just don't see the need to undertake such a huge project. I will cease drying my clothes in the basement so the dehumidifier does not have to work so hard.

dodojojo

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It perplexes me that there are actually ordinances against outdoor clothes drying.  I mean, really!  God forbid we use a natural and environmentally friendly way to dry clothes.  Are people that offended by seeing clothes drying?

I live in an apartment so I have to make do with hanging my clothes  on the bathtub curtain rod and a second rod I installed over the middle of the tub (I'm short).