Why your clothes dryer is an energy hog and what you can do about it

(BPT) - There’s nothing quite as comforting as pulling on your favorite hoodie when it's fresh from the dryer. As much as you love luxuriating in that warmth and softness, you may not be aware just how much energy this beloved appliance burns through in a year. When it comes to energy savings in the laundry room, the dryer has long been an obstacle, and here's why.

  • Unlike washing machines, refrigerators and other common household appliances, energy-efficient dryer models have been absent from the market. It wasn’t until 2014 when the first ENERGY STAR® Certified dryers became available. Products that earn the EPA’s ENERGY STAR label are independently certified to save energy.
  • Before then, dryer technology had stayed pretty much the same for decades. A standard dryer blows heated air into the drum chamber, removing moisture from the clothing. Then the hot, moist air is vented out of the machine (and out of the house). Because of that constant loss of heat, the machine works continuously to resupply the drum with hot air.
  • According to the EPA, the standard clothes dryer uses more energy than any appliance in a typical household, including the clothes washer and dishwasher. It uses even more than the refrigerator.

Now that energy-efficient dryers are available, here’s a look at the core technology found in ENERGY STAR certified dryers.

  • Moisture sensors detect when your clothes are dry, triggering the machine to end the cycle, saving energy and excess wear on your clothing.
  • Heat pump technology eliminates the need for venting and continuous heating. First, the air is heated through a condenser, and then it’s blown into the drum and the hot dry air is circulated with the clothes absorbing some of the water. Instead of venting the warm, moist air outside like a conventional dryer, it is pulled out of the drum and through an evaporator, which removes the moisture. The remaining warm, dry air is returned to the condenser and the cycle begins all over again. Because the air feeding into the condenser is already warm, less energy is needed to maintain the optimal temperature in the drum for drying clothes.

To save energy in the laundry room, there are plenty of choices to meet your unique needs and space requirements.

  • The energy savings from switching to an ENERGY STAR certified clothes dryer can reach 20%. For additional savings, look for certified ENERGY STAR Most Efficient models to save at least 28% compared to standard models. To maximize savings, pair it with an ENERGY STAR Most Efficient washer.
  • Some models require no ventilation, meaning you can put your laundry room wherever there’s access to power and water. Whether you live in a compact space or are just looking to relocate your laundry room to a more convenient place, energy-efficient models offer more flexibility.
  • ENERGY STAR certified dryers come in a variety of models to meet your needs. If space is tight, compact options are available that are stackable with a washer. Those who are doing laundry for a big family can find high-capacity models as well.

There are even more benefits of owning one of these super-efficient dryers. With ENERGY STAR, you are also doing your part for the environment. If all clothes dryers sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR certified, households would save more than $1.5 billion each year and 22 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions from more than 2 million vehicles. Even better, many utilities offer generous rebates, so you can save even more money.

Learn how you can still enjoy that warm, fresh-out-of-the-dryer hoodie while you save energy and money, and do your part to protect the climate. Find available products and rebates near you by visiting energystar.gov/hpdryer.

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