Consumer desire to cut back on energy use and reliance on fossil fuels is driving sales of heat pump dryers in the U.S. Could a heat pump dryer be right for you?
What Exactly is a Heat Pump Dryer?
Working in a closed loop system, a heat pump dryer continuously recycles the air that dries your clothes. Just like a conventional clothes dryer, it has a tumbler, but its system works quite differently.
In a conventional dryer, hot air is blown over the clothes and then released through a vent. With a heat pump dryer, the air is warmed in the tumbler and condenses the moisture into water with evaporative cooling. A tube then drains the water.
There are a couple of ways the water can be drained through the tube. You can either have the drain hose directly discard the water into a nearby sink or drain pipe, manually drain the water tank, or install a device that allows it to use the clothes washer drain to remove water.
One of the characteristics that so many folks appreciate most about heat pump dryers is that they don’t need ventilation, which means they can be placed anywhere in the home. This makes them much more flexible. Further flexibility comes with the fact that many are also stackable.
Pros of Heat Pump Dryers
Let’s take a look at a few benefits of owning a heat pump dryer.
Costs Less to Operate: Heat pump dryers are more efficient than conventional dryers. In fact, Energy Star reports 28% more efficiency!
Better for the Environment: Due to using less energy, heat pump dryers are better for the environment. Remember, gas dryers rely on fossil fuels.
Ventless: Ventless dryers do offer a few advantages. There is no need to drill a hole into the wall; zero risk of lint building up in vents and becoming a fire hazard; ventless means they can go anywhere - making them particularly great for apartments; and stackable heat pump dryers save space.
Better for Your Clothes: Heat pumps dryers run at lower heats than conventional, which helps clothes last longer.
Cons of Heat Pump Dryers
There are a few drawbacks to owning a heat pump dryer.
More Expensive Up Front: Heat pump dryers often have a higher upfront cost, but they do save enough on energy bills to make up for it.
Longer Drying Time: Due to running at lower heats, heat pump dryers take longer to dry a load of laundry. This means planning accordingly and adjusting expectations. We do suggest pairing your heat pump dryer with an energy star front-load washer. Those remove much more water during the spin cycle, providing maximum efficiency.
Maintenance: Just because there is no vent doesn't mean there is no lint. Most of it is caught in filters that will need cleaning, just like a regular dryer. Some lint is also captured by the evaporator coils and condenser, so those will also require periodic cleaning.
Less Capacity: Right now, heat pump dryers are generally smaller than conventional dryers. Manufacturers are working to change this, so a wider selection of larger ones are on the horizon.
Between a heat pump dryer’s lower cost and energy savings, and ventless flexibility, we think it’s a great choice for homeowners.
Note that if you are considering one as a replacement for your gas dryer, you will need a dedicated circuit added to your electrical panel. Visit this site to find a highly-skilled electrician who is ready to help!