How do I choose the right type of clothes dryer?
Heat Pump Dryers
For even more savings, consider ENERGY STAR certified heat pump dryers - they can save 20-60 percent more than conventional clothes dryers. Consumers with high clothes dryer usage and high electricity rates have the potential for large energy and cost savings.
Heat pump dryers take in ambient air, heat it, and then recirculate it in the dryer to maintain the temperature without using much energy. Rather than releasing moist air through a dryer vent to the exterior of the home as a conventional dryer does, a heat pump dryer passes humid air in the dryer drum through a condenser to remove the moisture without losing too much heat. The condensed moisture (water) from the drum is drained or emptied out of a holding tank in the dryer. Watch this video to see a heat pump dryer in action.
When considering a heat pump model, keep in mind:
- Initial Cost vs. Ongoing Savings – Clothes dryers, like all products that use energy have two price tags: 1) the initial cost of the product at the time of purchase, and 2) the cost of energy to operate that product over its lifetime. For a higher initial purchase, a heat pump model can save more energy and money with each load. Heat pump dryers take in ambient air, heat it, and then recirculate it in the dryer to maintain the temperature without using much energy.
- Venting – Since a heat pump dryer does not release air through a home’s exterior, there is no need for a dryer vent. Any existing dryer vents should be removed and/or sealed to prevent air leakage, which can add to the total initial cost for selecting a heat pump dryer. For homes without an existing vent, a heat pump dryer can offer a significant cost savings during installation, since the investment in putting in a new vent is not needed.
- Water Drainage – A heat pump dryer’s condenser removes moisture from the air during the drying process, resulting in water that needs to be drained. If installation of a drain for the water is not feasible, a water tank will need to be emptied after each dryer load. Many manufacturers sell a device that allows a heat pump dryer to use the clothes washer drain to remove the water. Depending on the configuration of the dryer and the clothes washer drain, these devices may not work in some situations.
Choose the right size for your capacity needs
- If you are replacing a dryer, consider how much laundry you dry each week.
- Drying too large of a load will cause it to take longer to dry. The drum needs to be large enough to allow a full load from the washer to tumble freely, with enough space left over for hot air to circulate.
- Too small of a load can cause problems, too. Drying a single towel for 30 minutes will cost about as much as drying a full load for the same time. Smaller loads can actually take longer to dry without benefit of the tumbling effect of a full load.
- It is a bit easier if you are buying both a matching washer and dryer - manufacturers normally design these pairs to work together with the same sized load.
Choose a model with a high Combined Energy Factor (CEF)
Combined Energy Factor (CEF) is a measure of energy efficiency that reflects the energy use of the clothes dryer - the higher the CEF, the more energy efficient the clothes dryers. You can find and compare the CEF for all certified dryer models using the ENERGY STAR Product Finder.
Increasing Functionality and Performance
- Moisture Sensors - Many new clothes dryers come designed with a moisture sensor, which automatically ends the drying cycle when clothes are dry.
- Automatic Cycle Termination – Select a product with automatic termination to help prevent your clothes from over-drying. Not only will this feature save energy, but it will also save wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
- Delayed Start – Delay start gives you the option of setting the dryer to begin according to your schedule. In some cases delaying the start of the dryer could save on energy costs.
- Steam – Many dryer models come with a steam cycle option or feature to help release wrinkles and remove odors in clothing.
Be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR when shopping for clothes dryers
Current Specification Effective Date: January 1, 2015
Only gas, or electric, and compact clothes dryers meeting the ENERGY STAR definitions for electric or gas clothes dryers are eligible to earn ENERGY STAR certification.
Get the most efficiency from your ENERGY STAR certified dryer by considering the following:
- Sensor Drying. Use sensor drying, not timed drying. Dryers that have earned the ENERGY STAR incorporate advanced moisture sensors to help reduce their energy use by automatically shutting off when clothes are dry.
- Low heat setting. Longer drying cycles on a low heat setting use less energy. When you purchase an ENERGY STAR certified clothes dryer, look in the informational materials shipped with the product for which cycle was tested for certification and how the dryer’s other cycles or settings may use more or less energy.
- Savings by the pair. A full-size electric certified dryer saves more than $200 in energy bills over the life of the product. An ENERGY STAR certified washer/dryer pair will save even more energy and money while doing your laundry. Clothes washers that have earned the ENERGY STAR incorporate advanced technology and functionality to get significantly more water out of your clothes in its final spin cycle than a conventional model. This makes it easier for clothing to dry in an ENERGY STAR certified dryer using less heat. Less heat means energy savings and reduced wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
- Clean the lint filter. Clean the lint filter after every load to improve air circulation and increase the efficiency of the dryer. This is also an important safety measure.
- Scrub the lint filter regularly if you use dryer sheets. Dryer sheets can leave a film on the filter that reduces air flow and, over time, can affect the performance of the motor. Use a toothbrush to scrub it clean once a month.