green drying "clothes drying cabinet"

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Old 11-11-10, 11:40 PM
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Question green drying "clothes drying cabinet"

I was looking at clothes drying cabinets online - one user said she saved a lot of money by using her electric dryer for ten minutes, then air-fluffing (using the still-warm dryer's residual heat) - then placing her damp clothes into the much-lower wattage clothes drying cabinet. However, these are expensive, about $1000.00 for the Staber model.
I was thinking that it should not be that hard to make a clothes drying cabinet. I read they usually use an 1100 W element, with a fan to circulate air, and a 4 hour timer - and perhaps the ability to add steam to make the wrinkles fall out.
I was thinking of a nice wooden cabinet made, with a couple of heat lamps, and a drainage container so any water dripping does not make a mess - and perhaps a fan and timer - has anyone had experience with making a home-made cabinet like this, or heard of anyone who has?
 
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Old 11-12-10, 04:10 AM
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You could probably buy a steam treatment dryer that uses quite a bit less energy than that contraption would for a lot less money. Cute things are made to attract sales. Until the technology is tried and true, I doubt it would be economical to scratch build something like this.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 07:49 AM
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It sounds like it would be easier and cheaper to just use a regular dryer. Or get a clothsline. I drove past a house yesterday where a woman was hanging clothes outside. I hadn't seen that in years. I remember how fresh stuff smelled after being dried in the open air.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 08:35 AM
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I'm one of those people that still use a clothesline. I have them inside and outside. I also have a dryer tho. If you really want to go green, then a clothesline is the way to go. Since you live in CA, you have the added benefit of hanging things out year round.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 10:48 AM
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I used to hang clothes outside. They do seem to have a "fresh" smell to them but the towels become stiff as a board and when folding sheets you sometimes worry that you are going to break them. You also have to worry about birds leaving their calling cards.

Drying clothes in a cabinet or tumble dryer is simple physics. You have to use heat and airflow with a sufficient amount of time. Most American electric clothes dryers are rated between 4500 and 5000 watts and will dry a "load" in about 30 minutes. My Swedish clothes dryer is rated at 2700 watts and takes a bit less than twice as long to dry a load. Cost of operation is about the same.
The ONLY advantage that I see to a drying cabinet is for drying things that you don't want to tumble. Otherwise it is just another thing taking up space, something that most people don't have an excess of.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 03:37 PM
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clothes drying cabinet

Actually, I have read these units are quite popular in Japan - but I just wonder if they need to be as expensive as the ones built by Asco and Staber - also, Whirlpool had one for a while, and I believe a company called Breeze Aire.

It just seems like there should be a cheaper alternative, something to allow clothes to drip dry, with a bit of heat and air circulation, and a timer to prevent it from running too long. I can't have a clothesline in my condo, and allergies would bother me if clothes hung outside anyway.

On large items, I have placed like a childs safety gate on top of the shower stall in the bathroom, and used the heat lamp - as compared to the dryer, it doesn't use that much energy - the concept seems good -
 
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Old 11-13-10, 02:08 AM
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I think the advantage of a drying cabinet is that you can dry things for a bit and then let them drip dry, kind of a compromise between speed of drying and cost of operation. The other advantage is that your clothes are not supposed to wear out nearly as fast, as they are not drying in the clothes dryer for so long and tumbling to death - the lint you see in the lint filter is your clothes wearing out.
In an upper story condo, a clothesline outside is not an option - though I am a member of a group that is trying to change the legislation to keep communities from restricting people from line-drying clothes, as my mom's mobile home park did years ago - which in my opinion was done of their business. For many with allergies however, you are not supposed to line-dry as the allergens ride in on your freshly cleaned clothes.
 
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Old 11-13-10, 05:59 AM
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Iím skeptical of green energy claims when a task requires multiple purchases of energy consuming stuff that could be accomplished by buying one device. Forking out $1,000 to buy a green drying "clothes drying cabinet" on top of still needing to buy a dryer doesnít strike me as a bright idea. A manufacturer pitching these cabinets as a much-lower wattage device without demonstrating credible evidence that overall energy consumption is substantially reduced is likely marketing to the uninformed consumer. One should think about whether folded-up damp clothes in a drying cabinet are going to take longer to dry than when tumbled dry in the already existing dryer, and which should have multiple settings that help regulate energy use. A lower wattage device running considerably longer than an alternative may drive-up overall energy consumption. If this was the real deal, I would think a smart manufacturer and marketer would at least subject this cabinet to an independent evaluator who could test overall energy consumption between having $1,700 invested in a dryer/cabinet combination versus a $700 dryer. Assuming the test was conducted fairly, that data would then allow a consumer to calculate estimated savings to determine if theyíre deploying the $1,000 green energy investment to get the most bang for the buck relative to other possible energy saving options.

