Clothes line and Tumble dryer are the well known clothes drying options. Here a 3rd option is presented with advantages over tumble drying. This is a humidistatic dehumidifier in a large wardrobe, or walk-in wardrobe.
How it works
Clothes are taken out of the washer and put away in the wardrobe. And thats it, the end user need do nothing else.
Putting damp clothes in the wardrobe sets the dehumidifier running. The dehumidifier fans the air round, warms the small space a little, creates a dry climate and removes the moisture. The dehumidifier switches off when the clothes are dry.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages compared to tumble dryer:
- Takes up less space
- Takes up no kitchen space
- One less operation per load, since the clothes all go from washer to wardrobe, not via the dryer.
- No dryer noise.
- Much less energy consumption than a tumble dryer
- Much lower run cost
- Much less wear on clothes
- Produces deionised water suitable for steam ironing, steam cleaning, batteries, etc
- Heavier clothes such as winter coats can take many hours to fully dry. However this is rarely a disadvantage in reality. You would have to be a bit disorganised for this to make any difference.
Notes on Operation
Normally all clothes would be hanging.
Socks can be put in a plastic matrix on one side if this is preferred to a multi-bar hanger. Drawer dividers are used to create this matrix of miniature cubbyholes.
For items to be stacked, such as bedding, these can't be stacked when wet, but can be once dry. They can be put in the wardrobe on slatted or wire shelves to dry, or if preferred one could use extra large bedding hangers.
Some ventilation is recommended, clothes need at least some fresh air to dry fresh. Ventilation does not noticeably affect drying times.
Whole pillows of all types may be dried with this system. The pillow needs to be placed close to the air outlet on the dehumidifier, as pillows need forced airflow during drying to dry the centre of the fill.
The dehumidifier needs to be humidistatic and have a continuous drain connection.
A 200w dehumidifier is more than enough. High power machines eg 400w are not really suitable for small enclosed spaces, due to the heat given off.
A dehumidifier with no continuous drain connection can be used if necessary, but you would need to empty the water container when full.
Some personal experiences of this system:
1. I find a 400W compressor based dehumidifier will dry a load of washing this way in 60 minutes after a 1400RPM spin. Towels and thick denims may require longer.
2. I use a 200w dehumidifier in a walk-in room, and a 1000rpm washer. Clothes dry overnight. I tend to leave the door ajar so the clothes get fresh air, and this has no noticeable impact on drying times.
3. Unlike a tumble dryer, I get no lint from drying clothes. The drying room needs cleaning less often than other rooms. This means things that would wear down in a tumbler last better.
4. I was surprised by how low the condensate conductivity is. The water is actually purer than shop bought deionised water, and is good for all deionised water uses.
Dehumidifiers are protected by overtemperature cutouts on both compressor and fan, but it is still best not to permit clothes to fall on the machine while in use. For large wardrobe spaces, the machine can be placed with no clothes above it. For furniture sized wardrobes, a shelf over the dehumidifier can keep clothes off.
A high power machine in a small space is not recommended, as it may exceed the machine's ambient temperature ratings.
Keywords: tumble dryer tumble drier clothes laundry design kitchen layout planning plan