An electric dryer
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Dry baby, dry!

Maximizing Efficiency and Savings with Your Electric Dryer: An Energy Guide

Katie Overmonds
August 18, 2023

Ah, laundry day. Gone are the days of handwashing and hanging clothes on the line to dry (though the truly energy-savvy among us may still practice those traditions!). Thankfully, for those of us who don’t have the space and commitment to do it all by hand, or who have too many loads on the go for that to even be a possibility (we see you, new parents), we have the trusty electric dryer.

In this blog we'll dive into its energy usage, longevity, efficiency, and some smart tips to boost your savings and sustainability. The electric dryer – a true time-saver in our busy lives. These appliances work wonders in getting our clothes dry and ready to wear, especially on those rainy days when line-drying isn't an option. But with great convenience comes energy consumption, and it's crucial to strike a balance between efficient drying and eco-friendliness.

Elevating Your Savings and Sustainability Game

Here's where you can truly take control of your energy consumption and environmental impact:

  • Hang-dry Clothes: Whenever possible, opt for line-drying your clothes. Not only does this save energy, but it's also gentler on your garments.
  • Clean the Lint Trap: Remember to clean the lint trap after every load. This promotes better airflow and decreases the risk of fire hazards (lint fires are more common than you might think!).
  • Avoid Overstuffing: Don't cram the dryer full. Leave some room for air circulation, allowing your clothes to dry efficiently.
  • Dry Similar Fabrics Together: This ensures even drying times, preventing some items from being overdried while others remain damp.
  • Utilize Residual Heat: Consider drying multiple loads in a row. The residual heat in the machine can contribute to energy savings.

Energy Consumption of Electric Dryers on Average

When it comes to energy usage, electric dryers do take a fair chunk of your monthly bill. On average, an electric dryer uses around 3 to 4 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per load. This number might vary depending on the dryer's capacity, age, and features, but it's worth keeping in mind as you budget your energy consumption.

What does that mean in dollars? As an example, an electric dryer consuming 4 kWh  per load (assuming the average family does a load every other day) costs about:

  • ~$228 per year in California
  • ~$172 per year in New York
  • ~$94 in Texas

Hot tip: Moving that energy use to off peak times and can save a couple dollars per load, and add up to hundreds of dollars per year, depending on your electricity prices. Typically, before 4PM and after about 9 PM are considered “off peak”, which means your electricity costs are lower because there’s less demand on the grid.

Lifespan of Electric Dryers

Like any appliance, the lifespan of an electric dryer varies. Generally, you can expect a good 10-15 years of service from your dryer if well-maintained. Regular cleaning and proper usage go a long way in extending its life.

Efficiency of New Electric Dryers

Newer models of electric dryers are designed with efficiency in mind. These machines are equipped with advanced sensors and technologies that adjust drying time based on the moisture level of your clothes. This can lead to less energy waste and a gentler treatment of your garments. So, investing in a newer model could help you save money and energy over time.

Energy Usage When Running vs. Idle

Ever wonder how much energy your electric dryer uses even when it's not drying clothes? Well, it might surprise you. Some modern dryers have a standby mode that consumes a small amount of energy even when not in use. That standby electricity usage is minimal (less than $1/month typically), but if you really want to make sure it's not using energy, you can switch your dryer's circuit off at your electric panel.

Ideal Replacement Frequency

Now, the big question: when should you replace your electric dryer? If your current dryer is showing signs of wear, has become inefficient, or is costing you a fortune in repairs, it might be time to consider an upgrade. Remember, newer models often come with improved energy efficiency and better features.

Improvements in Energy Efficiency

The good news is that electric dryers have indeed become more energy-efficient over the past 5-10 years. Manufacturers have been making strides in technology, design, and materials to reduce energy consumption while maintaining effective drying performance. So, if you're thinking about upgrading, you'll likely find options that align with your eco-friendly goals.

Child stands next to an electric dryer, dressed like a superhero.
Elevate your sustainability game with an energy efficient electric dryer. Image source: Canva Pro

Want to Really Save? Consider a Heat Pump Dryer!

If you're ready to take your energy efficiency to the next level, a heat pump dryer might be worth considering. If you can adapt to how they work (mainly increased dry times), they offer significant energy savings in the long run. Let’s take a closer look at why you may want to invest:

Pros of heat pump dryers:

  • Significantly less electricity usage than an electric dryer
  • Are ventless, meaning you also don’t need to make a 4” hole in your house to vent (and means less conditioned air is escaping, too)
  • Much gentler on clothes because it dries at a lower temperature
  • Can find models that plug into a standard, 120-volt outlet

Cons of heat pump dryers:

  • Longer dry cycle - cycles can be 30% longer or more than a regular electric dryer, though even with that increase in time, use much less electricity
  • Clothes aren’t piping hot out of the machine - because clothes aren’t dried at a high temperature, folks will think they’re still “wet” (even though they aren’t) because they don’t feel warm to the touch
  • More expensive - often 50% or more than a standard electric dryer
  • Need to empty or drain water after each cycle - not a huge issue typically because there are drains existing for the washer

Energy efficient electric and heat pump dryers we love

We did a deep dive into Consumer Reports, Energy Star rankings and customer reviews across the market. Here’s a roundup of the latest and greatest energy efficient washing machines we found:

Electric Dryers

LG DLE3400W Electric Dryer

Cost: $798 from Home Depot

Details: This LG electric dryer offers

  • Moisture sensor
  • Electronic controls
  • On/off end of cycle signal
  • Drum light
  • Custom programs
  • Duct blockage indicator
  • Stackable

LG DLE7300WE Electric Dryer

Cost: $899 from LG

Details: This LG electric dryer offers

  • Moisture sensor
  • Electronic controls
  • On/off end of cycle signal
  • Drum light
  • Custom programs
  • Duct blockage indicator
Samsung DVE50A8600E Electric Dryer

Cost: $523 from Best Buy

Details: This Samsung electric dryer offers

  • Moisture sensor
  • Electronic controls
  • Steam option
  • Stainless steel drum
  • On/off end of cycle signal
  • Drum light
  • Drying rack
  • Custom programs
  • Duct blockage indicator
  • Stackable

Heat Pump Dryers

LG DLHC1455W Heat Pump Electric Dryer

Cost: $1295 from DesignerAppliances

Details: This 24 Inch Compact Electric Dryer - Heat Pump has

  • Dual Inverter HeatPump™ Technology
  • ThinQ® Technology
  • Sensor Dry
  • Tempered Glass Door
  • NeveRust™ Stainless Steel Tub
  • LoDecibel™ Quiet Operation
  • Reversible Door
  • ENERGY STAR® Certified

Cost: $894 from Home Depot

Details: This Bosch heat pump dryer has:

  • ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient
  • Self-Cleaning Condenser
  • Home Connect™
  • EasyStart
  • Energy Consumption
  • Status Updates
  • Remote Diagnostics
  • Large Capacity
  • Quick 15 Dry Cycle
  • Laundry Plug Adaptor

In the end, striking a balance between convenience, savings, and sustainability is the goal. With these insights and tips in your pocket, you're well on your way to making the most of your electric dryer while minimizing its impact on your energy bill and the environment. So, keep those clothes fresh, and here's to smarter laundry days!

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