New Dryer Models Offer Improvements in Energy Efficiency
Choosing a reliable and efficient dryer is key to having a properly maintained wardrobe. A good dryer handles everything from socks to comforters and keeps clothes looking sharp and wrinkle-free.
There have been several technological advances in the past few years that have improved the performance and energy efficiency of dryers. Some of the most beneficial additions include moisture sensors, steam tumble cycles, and improved heating systems.
A general rule of thumb in the past had been to purchase a dryer with twice the capacity as that of your washer, so the amount of clothes washed in two loads could be dried in one. With recent technological advances and increased energy efficiency of newer models, however, that rule is now somewhat antiquated. The new dryers are so large and efficient that large loads can be handled with ease and in much less time.
As you shop for a new dryer, consider:
• How many loads do you dry per week?
• How much available space do you have for a new dryer?
• Will the dryer be placed near a living area where quiet operation will be necessary?
• Do you want the dryer placed next to the washer or stacked?
Dryer Types, Features and Performance
The latest dryer models have newly developed heating sources and come with many new features.
Most traditional dryers are front loading with standard size drums that hold average size loads with regular spin speeds and gentle tumbling action. Stackable models are available and work well in small spaces. Some models offer a pedestal that raises the height of the unit and makes it easy to load and unload while providing an extra storage drawer for laundry supplies.
Most dryers use electricity or gas as a heat source. Electric dryers require a dedicated three or four-prong 240 V outlet. The electricity heats the air in the dryer, which dries your clothes. They are generally less expensive than gas models of similar size and features. Depending on the price of electricity, electric dryers may be more expensive to operate over time.
Gas dryers use either natural gas or propane as a heat source. Gas units are more expensive than electric dryers, but depending on the price of gas, they may be cheaper to operate over time. Gas units require a dedicated gas hookup. If one doesn’t exist in the space where you plan to keep your dryer, it will be necessary to hire a professional to install the line.
One of the most popular new features available in new dryer models today is steam cycles. Steam penetrates and moistens clothes, which results in a softening effect that reduces wrinkles. Steam also reaches high temperatures, which refreshes clothes, reduces static and eliminates odor.
New dryers also offer different moisture sensor options. The best is an electronic design that actually comes in contact with the clothes during the drying cycle to determine their moisture level. As wet clothes move through the drying cycle, their electrical resistance to the drum is measured. While they are in the cycle, the moisture decreases and the electrical resistance increases until they are totally dry.
Less expensive models featuring automatic moisture sensors are not as accurate because moisture levels are estimated based on exhaust air temperatures as clothes move through the drying cycle. Once a certain exhaust air temperature is reached, the sensor shuts down the cycle.
Other sensors are designed to monitor air flow in the ducts. These sensors work to ensure that proper air flow and drying efficiency are maintained.
Reverse Tumble Drums
Another excellent new feature that helps eliminate wrinkles is the reverse tumble drum. These drums change direction every few minutes to keep the clothes from tangling and wrinkling. The free fall rotations enable a quicker drying time; reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.
Some models offer an option where the drum tumbles every few minutes after the clothes are dry to keep them wrinkle-free, until they are removed from the dryer.
Stainless Steel Drums
Stainless steel drums are more durable than plastic or porcelain drums and won’t chip, crack or scratch. They also have the smoothest finish and handle longer drying cycles better.
If you plan to position your dryer near living areas, such as kitchens, bedrooms or living rooms, consider a dryer that offers quiet operating levels. Positioning your dryer in a warm space will help the machine perform better by enabling it to warm quicker and dry clothes more efficiently.