When you build a new home or remodel your laundry area, you must choose whether you want a gas dryer or an electric dryer. Sometimes, if you didn’t build your home, the choice was already made for you, and you are stuck with whichever dryer fits the hookups in your home. If you are building or remodeling, you will have the luxury of deciding if you should get a gas dryer or an electric dryer.
When contractors build or remodel a home, they hear this question frequently. Many people look to their contractor to tell them which one is better. They both have their pros and cons, and there is no “one home fits all” answer. To complicated matters further, there are 3 different types of electric dryer, along with only one type of gas dryer.
Both gas and electric dryers use an electric motor to rotate the drum that causes the clothes to spin. They also both contain an electric fan that helps circulate air. With both types, you’ll need to take the clothes out as soon as they’re dry, and before they’re cool, in order to have the least amount of ironing ahead of you. So, what are the differences?
1. Vented Electric Dryers
The most common type of clothes dryer is the vented electric type. It is also the most basic; you will not find a lot of fancy features here. While the initial purchase price is the cheapest compared to the others, their operating expenses are higher. Also, using this style often results in mugginess in your laundry area as a result of their inefficiency in dealing with moist air.
2. Heat Pump Condenser Electric Dryers
In our pursuit of more energy efficient appliances, we have begun to bring back an older form of dryer that operates on a heat pump condenser. This is the most expensive dryer to buy but costs approximately 63% less to operate. While it will still take several years of operation to offset this higher price, it is a great option for those concerned about their energy consumption. Because it does not vent any heated air or water vapor, this dryer style does not affect the heat or humidity in your laundry room.
3. Condenser Electric Dryers
A condenser electric dryer is more expensive than a vented dryer but cheaper than a heat pump condenser dryer. A regular condenser dryer recycles the hot air by removing the water vapor from it and using it to dry the clothing even further.
In order to generate drying heat, gas dryers use a gas burner. At the beginning of the cycle, a sensor in the motor ignites the pilot flame once the motor is at full speed. After this pilot light is ignited, there is another sensor that causes the gas valve to open. An electric fan is responsible for circulating the air heated by this burner which is blown into the drum to dry your clothes. Don’t forget to add a dryer sheet for extra softness.
A thermostat is built in to monitor the temperature; it works just like the thermostat in your home. Once the temperature is as high as desired, the gas burner shuts off. When the temperature drops by 30 degrees, the gas burner comes back on again. A gas dryer requires a 110V outlet as well as a gas line. If your home uses liquid propane as opposed to oil or natural gas, and you still want a gas dryer, you will need to have the dryer converted to work with your gas, which can cost up to $300.
Despite the fact that you now know how both types of dryers work, you might still be wondering which one you should choose. For comparison, a gas dryer is initially up to $100 more expensive than a vented electric dryer, while heat pump dryers are up to $300 more than gas dryers. When you purchase a gas dryer, you will have to hire somebody to hook up the gas line, which can cost you another few hundred dollars.
A vented electric dryer costs between 30 cents and 40 cents per load in energy consumption. Both heat pump dryers and gas dryers are about half that cost, at 15 to 20 cents per load. The average family, who washes one load of laundry per day, can save $73 a year by choosing a gas or heat pump dryer as opposed to a vented electric dryer. With these calculations, it will take 3-4 years of operation to offset the higher purchase price, and even longer if you do laundry less frequently.