Clothes dryers use a ton of energy, generating over 66 billion kWh per year, or 5.8% of all residential energy use, according to a study published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Adopting a smart and energy-efficient way of doing laundry could yield substantial energy savings.
Dryer Energy Consumption
The high-heat stage of the drying cycle consumes the most energy, where the exhaust air ranges between 130 to 170°F, with very low humidity. The heat energy will evaporate water from the clothes and heat the exhausted air, according to the same ACEEE study. There is further energy consumption to heat the metal and plastic parts of the dryer, as well as other dryer operations, such as rotating the drum and moving the air, and operating the controls. The standby mode energy when the dryer is not in use is also a concern.
A dryer’s energy consumption goes beyond its main operation. A dryer releases waste heat to the room, so the home uses more energy to replace it with cooler air, which places a large load on your HVAC system. Consider doing your laundry at night, especially during hot summer months, to reduce your home’s cooling loads. Through your dryer vents, outside air can also enter and introduce thermal loads, which cause your HVAC system to run harder to keep the room comfortable.
Given these considerations, here’s what you can do to increase your dryer’s efficiency:
Increase the spin speed to remove more water before drying.
Load your dryer to capacity. A full load of laundry uses less energy than a larger number of partial loads.
Use a lower heat setting. Drying time may be longer, but your clothes will get just as dry.
Use the “less dry” setting.
Clean the lint filter regularly to reduce fire hazards and improve your dryer’s performance.
Don’t mix fabrics. Dry similar fabrics together to speed up drying time.
Use dryer balls to help dry clothes faster and to circulate air better.
Hire a trusted contractor that provides dryer vent cleaning services to solve the problem of waste heat.
Replacing Old Dryers
If your dryer is nearing the end of its useful life, it is wise to replace it with a newer model designed to run more efficiently. Models with Energy Star ratings can remove water from clothes much faster while consuming less energy than typical dryers.