by Paul Sanders
Next to large appliances like your refrigerator, washers and dryers can be the biggest energy users in your home. Choosing an energy-efficient dryer can significantly impact your energy usage, saving you money on your energy bills and reducing your household impact on the environment. Here are some tips for choosing energy-efficient dryers that can help make your home a bit greener.
Use the dryer timer. Choose a clothes dryer with manual timer settings. You can test out different drying times for different laundry loads. Lighter clothes will have shorter drying cycles, whereas heavier clothes will take longer to dry. By becoming a timer expert, you can reduce the operation time by several minutes per load. And those minutes can add up to big energy savings over time.
Use a dryer with a sensor. A dryer with a humidity sensor will automatically shut off when the clothes are sufficiently dry. This is a good alternative to using a timer.
Compare gas and electric dryers. When looked at from a household standpoint, electric dryers are typically more efficient. But a natural gas dryer is significantly more efficient if you consider the energy lost over the transmission lines to your house, as well as the less efficient power from coal-burning power plants. If you get your electricity from green sources, an electric dryer is the way to go. But if not, using gas may give you a smaller overall energy footprint.
Fit the machine to your load size. If you just do one or two small loads of laundry per week, you can save energy with a small dryer. But if you have large laundry loads, do fewer loads with a large machine rather than dry many small loads in a small dryer.
Cool-down settings save energy. A dryer with a cool-down setting will stop heating but still keep spinning, which uses less energy than a fully heated dryer cycle and helps reduce wrinkles in your clothes.