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dryer gas vs electric

Post in 'The Green Room' started by medan, Jun 15, 2008.

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  1. medan

    medan New Member

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    Hi I will be in the market for a dryer soon, and am wondering which is more cost efficent ? I live in Maine where electricity is pretty expensive. I already have a gas stove so the gas company comes here anyways Thanks for your help Dan

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  2. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    No offense, but using either for something so silly as drying clothes seems like a bad idea. Try a clothes line, they work great and cost nothing to use.
  3. medan

    medan New Member

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    Well that is probably a great idea in New Mexico but that is kind of tough to do here in Maine, because it will be 10 below zero here in January. Thanks for your input Dan
  4. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    We have real winters here too, I don't hang clothes outside in winter either. I put up three clothes lines in the basement for winter. If I didn't have a basement, I'd rig some lines somewhere upstairs, wash clothes before bedtime, and hang them to dry at night.
  5. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    It is dry in New Mexico, it does not compare to Maine.

    Dan,
    I have a gas dryer for when I am unable to let the clothes dry on their own. Gas heats up faster, and dries hotter then most electric models => less drying time. Just make sure it is properly vented, as now you are not just talking about releasing humidity, but some CO as well. They still use electricity too. But not to heat, just tumble, so make sure you will have access to a 15 amp outlet.

    Getting an inch an hour of rain atm, glad I brought my clothes in last night ;-}
  6. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    I have friends in more humid and cold parts of the USA that do the same. When I was in Europe two years ago I saw no dryers and lots of indoor clothes lines, some always up, some only went up when they were needed. I don't see the problem here.
  7. medan

    medan New Member

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    It looks like it will be gas then. Thanks for your help Dan
  8. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Use the dryer very little, even in the winter(by the way, I consider Corrina the sunny south part of Maine :p ). Got clothes hung all over the place. Sure you do the same. Seems like the gas dryer would be the way to go. Is they much diff in price? Never been around one, always fearful of the unknown, safety wise mainly. But i will say, seems like the most dangerous appliance in my house is the electric dryer.
    Gonna put up a windmill before the summers out, maybe I can hook up a clothes line off the tower, to the house :coolsmile: Should get a good breeze :)
  9. sinnian

    sinnian Minister of Fire

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    I believe the problem was that he was asking between electric and gas, and all you were giving him was clothes line.
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    We have nat gas dryer and it is way cheaper than electric.

    We once made a lot of money from having a clothes line....well, and then taking it down....

    We bought our last house - knowing they were going to put a small street and 13 houses in next to it. The builder started and we became somewhat friendly - I even let him run an extension cord and use our electric for a short time. Meantime, we used a clothes line most of the time.....I put a sign on the electric clothes dryer which said "by using this you are irradiating future generations" (it was electric...nuclear)......

    Well, one day the builder comes over and tells us that he will have a hard time getting full price for his new houses if they see the diapers and underwear and everything else hanging from our line! But, in order to make things right, he offered to:

    1. Put up a 120 foot long 6 ft high fence between our property and that new side street (fine by us!)
    2. Roof one side of our barn, which had tar paper on it at the time
    3 Paint the rest of the barn and outbuildings so they would look better.....

    He did ask us to remove the line for the open houses and other events.....

    So while we may have used some electric, we ended up with thousands of dollars of free upgrades so the neighbors would not think we were trailer trash.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Right, clotheslines, right.

    The combustion of natural gas does produce CO as a product of imperfect combustion. They all do it and if you vent that CO into your home in order to capture some of the lost energy then you very likely will be damaged by the CO poison not to mention the water vapor. I have a problem with a fire burning in my dryer so choose electric. Even the elctric have been known to cause many house fires in their vent ducting. Be sure to vent the gas dryer exhaust very carefully outside and maintain the ducts frequently.

    With natural gas available it would no doubt be cheaper than electric. That's the case even with cheap electric. Using propane is a little tougher since it is a pricey fuel. You didn't say whether you were burning nat or LPG.
  12. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I remember my grandparents didn't have a dryer and their towels were like sandpaper.

    I think most mfrs put an $80-100 premium on the gas option. If you have NG in the house, it's probably worth it. LP is beginning to approach the cost of electricity in terms of operating cost. If you really want to save some money, replace the washer. The newer front loaders spin faster and extract a lot more water. It shows up in shorter dry times. I talked to a salesman who told me to skip the gas option as the new ones were so fast, thus narrowing the potential cost savings. Made sense to me, but I can't stand the thought of resistance heat!