I also think itís a big reach for most people to justify this expense based on extending the life of their clothes. Seems to me that clothes are mostly discarded for reasons like they donít fit any longer, no longer in style, something spilled on it, or some part of the clothing is worn out from long use. In some cases, it may be a wonderful thing that personal under clothing, sheets, and towels get pitched or converted to rags rather than trying to extend their life as long as possible . Women who complain about their significant otherís foul looking underwear may want to employ some critical thinking before investing in this $1,000 cabinet, or get used to arguing about whether theyíre good to go for a few more years.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 12:07 AM
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I find myself wondering though about them popular in Japan - why? Don't the Japanese have cramped living quarters generally? I would think it would have to make sense or a lot of Japanese people would not do it. I would think that usually something lower wattage for just a bit - then allowing something to finish by drip-drying - would be more efficient - though of course I could be wrong. I have e-mailed Consumer Reports, I was interested in seeing if they could make a clothes drying cabinet, and see how efficient it would be.
To me, this seems like a step between a electric dryer - and hanging clothes up to dry - kind of a compromise as to speed of drying, and cost of drying. I don't see why a 1100W element would even be needed, I was thinking a pair of heat lamps, but perhaps that wouldn't work -
 
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Old 11-14-10, 04:27 AM
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I find myself wondering though about them popular in Japan - why? Don't the Japanese have cramped living quarters generally? I would think it would have to make sense or a lot of Japanese people would not do it.
The Japanese do have cramped living quarters, and their homes generally become smaller as you move out of Tokyo and their other major cities. By American standards, homes throughout the world are generally smaller than what weíre accustomed too. My visits to Japan were in the mid-1980ís prior to their stock market and real estate crashes. Since 1989, they have been mired in a very deep and protracted depression/recession, and I suspect many of their high labor intense practices have had to be curtailed. You could also see a stark difference in the young Japanese people who mimicked American culture whereas older Japanese were generally extremely conservative and adhered to cultural practices of the past. It was a strange country in that many of their factories were highly automated, best in class facilities whereas the office environment was way behind in terms of exploiting information technology to its fullest, and this resulted in a very high ratio of office workers to total employees as compared to a typical U.S. operation. Because of their focus on quality, the larger corporations were much more process control and statistically oriented in running their businesses. The success they had, however, was undermined by inattention to cost relative to foreign competition among other Asian competitors, especially in not earning their cost of capital which made investor money flow out of Japan.

I would be cautious about extrapolating what they may or may not do as I saw a number of things in their personal and business lives that are not seen here in the U.S. Their sense of time greatly differs from ours, and they will manually do tasks that we would find unaffordable or unwilling to do. There was no litter of any kind in the major cities, and if someone inadvertently dropped a piece of paper, a passer by would pick it up. It was unlawful to drive a vehicle that was dented, and the Japanese rigidly adhere to rules. Cab drivers waiting for a fare would have long feathered wands to keep any dust off of their vehicles. They take great pride in presentation, and the way they serve food is just one example. I would not be surprised to learn that they would spend an inordinate amount of time doing laundry or keeping stuff very clean.

My earlier post was more of a gut reaction to what you had posted based on most situations Iíve encountered where duplication of equipment and multiple manual processes rarely yield added efficiency of any kind. You might want to read some of these links as I donít find evidence from a quick review that these drying cabinets are commonly used in Japan. From what I gather, this type of system is used on delicate clothing, not the entire laundry. These delicate items are hung from hooks, not folded damp in the cabinet. See the comments by the Swedish lady who had used this system in Europe, and found it totally frustrating when trying to dry towels, sheets, and bulkier garments. Instead of using a separate heat source which would consume energy, there is discussion about using drying cabinets in combination w/ waste heat produced by the dryer . . . if that could be done, then it starts to make sense from an energy efficiency perspective as many industrial processes achieve greater energy efficiency employing this principle. For example, if you washed delicates first and hung them in this cabinet so the waste heat and air circulation from other bulkier loads going through the dryer dried those delicates, you may be able to eliminate a separate heating device in the cabinet or greatly reduce the amount of time it would need to run.

Drying Cabinet Clothes | miriamkaye.com

Clothes dryer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dryer for permanent press fabrics - Patent # 4819341 - PatentGenius

The Wash Post | Swedish Blog

Good luck, and perhaps with some perseverance, youíll come up w/ a patentable and marketable product.
 
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