How Much Energy Does a Tumble Dryer Use? | Crunching Numbers

Have you ever wondered what kind of environmental impact a tumble dryer leaves on our planet? Whether you have a washing machine that includes a dryer or just a dryer on its own, it’s additional energy consumption.

energy efficient tumble dryer

Naturally, this can be said about basically everything that uses electricity, but let’s talk specifically about tumble dryers – because we all love them, so how much energy does a tumble dryer use?

Energy Consumption: The Shocking Truth

Let’s get the cat out of the box: tumble dryers are one of the most energy-intensive appliances in the average household, right up there with refrigerators and air conditioners. They need a lot of energy – and I mean a lot.

Not So Eco-Friendly

So why do they use so much energy? Well, most dryers use either electricity or natural gas to generate heat, which then evaporates the moisture in your clothes. The problem is, this process requires a lot of energy – and the more energy we use, the more greenhouse gases we emit, contributing to climate change. Not exactly a warm and fuzzy feeling, is it?

Crunching Numbers

With that being said, let’s crunch some numbers:

Fact #1: The average vented dryer uses approximately 2.05 kW per hour. In comparison, an 80W lightbulb would require 0.08 kW an hour. I know we are comparing apples and oranges, but still, it’s more than 25x difference.

So, let’s talk money. In 2023 in the US the average price per kilowatt-hour is about 19 cents (varies from state to state), which means that a vented tumble dryer will set you back about $0.39 for each hour it runs.

Note: If you are also interested in noise (or rather in quiet), the vented tumble dryers (especially compact models) tend to be a little quieter than competition.

Fact #2: Condenser dryers are pretty much on the same level, but a bit better, saving about 10% of energy when compared to vented dryers.

Note: In Fact #1 & #2 we are talking about energy consumption per hour, not per drying cycle – as a general rule of thumb, a cycle is usually 2.5 times higher.

Fact #3: Washer dryers use more energy than tumble dryers. Actually, drying in a washer uses about 70% more energy than washing – considering the same cycle length. So, in case eco-friendliness is something you really care about, buying a 2-1 washer-dryer is not the best choice. Instead, in the long run, you will benefit from two separate appliances more.

The Great Vent Debate: Indoor vs. Outdoor

Now, let’s talk about vents. Most tumble dryers vent outdoors, which is generally a good thing, as it helps prevent moisture buildup inside your home (mold and mildew, anyone?). However, outdoor venting also means that all that hot, moist air – and the energy used to create it – is being released into the atmosphere, further adding to our environmental woes.

Now there are people who opt for indoor venting, which can save energy by recirculating the warm air back into your home. But it’s not that simple. Indoor venting can lead to excess humidity and potential mold problems if not properly managed. It’s a delicate balance, my friends.

Tumble Dryer Alternatives: Because Sometimes, Old-School Is Best

So, are there any alternatives to these energy hogs? As it turns out, yes. For example:

  1. Air drying: The oldest trick in the book – simply hang your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack to let the air and sunshine do the work. It’s free, energy-efficient, and can even help prevent fabric shrinkage and fading.
  2. Spin dryers: These nifty gadgets use centrifugal force to extract water from your clothes, significantly reducing drying time and energy consumption. While they don’t leave your clothes completely dry, they make air drying much faster.
  3. Heat pump dryers: A more energy-efficient alternative to traditional tumble dryers, heat pump dryers reuse the hot air generated during the drying process, reducing energy consumption by up to 50%. They may be more expensive upfront, but they’ll save you money in the long run.

In Conclusion: Dry Responsibly

There you have it fellas, a simple guide on energy consumption on various tumble dryer types. As you can clearly see, tumble dryers are not this planet’s favorite devices.

To summarize, if you don’t want to go to “extremes” and get back to air drying, consider heat pump dryers – they will save a lot of energy (and a lot of money in the long run).

If you are dead set on a vented or condenser tumble dryer, then get it as a separate appliance.

The worst that you can do in regard to carbon footprint release is to get a washer-dryer. These are the ultimate energy-consumption beasts. Naturally, they get the job done well and relatively fast – but it has a cost and for me personally, the cost is way too high.