Want to Save Money, the Environment, and Your Clothes? This New Product Can Do It All
What if we told you there’s a new type of clothes dryer that uses half the energy of your current dryer and won’t eat every other sock? There is—it’s called a heat pump dryer. They’re relatively new, having first come onto the U.S. market in 2014, but are just…warming up…when it comes to savings.
OK, so they might still lose some socks, but heat pump dryers are actually way better than conventional ones when it comes to your wallet, the environment, and your clothes. How do we know they’re so much better? Because ENERGY STAR® says so. The government-backed agency operates completely independently of any brands or manufacturers and cares about just one thing: saving energy. Dryers that earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR® label are independently certified to save energy, and heat pump dryers are ranked as the best, meaning they’re the most efficient of all ENERGY STAR®–certified dryers. Look out for this label when you’re shopping for dryers and other appliances:
It means you can do your part and be an energy star, too. And if you can save some money and look good doing it along the way, all the better.
Though they look like any normal dryer on the outside, once you look inside a heat pump dryer it’s easy to see why they’re so efficient. Conventional dryers use a heating element to heat and then vent out air, losing that expensive heat to the outside. Heat pump dryers, on the other hand, recirculate hot air and drain away moisture, then recycle that dry, hot air until the cycle is done. That means there’s less heating and more drying, as you can see here:
The benefits don’t stop at your energy bill or the environment: Heat pump dryers are also better for your clothes. Most damage to clothing actually comes from over-drying and exposure to high heat; that’s why “delicate” cycles always run on super low heat. Because they’re more efficient than conventional dryers, heat pump dryers can achieve the same results at much lower temps. This means your clothing is less likely to ever overheat, and these dryers are less of a fire hazard as well.
Whatever your motivation is for making the switch, it’s an easy one to make. These dryers can be installed almost anywhere—partly because they’re more compact, but more importantly because you don’t have to worry about drilling a hole through your wall or ceiling to make room for a vent. All that’s needed is an electrical source and, for some models, a way to drain water. Some heat pump dryers have a small hose (like a dishwasher) that can connect to a drain. If you don’t have a drain nearby, many models have a special water collecting compartment that can be emptied out in between cycles.
Capacity used to be an issue since heat pump dryers were designed to fit in smaller (i.e., mostly European) sized spaces. That’s changed. Some of ENERGY STAR®’s top-rated machines can hold just as much as a conventional dryer. New technology has also shortened drying times: Heat pump dryers can still take a little longer than conventional dryers, but they utilize both types of drying power to keep drying times short while also saving big on energy. Plus, a little more time is worth it when you’re saving your clothes from the damaging effects of over-drying.