Today, some discouraging news from the “when doing the right thing ends up coming back to bite you in your energy-saving derriere” department:
Here's the thing: Many dedicated clothes-dryer-eschewers take the energy-saving practice indoors during the chilly season, but they are also apparently introducing higher and potentially hazardous levels of moisture into their homes. These increased moisture levels pose health risks to those suffering from respiratory ailments such as asthma, hay fever and other allergies.
For the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded study, the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit sampled the moisture levels in 100 individual homes. Of the 87 percent of the homes where indoor line-drying was a common practice, 75 percent of them were found to have moisture levels that could potentially lead to dust mite growth. Additionally, 25 percent of the homes sampled were found to be harboring a mold spore that can lead to lung infections in people with weakened immune systems.
Researcher Rosalie Menon notes that folks prone to hanging their damp knickers indoors to dry during the winter were completely oblivious to how much moisture their clothes were releasing and how dangerous the additional moisture levels can potentially be:
Going into people's homes, we found they were drying washing in their living rooms, in their bedrooms. Some were literally decorating the house with it, but from just one load of washing two litres of water will be emitted.
Yikes. As an apartment-dweller with minimal outdoor clothes drying space, I’ve always dried a significant amount of clothing indoors after washing at my local laundromat (plus, most of garments don’t take too kindly to the dryer). How about you? Have you ever been concerned about the moisture released into your home by passive clothes drying?
One solution to this issue as mentioned by Menon is incorporating dedicated indoor clothes drying spaces into newly built homes: “These spaces should be independently heated and ventilated. It's very much going back to the airing cupboards we saw in more historical types of housing," she says.
Related story on MNN: 5 ways to beat fall allergies
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