how much electricity does a tumble dryer use

Thrift Talk: How Much Electricity Does a Tumble Dryer Use?

Tumble dryers dry your clothes without needing the weather to be on your side. However, they come with a drawback. They are one of the more energy-hungry appliances in your home.

So, how much electricity does a tumble dryer use? A typical machine can cost about £100 in electricity a year if used twice a week. We’re going to see how you can work out how much electricity your machine uses and give you some valuable tips to try and reduce the costs of running a tumble dryer.

How Much Electricity Does an Average Tumble Dryer Use?

To work out the cost to run your tumble dryer, you need to find out how much electricity it uses per cycle.

When you buy new washing machines or tumble dryers, they will come with an energy rating label that rates your appliance from A to G. It shows how much energy in kilowatt-hours (kWh) it uses per 100 cycles on an eco-programme. Divide this number by 100, and you get the energy use per cycle.

If you have an older machine (or no longer have its technical information), you might want to purchase a plug-in energy meter that allows you to measure how much electricity your tumble dryer uses. These meters are not particularly expensive and are helpful to obtain the exact information even for a new appliance.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Tumble Dryer?

money in a clothes line

For example, the Energy Saving Trust suggests that an average tumble dryer uses about 4.5 kWh per cycle. You can use the exact information from your tumble dryer’s energy label or an energy meter.

The suggested average standard rate electricity cost is 20.06p per kWh. Check your energy bills to get the current price to use.

Tumble Dryer Energy Usage

Example calculation: 4.5kWh x 20.6p = a cost 92.7p per cycle 

Using our example, running a tumble dryer twice a week will cost you £96.41 per year (104 x 92.7p).

Many factors will affect how much electricity your tumble dryer uses. Some are clear, such as its energy efficiency. However, the type of clothes you are drying, load sizes and even where you put the appliance in your home can also affect how big an electricity bill you’ll get.

Which Type Is the Most Energy Efficient Tumble Dryer?

The energy label makes it easy to check the energy efficiency of individual dryers. However, when you are thinking about buying a new appliance, you can get a simple idea of how much electricity a tumble dryer uses by comparing which type of dryer it is.

You can find three main types of tumble dryers, and they can be broadly ordered in energy efficiency as follows:

Most Efficient Design – Heat Pump Dryer

Medium Efficiency – Condenser Dryer

Least Efficient – Vented Dryer

Unfortunately, although they are the most efficient, heat pump dryers are also the most expensive to purchase. However, while they’re a more costly investment, they will save energy after a few years compared to cheaper machines, especially if you use them fairly often.

How Can You Reduce a Tumble Dryer’s Running Costs?

You can control tumble dryer running costs by carefully choosing and using your machine. It’s easy to rack up the electricity bills, so let’s look at ways to use the least energy possible.

1. Upgrade to a more energy-efficient model.

If you have an old appliance, it might be worth upgrading. New designs use considerably less electricity and have features like moisture sensors that detect when your clothes are dry. They only run as long as necessary rather than following a timer.

A 2018 study suggested you could save around £750 in electricity over the machine’s life by switching to a highly efficient dryer. With current energy costs being so high, in reality, the savings will be much more.

2. Get a tumble dryer that’s suitably sized for your family.

If you’re looking for a new dryer, get one that has the correct average load capacity for your needs. If you get a dryer with too low a maximum load, you’ll run it multiple times to dry your washing and waste electricity.

Similarly, getting a considerably larger dryer than your full load needs will also unnecessarily use energy.

3. Spin dry before tumble drying.

Running the spin cycle on your washing machine uses less energy than tumbling. Don’t be afraid to run your spin cycle twice to get as much water out as possible before transferring your loads to the dryer. This can save energy over time.

4. Always dry full loads.

Tumble dryers will work most efficiently when they are fully loaded. Using your tumble dryer with just a few pieces of clothing means that the cost of energy per item is much higher than necessary.

However, ensure that you don’t overload the machine. This will reduce its drying efficiency and use more electricity.

5. Use your dryer in a warm room.

All tumble dryers use electricity to make warm air to dry your clothes. If the machine is in a cold room, it must use more electricity to get the air to the required temperature. Housing the dryer in a warm room makes it more energy efficient as it has to heat the air less.

6. Dry similar fabrics together.

Mixing fabrics means that some might be in the dryer longer than they need to be as they dry at different rates. Modern machines have programs for different materials, and using them means that the dryer will be working at its most efficient.

7. Close zippers and fastenings.

Before you load your machine, close up zippers and fasteners. This keeps clothes separate and stops smaller items from getting inside larger ones. A great example is if you dry duvet covers. Make sure you close the poppers so nothing can get inside and stay damp.

8. Maintain your tumble dryer regularly.

Maintaining your dryer is essential to keep it running at its highest efficiency. If applicable, clean the lint filter to keep the maximum airflow. Heat pump dryers have a secondary air filter to clean, and they, along with condenser models, have a water tank that needs emptying.

You should also follow the service recommendations for your machine and have a professional look after it as required to keep it in peak condition.

9. Dry outside when you can.

It’s worth remembering that just because you have a tumble dryer, you don’t have to use it all the time. If you have a lovely sunny day, dry your clothes outside. In this way, you’ll save energy.

Start Saving Up!

As we’ve considered how much electricity a tumble dryer uses, we’ve seen that its energy consumption can vary according to the design of the dryer, its energy efficiency rating and how often you use it.

You can make considerable energy savings by choosing one of the modern, energy-efficient tumble dryers and following our tips to get the most from it.

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