Who says going green has to be boring? Today's eco-friendly laundry systems boast higher capacities, designer colors, and multitudes of new convenience features while offering dramatically lower energy, water, and detergent consumption while still delivering outstanding washing performance. Recent improvements in washing machine technology deliver the bulk of the environmental savings in the laundry room but there are several things you should look for in a dryer that can help cut your energy bills and make taking care of your clothes much more fun.
Since the actual energy efficiency of dryers is pretty close to identical we've added a slight twist to this collection of high-performance dryers that compliments the Best Green Washing Machines reviewed in our previous article. We've picked our five “Best of the Best” dryers on the basis of style, convenience, reliability, and features that will allow you keep your drying cycle time to a minimum. Instead of listing another group of conventional dryers, we've used most of the “Best Value” section to highlight a series of solar- and wind-powered dryers, otherwise known as old-fashioned clotheslines.
Choosing Your Dryer Wisely:
Due to the basic physics of the drying process, there's little or nothing that appliance engineers have been able to do to improve the energy efficiency of their dryers so their actual energy efficiency is pretty close to identical. Some models do include features that can help you run your dryer more economically but the best way to save energy in your dryer is to buy a washer with a high-speed extraction cycle that pulls as much water out of your clothes as possible beforehand.
If you're buying a washer and dryer as a matched set, you won't go wrong making your choice based on the selections in our eco-washer selections. If you are buying only a dryer or don't care whether your two units match, you can use the selections here to insure that you get the absolute best performance and reliability available on the market today.
Most of the dryers we've listed use a moisture sensor in the drum to determine the actual dryness of your clothes, as opposed to simpler units which only estimate dryness by sensing the temperature of the exhaust air. Even using a simple temperature-based moisture sensor can use up to ten percent less energy than simple timed dry cycle but using the precise moisture sensing feature can cut as much as fifteen percent off your utility bill. All our choices also have one or more cycles with a cool-down period, sometimes known as a "perma-press" cycle. In the last few minutes of the cycle, cool air, rather than heated air, is blown through the tumbling clothes to complete the drying process.
Using Your Dryer Wisely:
While there's not too much you can do to buy a more energy-efficient dryer, there are lots of things you can do to use much less than the 800 kWh a typical family spends drying its clothes each year. Here are a few useful tips that will let you make the most efficient use of your dryer:
- Set up your dryer in a heated space. Sticking it in a cold or damp basement or an unheated workspace will make the dryer work harder and less efficiently.
- Be sure your dryer is properly vented. If you vent the exhaust outside, use the straightest and shortest metal duct available. Most experts advise against using a flexible plastic duct because its undulating interior restricts the airflow and can be crushed.
- Check the outside dryer exhaust vent periodically. If it doesn't close tightly, replace it with one that does to keep the outside air from leaking in. This will reduce heating and cooling bills.
- Take care to clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation. Regularly clean the lint from vent hoods and the exhaust hose to maintain peak performance and avoid the risk of a dryer fire.
- Dry only full loads, as small loads are less economical; but do not overload the dryer.
- When drying, separate your clothes and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes.
- Dry two or more loads in a row, taking advantage of the dryer's retained heat.
- Use the cool-down cycle (perma-press cycle) to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
- And here's the ultimate money saving tip for drying clothes: Use a clothesline! Check out the selection in our “Best of the Rest” section to select a model that will help the heat of the sun dry your clothes to save both the environment and your energy bills.
Find the best energy efficient clothes dryers to save on your budget and the planet's resources. These best green clothing dryers offer dramatically lower energy, water and detergent needs.