Tumble dryers are some of the highest energy-consuming appliances that can be found in households worldwide.
In the United States alone, clothes dryers account for up to 20% of total energy consumption. That’s a lot of coal burned at the power plant just to dry your clothes faster than hanging them on a clothesline.
However, we are aware that many people have busy schedules as it is and taking the time to arrange clothes on a wire isn’t ideal. So, in this case, how can you use a clothes dryer and still be environmentally friendly? Well, we have gathered a few tips and tricks that will help you achieve just that.
Keep the Lint Screen Clean
The tumble dryer has several components that can increase its energy consumption and workload if they’re not taken care of properly.
One of these components is the lint screen, which has a tendency to accumulate a lot of dirt in a short time span. To keep your carbon footprint as low as possible, we recommend cleaning the lint screen every time before or after a drying cycle.
Place Your Dryer Somewhere Warm
You most probably already know that a clothes dryer uses heat to evaporate water faster. Using that logic, it only makes sense to place it somewhere warm.
For instance, if your dryer is sitting on an enclosed balcony during winter, it will be a lot harder for it to do its job. Because of this, your clothes might still come out a little wet, but your electricity bill will show a slight increase.
Reduce the Heat
After reading the previous paragraph, you might think that this doesn’t make any sense. But it does.
Many dryers produce way more heat than necessary to completely evaporate water from fabrics. As such, we recommend setting the machine to the low temperature mode or to adjust the delicate setting. In most cases, this won’t prolong the drying time and it will save some electricity.
Replace Defective Components
It is always a good idea to check the user manual, especially the troubleshooting section. If your dryer makes weird noises or takes a suspiciously long time to do its thing, a component might be messed up.
Other times, you might think that you need to replace the whole appliance, but you only need to fix one component. For instance, the fuse in your dryer is relatively cheap and easy to replace, so feel free to do it yourself.
Consider a Natural Gas Dryer
If electricity is a tad expensive in your area, consider getting a dryer that runs on gas. In most cases, gas is much cheaper than electricity.
Furthermore, switching to a gas dryer makes a lot of sense if you live off the grid or if you have a renewable energy resource, like solar panels or wind turbines.
Situate the Dryer Closer to the Drainage
The less distance water has to travel to get out of an appliance, the better. When water has to travel significant portions, you’ll inevitably spend more on electricity bills.
Setting up the dryer in such a way that it can expel water without much effort will increase its efficiency by a large margin in the long run.
Switch to Smooth, Unbendable Ducts
This one is a continuation of the previous section. Just like before, when water has a better time traveling from the appliance to the drainage, it will cost you less.
Flexible ducts have a tendency to get curled up, and every bend slightly increases the energy cost. If left unresolved, this issue might add up to a few couple hundred of dollars in the span of five years.
Wear Clothes More Than Once
This isn’t directly related to your dryer, but rather to the entire washing system inside your house.
The less you use your washing machine, dryer, iron, and other appliances, you’ll put less stress on the electric company, septic system, and the municipality’s sewage system.
Even huge brands like Levi’s have encouraged their customers to wash jeans once every two weeks instead of doing so on an almost daily basis. This simple act can end up saving five times more energy.
Switch to Natural and Non-Toxic Detergents
As stated earlier, your dryer isn’t the only thing that’s preventing you from leading a truly environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Phosphates, for example, negatively impact marine life, which is a huge problem if you live near lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.
To solve this issue, look for natural and non-toxic detergents for your clothes and dishes as well. You might spend a little more, but the effort made to protect the environment is worth it. And it’s still a cheaper option if you also choose to wear a piece of clothing more than once before putting it in the washing machine.
Don’t Even Think About Dry Cleaning
Okay, so we’ve determined that your dryer might not be the eco-friendliest equipment in your household.
However, dry cleaning services are much worse. They use the chemical perchloroethylene to maximize the drying efficiency without thinking of the agent’s impact on the environment and your health.
Use a Descaling Agent
Just like your washing machine, the tumble dryer can also suffer from limescale buildup if you use hard water.
To prevent these buildups and ensure your dryer is as energy efficient as possible, we recommend using natural liquid water softeners, or using vinegar regularly to dissolve existing limescale deposits and prevent them from building up in the future. You might also be interested in purchasing a salt-free water softener or other eco-friendly alternatives.
The Bottom Line
If you want to go truly eco-friendly, we recommend you ditch the dryer for a classic clothesline. However, if you can’t or don’t want to do that, just take your time to memorize the advice above and put it into practice.