Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dry at last, dry at last

We have a dryer! You're thinking, Big deal. Welcome to the second half of the 20th century. Well, this is a significant improvement in our quality of life since we've been in Glasgow.

The house we're renting has a washing machine, which is located in the kitchen (normal for Europe) under the counter between the sink and dishwasher. It's an Indesit, a brand with which we were not familiar. Works fine. Uses powdered detergent. Liquid fabric softener. Holds 6 kg. I'm guessing you have no idea how much laundry that is. {Ed.'s note: It's maybe/possibly/approximately/guesstimated about 75% of a typical U.S. washing machine.} At certain times during its washing cycle, it's as loud as a banshee from Hell, which means we are usually smart enough not to wash things when we're in the kitchen or living room or trying to watch television.

It's fancier, but smaller and louder, than the washer we had back in the States.
So many choices, and all I generally use is "white cotton" and "color cotton." Jackson delights in spinning the dials, though.
Some homes here have combination washers and dryers, both in the same machine. We're told they don't dry as well as you might hope, and their capacity isn't huge.

Our house did not come with a dryer. Instead, for the most part we've been drying our laundry out in the yard on this:

What should we do with all these clothespins now?
I had never previously dried my clothes on a clothesline. It's cumbersome. Takes most of a day to get things dryish. Even with fabric softener -- and this is the first time I've ever noticed fabric softener actually having an effect on my laundry -- the clothes and towels and sheets end up slightly crunchy and coarse. The bigger problem is trying to guess when it won't rain, so we can wash and dry our clothes at an appropriate time. Since only one or two loads of laundry fit on the clothesline outside, we can't do big batches of laundry on the same day, which means we might have to go without doing laundry until the next day it doesn't rain. That might be awhile. It's not that it rains every day, but there seems to be a perpetual chance of rain every day.

We also tried to dry laundry inside on a folding rack. That works, but golly gee damn is it slow. Even with open windows, it can take several days for things to dry. Our friend Nancy in London does most of her drying on racks in her second bedroom, and says her room is basically overrun with soggy laundry and she never feels on top of it.

The tiniest person in our house is a clothes horse.
Once, I tried out a laundromat; we have one within a quarter of a mile from our house. But it cost more than 10 pounds (i.e., ~ $16) to do three loads of laundry, and those loads were still damp at the end. Not an economical solution.

Thus, after two months, we finally gave in and bought a dryer. Trying to dry our laundry was hard enough during the summer. I can't believe we'd ever be successful during the fall and winter.

Our dryer is a Beko, another brand with which we were not familiar. We didn't want to spend very much, and we think fancy dryers are a waste. I did quick internet research and the cheap Beko was rated highly in best-of lists.

"Dryer at last, Dryer at last, Thank God almighty we have a dryer at last." Didn't MLK say that?
It holds 8 kg, so no matter how much we put in the washing machine there will always be plenty of space in the dryer. According to specifications, it will hold "24 t-shirts." Isn't that how you measure your dryer capacity?

I'm sure you look in there and say to yourself, I think that'll hold precisely 24 t-shirts.
This is not a vented dryer like we were accustomed to in the States. A vented dryer sends steam to the outside of the building. Our house has no place for such a dryer. Instead, it is a condenser dryer, which means the water is heated out of the clothes into steam and then condenses back into water in a tank within the dryer itself. This tank needs to be emptied after each load, and it results in a considerable amount of water to dump out.

I pull this tank out of the top left of the dryer after each load -- it's usually close to full -- and drain it in the bathtub.
We've had the dryer for a week, and it's a godsend. Drying is done within 90 minutes. The loads are actually dry. And it has been a nice perspective change on convenience: although the washing machine is located on the ground floor and we have the dryer in a guest room two floors up, it's still much easier to transport the laundry within the house than to put it up and take it down from a clothesline. No complaints here.

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