A clothes dryer is a valuable addition to any home, especially for people who frequently need to wash large loads of laundry. Although some people prefer to sun-dry their clothes, this method may not be viable in the winter. A machine dryer allows you to dry huge loads in a day, no matter the weather. But before you buy a dryer, it’s important to collect essential information, so you can choose the appliance that best suits your needs. Here is a detailed guide to get you started.
Table of Contents
- Types of Dryers
- Vented Dryers
- Ventless Dryers
- Important Dryer Features
- How Does a Dryer Work?
- Tips for Using a Dryer Correctly
- Summing Up
Types of Dryers
The type of dryer you choose will depend on your space, budget, needs, and personal preferences. There are three general dryer types: top-loading, front-loading, and stackable dryer-washer combos. As the name implies, front-loading dryers have their doors at the front. They have a higher spin speed, and the tumbling action allows them to extract more water from the clothes during a cycle, reducing drying time. Manufacturers have also enhanced these machines with advanced features to protect delicate fabrics and provide easier operation.
Top-loading dryers have a large capacity and are less expensive than front-loading models. Top loaders are easier to load, especially for people with back problems. They are perfect for people living in tight spaces. Washer-dryer combos are easier to install and don’t require ventilation. However, they can only dry half the load of a standard dryer. There are also stackable dryers that you can place on a washing machine to save space. Stackable dryers can only dry a small volume of laundry, but they consume less energy than regular ones.
Among the three general dryer types, there are also subtypes that can be organized into two major categories: vented and ventless. Here’s a look at these dryer types and how they work.
A vented dryer is your best pick if you want an affordable, widely available option. They have a vent or hose to expel the hot air once it becomes too moist to dry clothes. If you opt for a vented dryer, you must use it in a well-ventilated space. Operating it in a tightly enclosed space can lead to moisture problems and fire hazards. Vented dryers are a bit cheaper and have a higher capacity than other types. However, they tend to be noisier and consume more energy.
Gas dryers are vented dryers that use natural gas to heat the air in the drum. They use up less energy and dry clothes faster but cost more upfront. Besides the vent, a gas dryer requires a gas hookup.
Electric dryers use electricity for power. Their up-front cost is slightly lower than that of gas dryers, but they use more energy.
- Intuitive touch screen responds to light taps of your finger. Functional 3 modes and 3 heat levels (air dry/medium/high) available: Adaptive technology adjusts drying time based on your loads for improved fabric care; Selectable drying time from 0-200mins for both bulky loads and delicates.
- Sensors detect moisture levels and automatically shut off when clothes are dry, which not only saves energy, but also protects clothes fabric. For safety concern, this machine automatically stops when opened if you want to add more clothes.
- Go about your day uninterrupted with the whisper silent functionality of this dryer, allowing you to dry your clothes at any time and enjoy a precise timer option with the intelligent touch panel to select a customized drying time based on the load of laundry.
- Save space in your small laundry room, apartment, dorm and more with this compact yet powerful clothes dryer that can be neatly stacked on a washer, mounted on the wall or left stand alone.
- Outfitted with the most durable stainless steel drum with built-in filter net to collect lint, pet hair and more making it easy to clean. 14 lbs capacity. Sentern Clothes Dryer Dimensions: 23.6” x 21.5” x 27.5”.”.
Steam dryers use hot, moist air to dry clothes. This option will require a water source and exhaust tubing for ventilation. When the steam penetrates fabrics, it helps to remove wrinkles.
Of course, ventless dryers don’t require vents. They can retain the heat and moisture within the machine. Ventless dryers are more efficient than vented models, but they are smaller and can only dry only about half as much laundry as a vented dryer. This option suits people living in small apartments or condos that may not allow them to install a vent.
You may be wondering, “How does a ventless dryer work?” A condenser dryer draws cool air from the surroundings, uses a heating element to raise its temperature, and then sends it to the drum to dry the clothes. Rather than expelling the moist air, the machine extracts vapor, cools it into water, and pumps it out. It then reheats the dry air and sends it back to the drum. These dryers don’t restrict you in terms of placement, but they are too heavy for wall mounting. Compared to vented models, these dryers use slightly lower temperatures, which protects your clothes but results in longer drying time and increased energy use.
Heat Pump Condenser Dryers
A heat pump dryer is a more advanced ventless option that uses a refrigerant system with hot and cold coils. This dryer draws air from the surroundings and then sends it to the heat pump. The cold coils condense the moisture, and the hot coils heat the air, which recirculates back to the drum. Heat pump dryers don’t emit heat or humidity into the laundry room, so they can work in a windowless space. They are energy efficient but more expensive.
Important Dryer Features
In order to dry your clothes, dryers use basic components that the various types have in common. Modern dryers also have advanced features and systems that simplify the drying process and improve the results. Some common dryer features include:
- Blower: The blower is the air-dry feature on the dryer that controls airflow. It draws cool, dry air into the machine and blows out moist hot air through the vents.
- Drive motor: This is the part that rotates the dryer drum.
- Baffles: These fin-like elements in the drum fluff up the laundry.
- Thermostat: A thermostat senses the dryer’s air temperature and shuts off the heating element when required to protect the machine from overheating.
