Clothes dryers are a great convenience, shrinking the time it takes to complete a full laundry cycle. However, they also consume a great deal of energy, adding to household energy bills and emissions. That is why choosing a dryer carefully, and using it wisely, is an important consideration for households looking to reduce their costs and carbon footprint.
Household clothes dryers must meet mandatory energy efficiency requirements.
- Clothes dryers need to comply with Minimum Energy Performance Standards.
- Clothes dryers are required to carry an Energy Rating Label.
The Energy Rating Label
The more stars, the more savings.
The Energy Rating Label helps you make informed choices when buying a clothes dryer. It provides two important pieces of information about the appliance, the:
- star rating
- estimated energy consumption.
The star rating shows the energy efficiency of an appliance. It allows you to compare the energy efficiency of products that have similar capacity and features. The more stars, the less energy it uses and the cheaper it is to run.
The energy consumption is how much electricity the appliance is estimated to use in a year. This can help you predict the running costs.
Learn more about reading the label and estimating running costsVisit Understand the Energy Rating Label
How to choose the right clothes dryer for you
Start with size
When purchasing a clothes dryer, the first step is to determine the capacity that will best meet your needs.
Capacity is the first important consideration in choosing a clothes dryer. The capacity of clothes dryers is measured in kilograms and represents the amount of dry clothes it can hold.
To find out the right capacity for you, stand on your bathroom scales and record the weight. Then pick up a full basket of laundry and check the difference. Or check the capacity of your current washing machine. This will give you a starting point for the capacity of machine you should look for.
Remember buying bigger is not always better. Larger machines usually use more electricity and more water, which means they will cost you more money in the long run.
Choose the type of dryer
Different dryer types have pros and cons.
There are four main types of dryers available on the market.
- Vented dryers — These are the simplest and cheapest types of dryers. While they are cheaper to buy, they are expensive to run, and so best suited to people who only use dryers for emergencies. They pump hot, humid air into the surrounding space, so are best suited to homes with good ventilation, otherwise the walls end up wet. The National Construction Code requires that where venting clothes dryers are installed, they are discharged (either directly or through a shaft or duct) to outside air.
- Condenser dryers — These condense moisture from the exhaust air and collect it or drain it away. The excess water, once cooled, can be used to water plants, reducing household water use. Condenser dryers are usually larger and quieter than vented machines, but more expensive and heavier. While they have a longer cycle time, they are gentler on clothes.
- Heat pump condenser dryers — These are more expensive but much more energy efficient as they capture and reuse their heat energy.
- Gas clothes dryers — These use natural gas instead of electricity as a heat source. They have a higher purchase price and may require modifications to your laundry to use them.
Compare energy efficiency
It is important to compare products of the same capacity.
Once you have decided on the size and type of clothes dryer you want, you can use the star ratings on the Energy Rating Label to compare the energy efficiency of similar sized dryers.
You must compare products with similar capacities because the star rating considers the capacity of the appliance. For example, a 10kg clothes dryer with a five star energy rating will use more energy than a 6kg clothes dryer with a five star rating.
Seek professional advice
Experts can help you make the right choice.
As with any large purchase, it’s a good idea to discuss your options with a number of suppliers or installers so they can advise on the clothes dryer that may be appropriate for you. They will also be able to advise on running costs and placement of the appliance to improve its energy efficiency.
Want to save on clothes dryer running costs?View our tips for using clothes dryers efficiently