Air Conditioners and Clothes Dryers have such high costs, in terms of both dollars and carbon, that we don’t use them. And we find that the alternatives get the job done at much lower cost, and are often more enjoyable.
Here a Top Ten List of reasons we pass on these two appliances, five for each:
10. Air conditioners are carbon hogs. They eat up about 25 percent of the energy used in homes, and central air costs about $129 a month, a window model $50. The average central AC uses 2,800 kilowatt-hours, causing the release of two tons of carbon dioxide.
9. They create an artificial environment. In summer it’s supposed to be hot, and I like living in a region with weather extremes.
8. Fans work fine. They do the job of cooling off the body at a tiny fraction of the cost. And this summer, with few days over 90 degrees, they’ve been more than adequate.
7. Noise. Many window air conditioners make a racket that interferes with the enjoyment of life.
6. Who Ya Gonna Call? Older air conditioners have a way of breaking down, and then you have to call a repair person or buy a new one and probably be too hot for a few days.
5. Clothes dryers are energy-hungry. They use the third most electricity of all appliances in the home, after refrigerators and washers. If you do 400 loads a year, that’s the equivalent of burning 900 pounds of coal and generating 2,300 pounds of carbon dioxide.
4. Clothes calls. Drying clothes on a line outside can extend their life by not over-drying them, which can cause them to thin out and wear out faster.
3. Indoor environment. Using racks and lines indoors during the winter adds moisture to the air of your house at a time when the humidity is often too low.
2. Going public. Making a public exhibition of your drying laundry lets your neighbors know you care about the future of the earth. We like to think of drying clothes as flags.
1. It’s just more fun. Going outside to hang up laundry lets you smell the fresh air and listen to the birds, and the act itself can be a meditative experience.