NEWSBRIEF: A good reason not to air-dry clothes in your basement

Hanging clothes on lines or racks in the basement, especially in the winter when the house is dry, might seem like a logical energy-saving approach. But caution is advised. 

Here’s why, according to the Minnesota Commerce Department, which administers the state’s energy programs.

A typical load of laundry may contain several gallons of water. As it dries, some of the added moisture in the air will condense and collect on nearby cool locations like the basement foundation, walls or windows. 

This moisture build-up can persist and encourage the growth of mold and mildew, or cause damage to window frames.

If you see condensation or frost on walls or windows, it’s a sign of too much moisture in the air. By air-drying clothes indoors, you could be trading small energy savings for potentially harmful or damaging moisture problems.

This caution about indoor line drying is one of many tips in the “Appliances” section of the Minnesota Commerce Department’s Home Energy Guide. It also includes information about the efficiency of washers and dryers (and other appliances), their maintenance and repair, when to replace them and what to look for in new equipment.

Download the entire Home Energy Guide from the Commerce website at and see pages 52-57.

To request a paper copy of the Home Energy Guide, send an email to or call the Energy Information Center at 800-657-3710.

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