Maximizing dryer efficiency

Having an efficient dryer can make a big difference in the amount of energy required to dry your laundry, which in turn, can also save you money on your hydro bill.

Good air flow is a big factor when it comes to best drying performance. When proper air is flowing, it pulls outside air in and uses that air to blow through the entire load of laundry, which removes moisture and deposits lint onto the lint screen. At the end of the cycle, proper air flow also exhausts damp air.

Oppositely, poor air flow results in inefficient drying with long drying times and wet or damp loads, which also wastes more energy because you would need to run the dryer for longer in order to get the load dry.

Common causes of poor air flow include a blocked lint screen, poor vent system, restricted location, oversized load and clogged exhaust outlet. So, common solutions are cleaning the lint screen before every load; however, do not rinse or wash the screen, simply roll the lint off with your fingers.

Vents are typically made up of foil and plastic, but excessive flexibility of these materials can slow air movement, trap lint and be easily crushed. Therefore it’s advised that you replace plastic or metal foil vent material with a heavier, more rigid material that’s at least four inches in diameter.

You should also ensure that lint and debris is removed from the exhaust hood and from the entire length of the vent system once every two years, at least.

Because dryers are limited in the distance they can move and blow air, you’ll want to ensure that yours uses the shortest length of vent possible in order to perform at its best. Though your use and care guide will provide further information and instruction to your dryer make and model, it’s typically advised that you use no more than four, 90 degree elbows in a vent system because the more bends and curves there are, the more reduced the air flow.

When placing your dryer in your home, check the location to be sure that the front is clear of any items that could block or limit the air flow to the dryer. For instance, if the dryer is located in a closet or other small space, make sure the doors are vented at the top and bottom or consider installing a louvered door to better promote air flow.

You should also consider the temperature of the location of the dryer. Since dryers heat the surrounding air, you should steer clear of placing the dryer in a garage or on a porch where the air is cooler and may cause longer drying times or damp loads, in addition to forcing the dryer to work harder.

In terms of actual loads, large loads of laundry can limit air flow and cause longer drying times, so be sure that there’s enough air space between items in the load so that the moist air can be removed. In essence, items in the laundry load should tumble separately and not as one lump group.

A clogged or blocked exhaust outlet will also restrict air flow so check that this is clear and free of dryer sheets or any other item.

For more info and tips on energy efficient appliances, visit www.scratchanddent.ca or stop by the store at 407 Gage Avenue, Unit #4 in Kitchener. A friendly staff member would be happy to help you or take your questions at 519-743-3623.