The tumble dryer is often viewed as a luxury item and as an unnecessary source of considerable energy use and cost. That said it is a valuable asset in busy households when due to weather or available space air drying laundry just isn’t practical. If you want to ensure that you are using your tumble dryer in the most efficient way possible then there are 3 main areas to consider.
- Before you Dry:
Before you even think about switching your tumble dryer on there are a few things you can do in order to ensure its efficiency. Firstly, ensure that your tumble dryer has been sited correctly. Air should be allowed to circulate freely around the entire machine in order for air to be drawn in and out easily without the tumble dryer having to work unduly hard to do so. Make sure that you keep the lint filter clear of fibre and debris as in doing so you ensure that the motor doesn’t have to work harder to push air through, increasing the energy taken and the general wear and tear on the motor, clothes will also be less likely to be dried properly if the lint filter is blocked negating the point of the cycle. If you have a vented dryer it is worth paying the same attention to the vent hose for the same reason.
- When to Dry?
If you really want to cut costs when it comes to running your tumble dryer then it may be time to get ruthless about when you use it. If you have on and off peak times for energy costs then it is worth timing your tumble dryer to coincide with the off peak, low cost period. It is also worth considering whether every load needs to go in the tumble dryer at all. A few small, light weight items could dry just as easily on a clothes airer. It may be a nice warm day and so possible to dry your clothes out in the fresh air on a washing line. By only using your tumble dryer when you really need to you will cut down on costs and your impact on the environment.
- How You Dry:
By thinking carefully about how you use your tumble dryer you can improve its efficiency and the results you get from your appliance. Start with your wash cycle, spinning at a high spin speed should reduce the amount of liquid trapped within your laundry at the end of the cycle, meaning they need less time in the tumble dryer. If your washing still seems excessively wet at the end of a wash cycle put it through a short spin only cycle before placing in the tumble dryer. Don’t waste the energy and expense of a cycle by only partially filling the drum of your dryer and then having to repeat with lots of other small loads, by the same token it is important not to overstuff the drum as this makes it harder for the dryer to do its job and may prove to be a wasted cycle when items still come out damp. Untangling bulky items like jumpers or jeans makes them easier to dry as there are no areas of compacted material, doing up the buttons on duvet covers also stops items becoming trapped inside and remaining screwed up and damp. Another way to ensure that you use the tumble dryer efficiently and effectively is to sort like items in the same way as you would sort items before washing. Placing smaller lightweight items together allows you to dry on a lower more economical setting, bulkier items can then be placed together to form a load that warrants a higher energy heavy duty cycle. Finally, you might consider adding dryer balls to your wash which have been shown to cut drying time (and therefore energy expenditure) by up to 25%
By considering these 3 stages and following the tips above you should be able to balance the drying needs of your household with efficient and economic use of your tumble dryer.