what is a heat pump tumble dryer

Laundry Tech: What Is a Heat Pump Tumble Dryer?

Tumble dryers are quick and convenient for drying clothes. However, several types are available, and it can be confusing to know which is best. For example, what is a heat pump tumble dryer?

Heat pump dryers use a unique method to generate and recycle the air that dries your clothes. They are extremely energy efficient and can go anywhere in your home. Read on to discover more about these appliances.

How Does a Heat Pump Dryer Work?

child in a laundry room

Like any good tumble dryer, a heat pump dryer dries your wet clothes by passing hot air through the drum.

So far, so simple, but what makes this new type of dryer different? How does a heat pump tumble dryer work?

Heat pump technology has created a new design of tumble dryers that generate and recycle hot air in a completely new way.

Unlike vented dryers that heat their air continually and then blow it outside via a vent tube, a heat pump tumble dryer has a recycled closed air circuit, making these machines much more energy efficient.

The Heat Pump Dryers Circuits

A heat pump dryer contains two closed circuits. One for holding the air and the other for the coolant that removes moisture from the air exiting the drum and then reheats the air going back in. 

This sounds quite complicated, but it is relatively simple to understand how heat pump technology works if we break it down starting with the air circuit:

  • The fan blows heated air into the tumble dryer, absorbing moisture from your laundry.
  • The wet air leaves the drum and travels through several filters to catch debris.
  • The damp air enters the evaporator, which cools it, causing all the moisture to be released and captured in the condensed water tank.
  • The partially cooled air moves into the condenser and is then reheated and sent back to the drum.

The coolant circuit heats the air in the condenser before entering the dryer and then cools the exiting air in the evaporator to remove the water.

What Are the Advantages of a Heat Pump Dryer?

Now we’ve looked at what is a heat pump tumble dryer. What are the pros and cons of owning heat pump tumble dryers?

Lower Running Costs

The heat pump technology results in a tumble dryer that uses less energy than traditional designs. Unlike vented or compressor models that continually heat new air, a heat pump dryer can give you nearly 50% lower energy bills by reusing the heat energy.

Because of the high running costs, many families often try not to use their vented dryer. With a heat pump dryer, you don’t need to be so worried about what it’s costing you each time.

Environmentally Friendly

Because heat pump dryers have significantly lower energy consumption, they are also better for the environment. So not only do you reduce your energy costs, but you’ll also be helping reduce emissions.

Better Protection for Your Clothes

Heat pump dryers use a lower drying temperature than vented models, which can help your clothes last longer.

In addition, many heat pump dryers have a moisture sensor that optimises the maximum temperature reached to dry your clothes in a more consistent and less abrasive way.

Can Be Installed Practically Anywhere

Because the warm air is recycled inside heat pump dryers, unlike vented tumble dryers, they don’t need to be installed next to an outside wall to use an external vent or window.

You can install heat pump tumble dryers practically anywhere you want as they don’t even need to be plumbed to water pipes. They also don’t generate significant heat like vented or condenser models and don’t need to go somewhere with good ventilation.

The only thing to remember is that you need to empty the water reservoir after using the machine. Hence, it’s good to have it somewhere reasonably close to a drain so you don’t have to carry the tank a long way.

Are There Any Disadvantages to a Heat Pump Dryer?

Nothing is perfect, and there are a couple of negative points for heat pump dryers.

Higher Initial Cost

While they are falling in price, heat pump models usually cost more than vented and condenser tumble dryers.

However, many people look at the machine as an investment and save money thanks to the lower electricity bills.

May Dry Clothes Slower

Because they work at a lower temperature (typically ​​50°C, compared with 70-75°C for a standard condenser dryer), heat pump tumble dryers may take slightly longer to dry your clothes.

However, with timer functions and moisture sensors, many people believe that heat pump dryers give a better drying quality if you’re not in a rush.

Heat Pump Tumble Dryer FAQs

Do heat pump tumble dryers need a vent?

No, heat pump tumble dryers don’t need a vent. The moisture removed from your laundry is collected in a tank for you to empty.

Do heat pump dryers need plumbing?

No, heat pump tumble dryers don’t need plumbing to your water pipes, a drain, or a vent. The dryer collects water in a tank, which you can empty in the nearest sink or drain.

Heat pump vs condenser dryer – what are the differences?

Have you ever wondered the difference between a heat pump dryer and a condenser tumble dryer? They both use a condenser to collect the water in a tank for you to empty, so you don’t need to connect them to a drain or vent.

However, when choosing a heat pump or condenser dryer, the most significant difference is their energy efficiency. Condenser dryers don’t recycle the air and need to heat new air constantly, which means they use more energy.

A condenser tumble dryer heats the warm air to 70-75°C compared to the heat pump tumble dryer, which reaches 50°C. This means that clothes dry faster in a compressor tumble dryer.

Compressor tumble dryers emit a lot more heat compared to heat pump dryers. Accordingly, they need to go into a well-ventilated room. Otherwise, they can cause condensation.

What about vented tumble dryers?

Vent dryers are usually the cheapest to buy and dry your clothes the quickest. However, they are the least energy-efficient. They must also be placed next to an outside wall where you can fit a vent or near a window that the vent hose can go through while the machine is running.

Is It the Right One for You?

As we’ve looked at what is a heat pump tumble dryer, we’ve seen that they are the most energy-efficient tumble dryer you can buy.

Heat pump tumble dryers are eco-friendly, kinder to your clothes and can be installed almost anywhere in your home.

While they can cost more than other dryers, many people find that the advantages make heat pump tumble dryers well worth the investment.

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