How bad are tumble dryers?

Tumble dryers are energy intensive – we all know that. It is one of the few appliances we ask about as part of a Green Deal Assessment, above items such as computers, TVs, Dish washers and a number of other devices. Since they use lots of energy, it goes without saying they are going to be expensive to run – but just how expensive?

Cost of running a tumble dryer?

Like many white goods, dryers come with an energy rating from A to G. A highly efficient dryer will cost on average around £30 a year to run, compared to over £100 for a C rated dryer. The average dryer on the market today will cost £50-60/year to run.

The price of a dryer varies greatly, and price on its own does not dictate efficiency. What is clear that if you expect to use your dryer regularly, getting an efficient one is a no brainer. Even saving £50 a year will pay for the cost of the dryer within its life time. That being said, if you can survive without a dryer in the first place, things are going to be cheaper!

The dilemma of how to dry

It is a tricky one – we are told not to use a tumble dryer because of the energy consumed – but then we only have 2 options: To dry clothes on a clothes line, or to dry inside on a rack or radiators. With the British weather being what it is, the clothes line is not always a possibility, and that means creating lots of condensation in the home. Condensation from drying clothes can cause damp problems and isn’t particularly healthy.

clothes drying

We recommend planning your washing a little more carefully and trying to get your washing out on the line if at all possible. If tomorrow looks like it’s going to be warm and sunny, and today is a washout, don’t do your washing today and end up using the dryer or the radiators!

If you are drying indoors, open your windows to let the moisture out. This is really important as otherwise you will end up having damp problems and create an unhealthy atmosphere in the home.

Top tips to keep help lower your dryer costs

  • It uses less energy to spin water out of clothes than it does to dry them in a dryer. Of course, you can’t get the clothes completely dry using a spin cycle, but it is worth spinning for a bit longer than you would normally if you are going to use a dryer to dry them.
  • Try to do fill your dryer up to capacity rather than doing lots of smaller loads – this uses a lot less energy.
  • Make sure your clothes are separated and not tangled up when you load the dryer. Allowing the air to circulate and get to all the surfaces of the clothes.
  • Try to put similar materials together in a load. Lots of different types of clothes will have different drying times, so ensuring you pair the right items, makes the cycle more efficient.
  • Make sure you site the dryer in a warmer part of the home, rather than a garage or utility room. This means the dryer doesn’t have to work as hard to warm the air up.
  • Make sure the air inlet is free from obstruction and clean the lint filter after every cycle.

Tumble dryers are energy guzzlers. Whatever model you get, if you use it regularly it will put your bills up significantly. So try to use it as little as possible and follow those tips if you have to use one!