    Regarding the safety of gas driers: Any dryer can catch fire if the right conditions exist, the problem is the lint. As long as the machine and particularly the vent system are kept reasonably clean, you are not going to have a problem. It does not matter if you have an electric or gas dryer as long as it is vented properly. An unvented dryer is really bad as all that lint settles on everything around it and becomes a fire hazard.

    Chris
  13. medan

    medan New Member

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    I will be using lpg. I will have to look into the price of lpg vs electricity. Thanks Dan
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Interesting thread. Don't have the option of using gas in an all electric house. Yesterday for the first time in 45 years I hung clothes on a line outside like we always did when I was growing up. And when I was wearing green underwear overseas in the sixties.

    Worked pretty good.

    I will experiment with the towels next week. As I remember the sandpaper comment is correct. And the sheets also.
  15. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    I don't know if the folks referring to rough towels live in a place with hard water or calcium buildup or what. But we don't have that problem with our towels or sheets, they come out fine. We do often put a little vinegar in the rinse water to prevent detergent building in the fabrics (because hubby is allergic to most detergents, even the scent free stuff.) That might help. We haven't used a powered dryer in our house for 17 years. We live in WI, so plenty of cold winters. In our last house we had a laundry room with a few lines, and racks plus pipes in the ceiling that were perfect for hanging up shirts on hangers to dry. When not in outside summer drying weather, we put the clothes racks in the living room near the wood stove, the clothes dry FAST.

    Sometimes when a guy asks 'gas or electric' the right answer IS a clothesline. We have only used dryers in the past 17 years when living on a sail boat, because there is limited drying space on the boat and due to the nature of sea travel you do all your laundry at the same time. Found that dryers are really hard on clothing, weakening the elastic in socks and underwear, plus just wearing out the fabric faster. I have lived in Europe myself (England and France) plus visited friends in many other countries. Hardly anyone had a clothes dryer in other countries. Think, there are reasons the U.S. uses 1/4 of the world's energy and Europe doesn't. I think it should be illegal to make clotheslines illegal! (I know lots of places in the U.S. where it is illegal to hang clothes up outside to dry.)
  16. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I prefer an electric dryer for one reason: Simplicity. Not much to go wrong with an electric dryer.

    Check your local Craigslist. I bought a 1 year old used Dryer for 75 bucks (whirlpool) and sold our old small one for $50.
  17. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Best clothesline I know of is some good old army 550 cord. I strung some in the basement 12 or so years back and always hung the towls on it. Towls are the worst by far, they take forever to dry. Drying them in the dryer is just a waste as opposed to some other things of thinner construction. Same goes for Blue Jeans, all they do is suck up and hold water. In the winter and when its wet all that heavy stuff goes over the cord in the basement. Lately about everything goes on the cord or out on the deck rail in the sun on the back porch. If nothin else it gives me sadistic pleasure to be denying the oil creeps as well as the tax creeps of some of their ill gotten proceeds. We do virtually all our washing in monster loads with dead cold water too.
    Come worst case and the wimmen start to bitchin too much, and they will just toss the stuff in the dryer for 10 minutes after they are dry and no one will likely know the difference. Trouble with hangin things out on the deck rails is once in a while a bird will crap on something since the bird feeder is not far away. Of course the wimmin don't have to know about that either................
  18. carbon neutral

    carbon neutral Feeling the Heat

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    If it were pure which is cheaper to operate gas or electric gas would win out. The other factors, electric can be directly vented into the house during the winter months when the house becaomes dry, this will give humidity to the house as well as capture the heat from the dryer. You can buy a heat exchanger to do this with gas but you won't get the benefit of the humidity. Gas dryers have a higher initial cost, both for the dryer and to hook it up if you have to run an new gas line to it. The electric dryer will most likely be more reliable. As far as the CO both produce CO if your power company is burning a fossil fuel so on a global scale the gas dryer would actually produce less CO since there is less energy conversion losses. It does present some hazard to the occupants but any house with gas should have a carbon monoxide monitor. For me factoring in everything I went with gas and am happy with it.
    As far as a clothes lines, I don't have the time. My mother used one when I was a kid and I actually miss the "sand paper" towels and the smell of a line dried towel. One thing I would also look into is a front load washer. I have one and it greatly reduces drying time because the spin cycle is much faster. Some materials i.e. fleece can be worn right out of the washer no drying needed.
  19. Gator eye

    Gator eye Member

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    We use a line outside in the summer and string lines in the basement for winter. The wood stove in the basement dries clothes just as fast as outside in the summer.

