Heat, Hot Water, Laundry, Oh My!

Marianne

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That was interesting.
Around here, we want that moisture! :D

I'm not worried about a little lint, it just hangs on to the dog and cat hair, ya know? LOL But I'm sure there would be some concerns for people with allergies, etc.

I hadn't heard about boiling the pins in salt water. My mother would have clocked me if I'd left clothespins on the line after the clothes were brought in.
 

Leta

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Efficiency is not the same thing as cost effectiveness. Gas is more efficient at making heat than electricity is because there is less energy transfer.
 

Britesea

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I think the clothespins in salt water was supposed to keep them from making it difficult to remove the dry clothes? I don't know, really- just read it somewhere
 

so lucky

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Having a gas water heater was wonderful when we had the "big freeze" here in the midwest about 3 winters ago, and were out of electricity for many days. The gas water heater meant getting a nice hot shower even if it was coooold in the house. (wood furnace that didn't circulate the heat very well with no blower)
Also, I remember my mom freeze-drying clothes when I was a kid. She hung them out in all kinds of weather. Jeans were stiff as a board. I don't think we changed clothes as often back then. At least didn't wash them as often. Certainly didn't have a daily bath/shower. Less laundry to have to worry about.:)
 

Leta

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Okay, I have spent way, way too much time reading about heat pump dryers, condenser dryers, drying rooms, drying cabinets, drying porches, etc.

The upshot is this: nothing will be as cost effective for us as a gas dryer would. I can line dry 100% of our laundry for about 6 months out of the year, and for another 2ish months I can line dry at least some. Once the babies fly the nest and it's just DH and I again, it might become more feasible to put on a drying porch/solar room, but in order to build one that would be adequate for 5 people, it would be a ridiculous expense and it would have to be far too big a room.

Plus, we met some people this year who are friends of friends. They are the most off-grid people we've ever met- they both farm full time, neither of them works a regular job, they built their house themselves (which is huge and gorgeous) that they heat with a masonry stove, they have composting toilets and full solar array. But, for the dryer and the hot water heater, they have a propane pig. They use their clothesline as much as they can, but if these people, who are really Next Level SS, have made the concession of having a pig for a hot water heater and a dryer, I guess it only makes sense for this climate.
 

k15n1

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Leta said:
Efficiency is not the same thing as cost effectiveness. Gas is more efficient at making heat than electricity is because there is less energy transfer.
Hmmm. Electric heat is 100% efficient. The efficiency of the power plants vary, and so does efficiency in transmission. I read up on transmission efficiency a while back and was amazed (!) that losses were so low. And I suppose calculating efficiency of the whole unit is complicated by not knowing the temp of the exhaust. And even then, the design of the mechanical parts of the dryer would have an effect... Don't quite know what to conclude.

On a side note, I read that thermal efficiency can be very high. Russian fireplaces (or masonry heaters) get over 90%.
 

Marianne

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Leta said:
Plus, we met some people this year who are friends of friends. They are the most off-grid people we've ever met- they both farm full time, neither of them works a regular job, they built their house themselves (which is huge and gorgeous) that they heat with a masonry stove, they have composting toilets and full solar array. But, for the dryer and the hot water heater, they have a propane pig. They use their clothesline as much as they can, but if these people, who are really Next Level SS, have made the concession of having a pig for a hot water heater and a dryer, I guess it only makes sense for this climate.
Please enlighten me. What's a 'pig' in this context?

Of course, doing what others are doing in that climate says a lot! LOL Years of experience and all.
 

Leta

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Marianne- A pig is slang for a big propane tank- not like a tank you buy at a gas station, but a big, stationary tank that gets filled with propane when they deliver it by truck.

Some people get by without a pig- we looked at another place about 10 miles away that was all electric, with wood heat, except for the range. They put the house up, and they hated electric stoves, so they installed a gas range and just bought 100# tanks from the feed store.

k15n1- Electric heat *can* be 100% efficient within a home, but in my on-the-grid case, it's not if you include what is happening at the power plant. Typically, a power plant will deliver 4 units of energy for every 10 released (in other words, I get 4 lumps of coal worth's of energy for every 10 coal lumps burned at the power plant). And even if there were a dryer heating element that was 100% efficient, it still would be more efficient overall to burn the electricity-creating fuel at the source to create heat. Not that I want to burn coal at my house, or have a coal fired dryer- geez, can you imagine the filthy clothes?- I'm speaking strictly in terms of how best to make heat in a way that minimizes energy loss. Making heat is extremely energy intensive, so it really sucks up the juice if you are doing it electrically. (Things like geothermal heat pumps are fantastic and amazing, but they aren't actually making heat with electricity, they are just moving the heat, via electric fan, from deep in the earth.)

I like the idea of an outdoor wood fired boiler to make heat for hot water and the dryer, but man, that would be a commitment to smelling like wood smoke!
 
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