Burning questions

How much electricity does a dryer use? Something to think about

Remember the pleasant warmth and smell of laundry when taking it out of the dryer? Yet this pleasure can make up quite a bit of your energy bills. How much electricity does the dryer use? Let’s break it down.

Identifying your dryer’s average consumption

The amount of electricity a dryer consumes is not a static number and depends on the dryer itself and your usage patterns:

3 kWh/cycle

average consumption of a dryer

  • Newer, energy-efficient models boast lower wattage ratings compared to their older counterparts. Dryers with moisture sensors automatically shut off when clothes are dry, saving energy. 

  • Hotter, longer cycles naturally consume more energy than cooler, shorter ones. Heavier, wetter loads require more drying time and, as a result, energy.

Generally, dryers use about 2 – 5 kilowatt-hours per drying cycle, with 3 kilowatt-hours being the average. The drying cycle itself takes about an hour so the power rating of a dryer and its consumption per cycle can be the same number.

Calculating your dryer’s annual consumption and cost

What if we want to know exactly how much energy a dryer needs and how much it will consume in a year? All modern dryers are required to have an EnergyGuide label that specifies their energy consumption and average cost of running. Alternatively, you can check your dryer’s spec sheet.

Suppose, your dryer’s energy needs match the average – 3kWh per cycle, and you wash and dry your laundry four times a week. Knowing the energy consumption and our usage patterns, we can calculate how much energy a dryer needs per year:

3 kWh × 4 times/week × 52 weeks = 624 kWh

Now let’s calculate how much our dryer costs us. To calculate the cost of one drying run, you need to multiply 3kWh by the cost per kWh in your state. For example, if we live in California, where 1 kWh costs 19.90¢, one drying run would cost us 60¢, amounting to $124 per year.

Taming your dryer’s energy hunger

In the 1990s in California, a resourceful young man named Steven Robert Comisar began putting ads in national magazines selling a “solar-powered clothes dryer” for $49.95. But instead of solar equipment, customers received just an ordinary clothesline in the mail.

When you create an energy efficient home, every little detail contributes to lowering your electric bill. Here are five tips for saving on drying.

  1. Sort by fabric type: Group clothes with similar fabric types to reduce drying time. This ensures that lighter fabrics don’t over-dry while heavier items don’t stay wet.

  1. Clean the filter: Regularly clean the filter to maintain optimal airflow. A clogged filter forces the dryer to work harder, consuming more energy.

  1. Dry full loads: Maximize the efficiency of each drying cycle by ensuring the dryer is full, but not overloaded. This helps air circulate effectively and reduces the need for additional cycles.

  1. Take advantage of off-peak hours: Many utility providers offer reduced rates during specific times. Schedule your dryer to operate during these periods to save on electricity costs.

  1. Consider air drying: On sunny days, take advantage of natural air drying. Hang clothes outside instead of relying solely on the dryer, reducing energy consumption.

Running dryer on solar panels

For a more sustainable approach, consider harnessing solar power to run your clothes dryer. Solar panels not only reduce your dependence on the grid but also contribute to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Let’s calculate how many panels you need to run a dryer.

In a grid-tie system, the dryer will pull the energy that a solar system supplies at this moment. If the dryer doesn’t get enough, it will draw the rest from the grid. The AC production of a solar system is 25% lower than its DC rating on average. If a dryer continuously requires 3 kilowatts, a system rated at 3,750 watts DC would be able to run it smoothly. You would be able to build one out of, say, ten 375W panels.

In an off-grid system, the dryer will pull the energy from the battery if it has enough charge. The battery’s rating has to be high enough to support the dryer. The solar system, on the other, doesn’t have to be large; it just has to produce enough in a day to fill the battery bank. Let’s say, a dryer requires 3 kilowatt-hours to complete a cycle, and your solar panels work for 5 hours at full capacity. Keeping additional 25% in mind, we’ll divide 3,750Wh by 5 and it turns out you need 750W of solar power — two 400W panels for example.

Out of stock

Silfab 400W Solar Panel 132 Cell SIL-400-HC+

  • Rated Power Output 400 W
  • Voltage (VOC)43.02
  • Number of cells132
  • Cell TypeMonocrystalline

Delivery on Jul 19–24

Think of your dryer as one step in a larger energy-saving journey. Understanding and optimizing the energy consumption of your clothes dryer, along with other household appliances, can lead to both financial savings and a reduced environmental footprint.

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Years of experience in translation and a love of nature help Julia find the right words to encourage going solar. She joined the team in 2023 and is happy to make her contribution to a greener future.

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