The domestic tumble dryer is one of the biggest users of energy in the home together with cookers, central heating, washing machines, and dishwashers.
In previous articles we have mentioned how hanging washing out to dry is the best way to save electricity, and using a good spin dryer before putting the washing into a tumble dryer will reduce carbon emissions and electricity bills.
In this article we will look at the latest gas tumble driers – a more energy efficient option than standard electricity powered tumble dryers.
Gas Powered Tumble Dryers
Tumble-dryers dry clothes by heating them in a drum which is slowly rotated. A common electric tumble dryer uses an electric heating element to warm up the clothes, whereas a gas tumble dryer burns natural gas (mains gas not LPG). Although electricity is still used to rotate the drum, this amounts to less than 10% of the total electricity used by an electric tumble dryer – the remaining 90%+ all goes on heating.
Since using gas for heating is more energy efficient than using electricity (hence the use of gas in all the latest boilers), the financial costs of running a gas tumble dryer are lower than those associated with an electric tumble dryer – typically 1/2 to 1/3 lower. Also the carbon emissions for gas are around 0.193 kg / kWh (unit) compared to 0.432 kg / kWh for electricity – i.e. emissions are more than halved with a gas tumble dryer.
Disadvantages of Gas Tumble Dryers
An electric tumble dryer can easily be installed as a DIY job – particularly condenser dryers which just need plugging in. Gas tumble dryers must be installed by a CORGI registered gas fitter (in the UK), and any maintenance will require a similarly qualified person. Also, there are no gas powered condenser dryers available since all gas tumble dryers must be air-vented anyway. This means that a hole must be made through an exterior wall if one is not already there.
Natural gas is a finite resource – perhaps only lasting another 30-50 years – and it is a fossil fuel. One advantage of an electric tumble dryer is that it can be powered using renewably generated electricty – not an option with a gas powered tumble dryer.
Buy a Gas Tumble Dryer
Gas tumble dryers are not very common, but as more people become interested in saving money and reducing their carbon footprints expect this to change. The White Knight brand is the only domestic gas tumble dryer manufacturer in the UK with their ECO43A reverse action gas dryer and ECO83A electronic sensing gas dryer.
Click here to look at and buy a range of domestic and commercial Gas Tumble Dryers.
Many commercial tumble dryers in launderettes are gas powered, and so can sometimes be purchased second hand very cheaply – you just need to remove the coin-operated switch mechanism first (or keep a pile of coins nearby). Those pictured above are rated to dry up to 34kg of washing each and were auctioned online at a starting price of 99 pence (RRP when new was around £4,000 each!).