Over-drying causes shrinkage, generates static electricity, and shortens fabric life.
Why Buy An Energy Efficient Clothes Dryer?
The clothes dryer is typically the second-biggest electricity-using appliance after the refrigerator, costing about $85 to operate annually. A typical clothes dryer will cost $1,100 to operate over its lifetime. Some new clothes dryers remove moisture more efficiently, have moisture sensors, and have automatic shut-off controls to avoid over-drying.
About Clothes Dryer Efficiency
Dryers work by heating and aerating clothes. The efficiency of a clothes dryer is measured by a term called the energy factor. It is somewhat similar to the miles per gallon for a car, but in this case the measure is pounds of clothing per kilowatt-hour of electricity. The minimum rating for a standard capacity electric dryer is 3.01. For gas dryers the minimum energy factor is 2.67. The rating for gas dryers is provided in kilowatt-hours though the primary source of fuel is natural gas.
Unlike most other types of appliances, energy consumption does not vary significantly among comparable models of clothes dryers. Clothes dryers are not required to display EnergyGuide labels.
Tips for Buying a New Clothes Dryer
- Look for a clothes dryer with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, it will reduce the wear and tear on clothes from over-drying.
- The best dryers have moisture sensors in the drum for sensing dryness, while most only infer dryness by sensing the temperature of the exhaust air. Compared with timed drying, you can save about 10% with a temperature sensing control, and 15% with a moisture sensing control.
- Look for a dryer with a cycle that includes a cool-down period, sometimes known as a “perma-press” cycle. In the last few minutes of the cycle, cool air, rather than heated air, is blown through the tumbling clothes to complete the drying process.
- Gas dryers are less expensive to operate than electric dryers. The cost of drying a typical load of laundry in an electric dryer is 30-40 cents compared to 15-20 cents in a gas dryer.
Tips for Lowering Your Clothes Dryer’s Energy Usage
- Place the dryer in a heated space. Putting it in a cold or damp basement will make the dryer work harder and less efficiently.
- Make sure your dryer is vented properly. If you vent the exhaust outside, use the straightest and shortest metal duct available. Do not use flexible vinyl duct because it restricts the air flow, can be crushed, and may not withstand high temperatures from the dryer.
- Check the outside dryer exhaust vent periodically. If it doesn’t close tightly, replace it with one that does to keep the outside air from leaking in. This will reduce heating and cooling bills.
- Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation. Regularly clean the lint from vent hoods.
- Dry only full loads, as small loads are less economical; but do not overload the dryer.
- When drying, separate your clothes and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes.
- Dry two or more loads in a row, taking advantage of the dryer’s retained heat.
- Use the cool-down cycle (perma-press cycle) to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.