Cutting back on both energy use and reliance on fossil fuels are driving sales of heat pump dryers in the U.S. Could a heat pump dryer be right for you?
Heat Pump Dryers Explained
Working in a closed loop system, a heat pump dryer continuously recycles the air that dries your clothes. While it has a tumbler just like a regular clothes dryer, it works quite differently.
In a conventional dryer, hot air is blown over the clothes and then released through a vent. With a heat pump dryer, the air is warmed in the tumbler and condenses the moisture into water with evaporative cooling. A tube then drains the water.
There are a couple of ways the water can be drained through the tube. You can either have the drain hose directly discard the water into a nearby sink or drain pipe, manually drain the water tank, or install a device that allows it to use the clothes washer drain to remove water.
One of the characteristics that so many folks appreciate most about heat pump dryers is that they don’t need ventilation, which means they can be placed anywhere in the home.
Pros of Heat Pump Dryers
There are several benefits to owning a heat pump dryer.
Ventless: Ventless dryers do offer a few advantages. There is no need to drill a hole into the wall; zero risk of lint building up in vents and becoming a fire hazard; ventless means they can go anywhere - making them particularly great for apartments; and stackable heat pump dryers save space.
Costs Less to Operate: Energy Star reports 28% more efficiency in heat pump dryers over conventional dryers, making them a great cost-saving option.
Better for the Environment: With less energy use, heat pump dryers are better for the environment. Remember, gas dryers rely on fossil fuels.
Better for Your Clothes: Heat pumps dryers run at lower heats than conventional, which helps clothes last longer.
Cons of Heat Pump Dryers
So what are the drawbacks to owning a heat pump dryer?
More Expensive Up Front: Heat pump dryers often cost more than a conventional dryer, but thankfully they do save enough on energy bills to make up for it.
Longer Drying Time: Since they run at lower heats, heat pump dryers take longer to dry a load of laundry. This means planning accordingly and adjusting expectations. We suggest pairing your heat pump dryer with an energy star rated front-load washer. These remove much more water during the spin cycle, providing maximum efficiency.
Maintenance: Heat pump dryers still produce lint. Without a vent, most lint is caught in filters that will need cleaning, just like a regular dryer. Some lint is also captured by the evaporator coils and condenser, so these also require periodic cleaning.
Less Capacity: Currently, most heat pump dryers are generally smaller than conventional dryers. Manufacturers are working to change this, so more larger ones will be available in the near future.
A heat pump dryer’s lower cost and energy savings combined with the flexibility of being ventless makes it a great choice for homeowners.
If you are considering replacing your gas dryer with a heat pump dryer, you will need a dedicated circuit added to your electrical panel. A.F. Smith Electric’s professional team is ready to help!