Consumers who want to save money and energy may want to take a closer look at their clothes dryers. These common household appliances are an often-overlooked opportunity to save.

Clothes in dryer

A load of wet laundry can contain several pounds of water that has to be evaporated off, a very energy-intensive process. In fact, drying laundry accounts for about 6 percent of the electricity we use at home, and the technology hasn’t changed in nearly 30 years.

Kyle Gluesenkamp with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is studying ways to make dryers more efficient. But until the technology improves, there are ways to reduce the amount of energy we use to dry clothes.

Kyle Gluesenkamp
Kyle Gluesenkamp

For one, take full advantage of the washing machine spin cycle.

GLUESENKAMP: “There is a big difference on the washing machine side in terms of how much moisture they’re able to extract, and that directly affects how much energy the dryer needs to consume.”

And we often waste energy by running our dryers longer than necessary …

GLUESENKAMP: “. . . to basically reach the point where the clothes are dry, but then continue to heat them.”

Your dryer accounts for 6% of home electricity use, and the technology hasn't changed in 30 years. Sad! Click To Tweet

So until the technology advances, the best way to save energy is to avoid over-drying your clothes and use tried-and-true alternatives, like hanging your clothes to dry.

Reporting credit: Les Vonderlin/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Dryer photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Energy – Tumbling Clothes Drying Costs
Energy Star Market and Industry Scoping Report: Residential Clothes Dryers
Heat-Pump Clothes Dryers

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