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Serves Me Right For Putting On Airs
Home Laundry Company Rotary Airer 45m
Member Name: Hishyeness
Home Laundry Company Rotary Airer 45m
Advantages: A great money saver. Practical and easy to use. Fresh smelling clothes.
Disadvantages: Drilling the hole straight can be tricky. Needs a bit of arm strength to lock in place.
Since we converted our garage into a utility room, we have always used a separate washing machine and tumble dryer for our laundry. My wife also bought a small, stand-alone airing rack for things that could not be dried in the machine. However, a recent whopper of an electricity bill made us re-think our consumption, so we decided to invest in a rotary airer for the garden, mainly to economise, but also because it would be more environmentally friendly. We recently had our bathroom re-done by B&Q and had some materials left over, so we exchanged these for the rotary airer and a zip-up cover.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
Our airer is made in China by "The Home Laundry Company" (HLC) which seems to supply exclusively to B&Q (the instructions bear this out as they refer to B&Q accessories). A web-site address is provided on the external packaging (www.thehomelaundrycompany.co.uk) but it doesn't actually work. B&Q also sell their own-branded version of these, but my wife wasn't impressed by their colour or functionality.
Various sizes of HLC airers were available, but as we tend to do our laundry in one large session every week, we needed to find a compromise between load capacity and the space it would take up in our relatively bijou back garden. We settled on a 45m model (which I believe refers to the drying area) with a turning circle of around 2.5 metres and which was labelled as suitable for a family of five. B&Q also supply a 30m and 60m version.
In total, the airer and cover came to around £55 (£45 for the airer and £10 for the cover), which to be frank, seemed quite expensive to me at the time. The airer is not available for home delivery from B&Q's web-site (diy.com), but you can reserve it on-line and collect it from your nearest store, as long as it participates in the "Reserve & Collect" scheme.
Full fitting instructions, which were clear and well written, are included. Getting the thing up and working was relatively straight forward. The airer comes in three parts. A hard plastic "ground spike" which is embedded into the ground, the lower section of the central pole, and the airer part, which also has the upper part of the central pole.
The hardest part is digging the hole in the ground for the ground spike, into which you slot the central support pole of the airer. I was scratching my head at what to dig it with, but then hit upon using the central pole, which is hollow, to drill into the relatively soft ground of our lawn. The earth was easily removed from the hollow, and it ensured the hole wasn't too big for the spike. The spike is then hammered into the ground, ideally with a mallet, but I used my heel which proved equally effective.
Ensuring the hole goes dead straight down proved trickier than expected. The airer looked a bit drunk and unsteady after I inserted it into the freshly dug hole, and although I tried jockeying it about for a bit (as men do when they don't want to admit they've botched it) the piercing and obviously disapproving look from the kitchen window made digging a fresh hole an inevitability.
The second effort was much better (on account of having bothered to make the trip to my toolbox for a spirit level, which I checked as I dug) and the central pole slotted in easily and ramrod straight. I was quite pleased with myself. The top part of the airer then clicks onto the central pole to complete the job.
USE & FEATURES
The airer is quite light, despite its bulk, mainly due to its all aluminium frame. Although I knew I would most likely be the one to take it down and put it up, I wanted to make sure that my wife could do this without too much hassle if needed. It's not that she's frail or weak or anything like that, it just seems that such things (which include trips to bug-infested back garden sheds) are very much "bloke" territory, along with close cousins "taking out the rubbish" and "getting stuff from the attic".
The airer has a "twist and lock" system. Essentially, you push the central blue hub up the pole to expand the four arms (much like an umbrella) until it slots into a metal nib, and then you twist it so that it hooks on securely. It has two positions - one to the right and one to the left, allowing you to make the lines taut or loose.
To close it, you push up and twist to disengage. It's simple to do and quite effective, but it does take a little bit of arm strength. I showed my wife how to do it, and she got the hang of it quite quickly, but found getting the thing fully extended physically a little bit of a challenge.
There are four plastic coated lines extending between each of the four rectangular arms, and also, uniquely, twelve integrated plastic hanger hooks (three at the end of each of the arms). This gives you loads of extra drying space, and lets you air dry stuff you don't want clothes pin or line marks on. In our experience, it takes around three to four moderately sized loads from a standard capacity washing machine.
The cover we bought for it was one size fits all, and does the job adequately. The airer is fairly compact when folded up and stored in the garden shed. The attached plastic cap for the ground spike is a nice touch, as it keeps it clean and dry when not in use.
It's three months since we bought it and I am thrilled to report it has already paid for itself. I had no idea how much electricity a tumble dryer actually consumed, so before we bought the airer, I borrowed a friend's portable power monitor meter, and was astonished at how much 'leccy four loads of wet wash used over a two hour drying cycle. My quarterly bill recently arrived and it looks like we are saving close to £15 a month.
Apparently, clothes also last for longer and are less prone to fading. They smell much nicer too. We are continually surprised at how quickly clothes will dry, even on overcast days with little breeze. Sometimes, it's a lot quicker than our dryer ever managed.
Apart from the general benefits any airer would provide, the HLC is very well balanced and rotates on its axis with minimum effort. It is very light, well put together and quite robust. It's easy to take up and down and takes an extraordinary amount of wash for its size. I was initially put off by the idea of having one in the garden as it takes up a fair bit of space, but the financial argument has won me over, and, although I can't claim to be particularly environmentally aware, this added benefit is certainly a worthy bonus.
For me at least, my biggest regret is that I wasn't talked round into buying one sooner. It is yet another example of me ignoring my wife, and she, inevitably, turning out to be right. One day I will learn. She lives in hope.
As for the airer, the ground spike is included in the HLC models, which many other brands do not provide, and would cost around £10 to £15 if bought separately. It saves money, it does the job it is meant to do very well, it is easy to use, well designed and environmentally friendly. Highly recommended. 8^)
© Hishyeness 2009
Summary: Why on earth didn't we get one sooner? (i.e. should have listened to her indoors...)