Around 54 per cent of households in Victoria own a clothes dryer, but how often and how long they are used varies widely. If you tend to use your clothes dryer more often than not, it's important to choose the most energy efficient model that is suitable for your household.
Choosing an efficient clothes dryer
Compare star ratings
The energy rating label helps you to compare the energy efficiency and running costs of different clothes dryers. The star rating is shown in the red band at the top of the label and can range from 1 to 6 stars. The more stars, the more energy efficient the clothes dryer will be, and the lower the running costs.
Compare the energy efficiency of different dryer models using the star rating system, then use the numbers in the energy consumption box to find out the model's annual energy consumption. This will show you the annual energy use of the model when used once per week. When buying a new clothes dryer, use the Energy Rating Calculator to choose a machine with as high a star rating as possible.
If you're looking to buy an electric clothes dryer, choose a model with at least a 2-star energy rating to improve your household’s energy efficiency.
Choose new dryer technology
As their name implies, these machines are a clothes washer and dryer in one. Look out for the two energy rating labels on combined washer-dryers: they detail the efficiency of the product as both a washing machine and clothes dryer. Note that the load capacity for drying clothes in these models is only about half of the load capacity for washing clothes. These machines are an ideal option for households with limited space.
Heat-pump clothes dryers
Heat-pump clothes dryers use a heat pump to produce hot air, and operate similarly to reverse-cycle air conditioners when heating. These machines are highly efficient, as they condense moisture being expelled and recover heat to dry the load. Heat-pump dryers use less than half the energy of conventional electric clothes dryers. They are worth considering if you use an electric dryer frequently.
Gas clothes dryers
Gas clothes dryers use gas to heat air, and therefore need to be connected to a gas supply. Although they are more expensive to buy, their running costs are much cheaper as they use natural gas. Gas clothes dryers are a good option for households that use their dryer frequently.
Look for brands that are designed for recycling
Recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.
Running costs for clothes dryers
Most clothes dryers have a low star rating of 2 stars or less, but efficient heat pump models and gas clothes dryers are available at a lower running cost. The table below provides estimated running costs for different types of clothes dryers, based on star rating and capacity.
|Clothes dryer type||Energy star rating||Average times used per week||Annual energy cost*||Annual GHG emissions (kg)*|
|4kg load capacity**|
|6kg load capacity**|
|8kg load capacity**|
* Calculations assume and electricity tariff of 31.9c/kWh, based on typical Melbourne tariff. This does not include any pay-on-time discount, which would reduce the amount paid. GHG = Greenhouse Gas emissions in kg of carbon dioxide equivalent. The greenhouse coefficient used is 1.18 kilograms per kilowatt hour of electricity used.
** Studies of clothes dryer usage show that the actual average load of washing dried is much less than the rated capacity of the dryers. We have assumed the actual load is 3 per cent of the rated load capacity. The annual energy consumption and running costs based on assumed load of 1.4kg for 4kg dryers, 2.1kg for 6kg dryers and 2.8kg for 8kg dryers.
Use your dryer efficiently
Regardless of the type of clothes dryer you own, you can reduce your energy bills by running it efficiently.
- Dry outside whenever possible: If the weather is dry take advantage of the opportunity to dry your clothes outside.
- Clean the filter before each use: A clogged filter reduces airflow (and drying capability) and can overheat the machine.
- Avoid mixing heavy and lightweight clothing together: Mixed items will not dry as quickly.
- Dry several loads one after the other: Make use of the heat in the machine from the previous load.
- Don't overload the dryer: The motor can overheat and this approach is hard on the machinery.
- Consider a heat-pump or a gas dryer: Especially if you use your clothes dryer frequently.
- Look for models with auto sensors: Auto-sensors can help you to avoid over-drying.
- Ventilate when drying: Leave a window open when drying, or install a venting kit, to minimise humidity.
Dispose of your whitegoods responsibly
Ensure that when you buy a new product to replace an old one, you take the necessary steps to dispose of your old product responsibly. Recycling whitegoods will reduce landfill, conserve resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.