    Only time we use a dry is for small stuff, socks, whitey tighties....ect....
  20. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Check out "condensing dryers" which have been used in Europe for years. A standard US dryer, whether gas or electric, takes air that you've already paid to heat or cool, heats it some more (which costs you some more), gets it moist, and then dumps it outdoors, which de-pressurizes your house and will cause drafts to bring in replacement air (which you'll have to pay to heat or cool yet again...).

    A condensing dryer runs a closed loop of heated air through the clothes, and then runs that through an air-to-air heat exchanger with a blower into the room. No moisture or lint goes into the room, and no air is pushed outside the house. Warm 100% dry/ clean air comes out of the dryer into the surrounding room. A tank gathers the condensate, unless you opt to hook up a drain tube, in which case the condensate goes down the drain.

    If you live in a climate like I do, where additional heat is welcome much more often than not, and where the main reason to have a dryer is for those "in case" instances where it's too damp for things to dry on their own, these things are worth a look.

    I bought one of these (a Miele condensing dryer) on a close-out deal about 5 years ago, with matching horizontal-axis high efficiency washer (which spins clothes at 1600 rpm on spin, so that they come out moist, but never dripping). I could not be more happy with it. I _dont'_ think a Euro type condensing dryer would work well if you had an older US top load washer where things come out sopping wet even after the spin

    These condensing dryers are not advertized or publicized much in this country, and they'd need to be located in a place where you can get some air circulation between the dryer and surrounding area, and where you want or don't mind some additional warmth. If that fits your needs, they may make a lot of sense
  21. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Interesting! I didn't know such a thing existed. But I see a couple of drawbacks in our case. It can't use gas and it can't be vented in the summer. Anybody interested in a heat pump clothes dryer?

    Chris
  22. jlmilligan

    jlmilligan New Member

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    Hello Medan, and all others, I live just north of Bangor and I have a gas dryer which use propane. I know I will catch H$LL for this but I dry ZERO clothes on a line. Maybe when my other projects are done I will build a line. The washer and dryer are GE front loaders ($1500 for the pair) and they are only 2 years old. That being said, average electric bill - $80 ($65 to $95) average propane bill - $21 ($200 to $220 every 10 months or so) I also have a gas range. I don't know what people are paying on electric bills with the elec. dryer, but I would guess it is over $100 dollars a month.
    Sorry if this is late, just found the site last week.
    Take care
    JLM
  23. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Redox- re your "Anybody interested in a heat pump clothes dryer?" the European company AEG made one for a while, and they apparently were extremely efficient and effective, and a company called Nyle, in Maine, has had prototypes, but never a commercial residential model. I used to know an engineer who had tested some for a utility, and said that they worked wonderfully and were extremely efficient, it's just that the initial manufacture/purchase cost was far higher than conventional dryers, although that'd change if they were built en masse.
  24. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    I'll also vouch for the clothesline - in fact, we have much better luck with them in the winter as the air in the house is so dry when heating with wood. Jeans will dry in 4-6 hours without even moving them from the laundry room which is nowhere near the woodstove.

    For some items that are mostly cotton, including towels, we'll often try to remember to throw them in the dryer after hanging them for a few hours when they're nearly dry - then they come out soft like normal tumble drying at a fraction of the cost. Wool and synthetics dry great on the rack and hold much less water anyway.

    This summer, it seems like we have rain and humidity almost every day so while it's hot, we haven't had much chance to dry clothes outside and have been using the dryer more.

    -Colin
  25. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I've been following Nyle for a while now. It appears they have some great ideas, but I'm not sure their is a huge market for their products yet. Their heat pump dryer hasn't left the prototype stage and they appear to be in some kind of litigation right now over their low temperature heat pump. The heat pump water heater is what's probably keeping the lights on right now...

    Some quick back of the napkin calculations on drying a load of clothes is somewhere between 25 and 75 cents a load. This is not going to be a backbreaker for most people, but is certainly going to be going up in the future. If the weather is cooperative, I will throw some things out on the line, but I gotta have clean shorts that won't tear up the "bits and pieces".

    I have been considering some kind of attachment for our gas dryer that will allow me to recover the heat in the winter. I'll have to get back to that as NG is at an all time high and set to go up even more.

    Chris
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