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Energy-Saving Dryers, Electric Dryers
With the exception of refrigerators, clothes dryers consume more energy than any other household appliance. While the efficiency of different refrigerators and washers varies greatly, and some energy-saving models earn Energy Star labels, there's no such thing as an Energy Star dryer.
Electric Dryers vs. Gas Dryers.Dryers can be divided into two types: gas and electric. Electric dryers are the most common, because the laundry areas of most homes and apartments are configured for electricity. Electric dryers tend to cost $50 to $100 less than their gas-powered counterparts, making them more affordable in the short run. However, gas models yield higher energy and cost savings in the long run. According to the California Energy Commission, drying a typical load of laundry costs 30 to 40 cents with an electric dryer and 15 to 20 cents with an energy-saving gas dryer. While expert estimates vary, you can safely expect to save $50 to $100 per year on utilities. If your laundry room has only electric hookups, however, you're probably wise to stick with an electric dryer. The cost of adding a gas line and the appropriate venting would likely negate any energy savings from a gas dryer.
Most dryers, including all of our picks, are sold in both electric and gas configurations. Along with the MEDC300XW electric dryer, Maytag offers the Maytag Centennial MGDC300XW gas dryer (starting at $529, Amazon). The Admiral AED4475TQ electric dryer has a gas-powered counterpart, the Admiral AGD4475TQ (Starting at $449). The Amana NGD4500VQ (starting at $427, Amazon) and GE GTDX100GMWW (starting at $457, Amazon) are the gas versions of the Amana NED4500VQ and GE GTDX100EMWW.
Reviews make little mention of any difference in performance with gas vs. electric dryers. The type of energy that runs the machine seems to have no effect on how dry clothes get, how long they take to dry, how dependable a dryer is, or how long it lasts.
Dryer Lint Trap.One way to make any dryer more efficient is by thoroughly cleaning the lint trap, dryer hose, and venting system. A lint-clogged dryer takes longer to dry clothes, often requiring two or more cycles, which wastes energy and generates higher utility bills. Regularly servicing your dryer may also prevent you from junking a machine you believe to be faulty, when in fact it just needs a good cleaning.
Dryer lint traps have a big impact not only on energy efficiency but also on safety. Lint accumulation is a leading cause of dryer fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, so it's critical that the filter be easily accessible and simple to clean.
Dryer lint traps are typically situated in one of two places -- either on top of the unit near the controls or in the front of the inside, directly behind the dryer door. Reviews we read indicate that consumers have strong opinions about which location is more convenient. Some consumers like having the filter on top so they don't have to stoop to access it. Many say these traps are harder to clear, however, and allow lint to fall down into the machine before the dryer lint trap is fully removed for cleaning. Other users appreciate having the lint trap right inside the dryer door and say it reminds them to purge the fluff after every cycle.
It's just as important to remember to clean your dryer's venting system. Moist lint often accumulates in the tubing that connects the unit with the outside air. This lint blocks airflow and is highly flammable once it dries. The longer your ventilation pipeline, the greater the risk of a problem. In other words, if your dryer vents through an outside wall like a garage, you're less likely to have problems than if your dryer is located in an interior room, such as a bedroom or closet. One user posting at Home Depot ran into problems with his GE GTDX100EMWW dryer, which wasn't powerful enough to clear lint from a circuitous duct system.
Wherever your appliance resides, experts recommend inspecting and cleaning the dryer vent annually. Often, you can easily do this yourself (how-to guides are readily available online). If your ventilation ductwork isn't easily accessible or repairs are needed, you'll need to have the vent inspected and serviced professionally.
Don't Bother Cheap Dryers
Reviewers enthuse about the 6.5 cubic feet of space in this electric dryer but are less impressed with its other attributes. Consumer products experts give it a failing grade for poor drying performance and call its auto-dry sensor unreliable. Frequent user complaints of faulty timers and burnt-out heating elements also raise a red flag. While several users seem satisfied they've gotten their money's worth, consumers might want to give this model a pass. Read more »
Kenmore 6002 Review
Roper RED4440VQ Review
Amana NED4500VQ Review
GE GTDX100EMWW Review
Maytag MEDC300XW Review
Admiral AED4475TQ Review
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