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Clothes Dryer Facts

Clothes Dryers

ENERGY STAR certified dryers use 20 percent less energy than conventional models without sacrificing features or performance. They do this using innovative energy saving technologies, such as moisture sensors that detect when clothes are dry and automatically shut the dryer off. Many ENERGY STAR dryers also include convenient features, such as steam cycles that can help save time on ironing clothes by preventing wrinkles.

More than 80 percent of American homes have a clothes dryer, so the savings opportunity is huge. If all clothes dryers sold in the US were ENERGY STAR certified, Americans could save $1.5 billion each year in utility costs and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 2 million vehicles. To choose a dryer that saves energy and money while protecting the environment, look for the ENERGY STAR label.

Get the most efficiency from your ENERGY STAR certified dryer by considering the following:

  • Sensor Drying. Use sensor drying, not timed drying. ENERGY STAR dryer models incorporate advanced moisture sensors to help you reduce your dryer’s energy use. This feature ensures that your dryer will automatically shut 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.
  • Consider gas. Eighty percent of dryers in the US are electric. If you have the option, consider using a gas dryer to save money and reduce your environmental impact.
  • Savings by the pair. 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.

Electric vs. Gas

Many of the latest dryer models are available in both electric and gas versions, so you can choose which option is right for you.

Gas dryers may cost less to operate, depending on the electric and gas rates in your area, but may have a slightly higher initial price tag. Like most electric dryers, gas models require venting to the outside of the home, in addition gas models also require a dedicated gas line which may not be practical for some types of housing and could add to the cost of installation.

Electric dryers may be slightly less expensive to purchase initially, but may be more costly to run than gas models, depending on your area’s utility rates. For homes where outside venting may not be practical, ventless electric models are available that do not require venting. Electric dryers do not require a dedicated gas line, but most standard sized models require a 240 V outlet. Alternatively, some compact dryers are available for a 120 V outlet.

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.

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.

Energy Star