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"Greening Your Home" - Clothes Dryer

Clothes dryers are the second largest energy users among appliances in the home and can account for 12% of electricity use in a typical household.1


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By following the tips below, you can begin to reduce your energy consumption and the effect your clothes dryer has on the environment.


Consider energy-efficiency when buying a new dryer - At present, EnergyStar does not rate clothes dryers. The energy consumption of most models are very similar, so checking the EnergyGuide ratings is the best way to compare the efficiency of different models. In addition, gas powered dryers with moisture sensors are considered more environmentally friendly.


Choose a dryer with a moisture sensor - You can reduce your dryer's energy use by choosing a model with a moisture sensor. This monitors the moisture of your laundry and will automatically adjust drying time. This saves energy and reduces wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying. Dryers with moisture sensors tend to be a bit more expensive than traditional dryers, but the amount of money saved in electricity or gas over the lifetime of the dryer should cover this expense.


Consider a Gas Dryer - Gas dryers generally cost more than electric models. However, depending on where you live, a gas dryer is usually less expensive to operate than an electric model. The cost of drying a load of laundry in a gas dryer will typically cost you half of what an electric dryer would cost.


Air-dry your laundry when possible - The very best way to save electricity drying your clothes is to avoid the dryer and air-dry your clothes. To air-dry your clothes, you will either need a clothesline (for outdoors or indoors) or a drying rack. By air-drying your clothes outside, not only will you extend the life of your clothing, but often your clothes will smell fresher. Additionally, air-drying, when done indoors, can raise the level of humidity in the home, reducing the need to use humidifiers.


Perform proper maintenance on your clothes dryer - Clothes dryers require some basic maintenance to run at their highest efficiency. To properly maintain your dryer, consider taking the following steps:

  • Be sure to clean your lint tray before every load;
  • Make sure the dryer exhaust is functioning properly;
  • Clean your moisture sensor;
  • Add a lint kit to your electric dryer if it does not already have one.

Dry similar items in one load - Different fabric types require different levels of drying. When dried together, the items requiring less time will be dry long before heavier fabrics, resulting in over- drying. A good approach to dividing your laundry is to collect light fabrics (synthetics and delicates), medium fabrics (cotton shirts) heavy fabrics (towels, jeans).


Dry full loads of laundry - By drying full loads of laundry, you use the electricity in a more efficient manner, because dryers use the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load. To avoid overloading your dryer (which will result in insufficient air flow), refer to the documentation that came with your dryer. Each dryer will have suggested full-load weights.


Use the proper setting for the type of laundry - Different types of fabric dry most efficiently at different durations and at different temperatures. By matching the cycle type (permanent press, regular, heavy dry), you can avoid over-drying and wasted electricity. By using permanent press (when possible), you can save electricity because it finishes the drying cycle at a lower temperature. This will also help increase the life of most fabrics.


Check the EnergyGuide Label - The EnergyGuide label provides you with a wealth of information about the energy consumption of the dryer. You can use this information to compare models and calculate the yearly operating expenses.


Use a spin dryer - A spin dryer is a machine that spins your clothes to remove excess water. After a few minutes in the spin dryer, you can then put your clothes in a regular clothes dryer. They will usually dry 30 minutes faster than without using a spin dryer.1


1How to Save Money on Water Heater Use.


Excerpted from the Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home by Caelus Consulting.




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"Greening Your Home" - Clothes Dryer:  Created on July 4th, 2011.  Last Modified on July 14th, 2011


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Other Articles by Caelus Consulting

About Caelus Consulting

Caelus ConsultingCaelus is a sustainability consulting firm that offers a diverse range of sustainability goods and services. These include sustainability diagnostics for homes and business, strategic consulting services, eLearning courses and green publications. It is the mission of Caelus to provide businesses and homeowners the tools and information they need to become more sustainable.

Caelus was founded in 2010 by Anthony Gilbreath and has offices in both Tulsa, OK in the United States and Northampton in the United Kingdom.  

Caelus also manages the Caelus Green Room sustainability discussion forum and the Caelus Consulting Blog. For more information, you can visit the Caelus website or email



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