Drying Clothes on the Boat

To all you SetSailors who are into washer/dryers on your boats, we’ve got an update on our ventless dryer.

These units work by using fresh water which is circulated around the drum to help condense the humid air created by the drying process. How well this works is a function of water temperature. When it didn’t work very well in the tropics we figured it was due to the warm water-about 79-82F this past winter.

So here we are in Maine, and the water is down around 55 to 65F. By scientific comparison, this system seems to take about a third longer to dry clothes up here than would be the case with a vented unit.

Our advice-stay with the vented dryer.

Now to part two: We may have discovered (invented?) a highly efficient clothes drying system. We carry a dehumidifier aboard which we leave running when the boat is stored and all closed up. It prevents any mold or mildew from getting started.

This unit, about the size of a carry-on suitcase, and costing around US$150, lives in the engine room.

We strung a bunch of light line around in engine room and find that in two to three hours of time with the dehumidifier turned on, clothes are totally dry. If you don’t have an engine room, the same process would work in a sleeping cabin.

What is interesting about this process is that the net power consumed by the dehumidifier is less than what it takes to do the job with the normal clothes dryer.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (August 10, 2001)

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