- Drum rack: Some dryers come with detachable racks to heat-dry delicate fabrics without tumbling them.
- Drum light: The drum light illuminates the inside of the dryer to give you a better view of the laundry, so you can grab every piece when emptying the machine, even in dark areas.
- Steam mode: The steam cycle eliminates creases and folds in clothes, making ironing easier.
- Wi-Fi connectivity: You can connect some dryers with a smartphone application to monitor the machine remotely. Others even integrate with smart home systems, which allows you to set up special drying programs and monitor the process.
- Digital display: Modern dryers have a stylish digital display with a touch pad for easier operation. You can use this to set the time and temperature and even activate the child lock.
- Noise dampening: Some dryer models have a noise-dampening feature to eliminate unwanted structural noise.
- Lint filter: A lint filter traps lint during a cycle.
- Moisture sensor: Machines with a moisture sensor automatically shut off when the clothes are dry enough to prevent over-drying.
How Does a Dryer Work?
Dyers mainly draw off moisture from damp clothes. This drying method has some benefits. It gives your clothes a soft feel and removes lint. All dyers have a heating element that helps speed up the drying process. Electric dryers have coils similar to those of a water heater. When you power the dryer, electricity heats the coils, and the unit uses a blower to move the warmed air into the dryer drum.
On the other hand, the heating source for the gas dryers is either propane or natural gas. These options have a pilot light that ignites the gas to produce heat. The metal plates in the heated dryer conduct the heat, and blowers move the heated air to the wet laundry.
So, how do dryer cycles function? The drying process begins when the dryer sucks in cold air from the outside through a big hole, usually at the front. Once the air enters the machine, a fan pushes it to the heating element. A thermostat turns on the heating element and begins warming the cold air. You can select the high- or low-temperature setting.
From the heating element, the hot air moves to the dryer drum. The drum has a belt connected to a motor that tumbles it to move the clothes around. As the drum rotates, it moves the wet clothes up and down. The movement allows hot air circulation, which draws out moisture from the clothes. Without tumbling, the clothes would lie in the drum in a huge pile, limiting air circulation.
The hot air absorbs the moisture drawn from the damp clothes and becomes very humid. Before the humid air passes out of the machine, it goes through a lint filter that catches dust and fluff. For vented dryers, the moist air passes through a vent pipe that opens to a roof cap or exhaust hood outside. Ventless dryers absorb moisture from the air, condense it, and drain it through a drainpipe. They then reheat the air and recycle it into the drum. This process repeats until the clothes dry completely.
A dryer will need constant airflow while in operation. It must continuously draw in the fresh air and vent moisture-laden air. It’s important to keep the vent free from debris, which can impede airflow and lower the machine’s efficiency.
Tips for Using a Dryer Correctly
Before you put your clothes in a dryer, check whether they have the tumble dry symbol. You must also use the dryer correctly to maximize results. Here are some tips to follow.
Read the User Manual
Start by reviewing the manufacturer’s guide to know what different settings mean. Pay attention to the instructions for use outlined in the user manual. Failure to observe the instructions can damage your clothes or even the dryer.
Untangle Wet Clothes
After washing, shake each piece of laundry, untangling the items to ensure they dry completely. Untangling the clothes also helps prevent wrinkles and reduces drying time.
Check the Fabric Care Instructions
Read the clothing label for care instructions. This will help you determine if the clothes are safe to dry in a machine and if so, which setting to use. While the instructions may vary, a square with a circle inside means you can tumble dry the clothes. A crossed-out square means that you shouldn’t tumble dry the clothing. Dots inside the tumble-drying sign indicate the temperature requirement. One dot stands for low heat, two for medium, and three for high heat. No dot means that you can tumble dry the fabric at any temperature.
Properly Load the Dryer
Place the clothes in the dryer in different loads. Separate delicate items from rough clothing like jeans and denim. Put bras in a mesh bag before throwing them into the dryer to prevent them from hooking onto other fabrics. Mesh bags also protects sweaters from pulls and delicate fabrics from creases.
If you didn’t use a fabric conditioner while washing, add a dryer sheet or wool dryer balls to damp clothes to reduce static cling and soften fabrics. The balls can also shorten drying time. Overloading the dryer can damage the tumbling mechanism, so divide large amounts of clothes into several loads.
Adjust the Dryer Settings
Pick the correct settings based on the type of clothes. Start by selecting a drying temperature by turning a knob. The high setting works well for cotton fabrics and everyday clothing. Use the low setting for delicate fabric and the medium for casual clothes or medium loads.
If you want to freshen up clothes or remove creases on laundry left in the dryer, use the air fluff setting. Next, set the timer based on load volume and fabric type, then press the “Start” button to begin the dryer cycle.
Empty the Drum
Once the dryer turns off, check all the clothes for dampness, especially larger items. You can put the clothes back for a few extra minutes if they feel damp. If they are all dry, remove them from the dryer as soon as possible to prevent wrinkling. Remember to empty the lint trap, too.
Clothes dryers can dry a large volume of clothes fast and conveniently. However, when these machines are used incorrectly, you can easily waste energy and damage the machine or your clothes. We have seen from the above guide that a dryer needs heat, air movement, and low humidity to draw out moisture from damp clothes. Once you understand your machine, you can do your laundry quickly and more economically.