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Electric clothes dryer to hydronic conversion

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by SnowTraveler, Sep 16, 2008.

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  1. SnowTraveler

    SnowTraveler New Member

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    My electric clothes dryer is a big contributor to my electric bill and I want to convert it to hydronic. I am having no luck finding a conversion kit online, but there is one firm offering new dryers already converted. I would prefer to do it myself, as my dryer is near new. Anyone know of source of conversion kits? Has anyone else done it yet? Yes, I do have a clothes line.

    http://www.outdoorwoodfurnaceparts.com/new_page_8.htm

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  2. WonderingWoman

    WonderingWoman New Member

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    Why not get a drying rack to dry your clothe on for free by evaporation? It also humidifies the house in winter. You can use a clothes line in fine weather...
  3. free75degrees

    free75degrees New Member

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    A clothes dryer is less work since you can just toss everything in and hit a button and is quicker too. This sounds like a very cool idea. I may have to research this when I get some more time.
  4. WonderingWoman

    WonderingWoman New Member

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    Actually, with a drying rack you sort the laundry as you hang it, so you have less work after when it comes to folding. You can use your dryer as back up.
  5. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    If you do a search, this was discussed extensively in at least one thread.

    The short answer is that it is possible, but requires a good bit of work/engineering to make it function correctly.

    Drying time is likely to be longer, as well, so you need to balance the electrical usage of the motor with the savings by not running the elements.

    Joe
  6. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    take a look at the thread that I will paste at the bottom of this message for some interesting discussions.

    If you live in a climate where you need heat a lot more often than cooling, and as long as you have a horizontal-axis high efficiency washer that spins more of the water out of the clothes than an old top-loader, then a "condensing dryer" -- as are commonly used in Europe, may be one option. I've had one 5 years and could not be happier with it

    It's not a hydronic dryer like you propose, but for those of us in cold climates, it does avoid regular North American dryer's ridiculous design of taking indoor air that (more often than not) you've already paid to heat, heating it up some more (more $$$), then dumping it outside, thereby creating a net depressurization of the house that'll draw in cold drafts elsewhere to make up for the dryer's exhaust air.

    More often than not, I hang my clothes, maybe after giving them a very brief tumble in the dryer to initially de-rumple them, but the dryer is always a good back-up in damp spells or times when one is short on time

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewreply/211454/
  7. maurice

    maurice New Member

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    I had not thought of that! While I have not followed Pybyr's link, I will say this:

    I have an older whirlpool dryer in use for 25+ years, and just salvaged spare parts off one given to me as scrap. Maybe others are similar design. The blower pulls air from inside the drum and throws it out thru that flex duct. Air enters the drum thru a rectangular-ish tube with rounded edges. The electric element slides up into that tube. Replace the electric element with a "radiator" kind of like an aluminum/copper evaporator used in A/C or refrigeration!

    To see how yours look without tearing it apart (SWMBO comes in and sees it in pieces! :) ), do a google search for parts on your brand of dryer. There are a few good websites that also have exploded views of parts.

    Or pick up one at a junkyard, or on the curb, or other freebie, and experiment in the garage?
  8. SnowTraveler

    SnowTraveler New Member

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  9. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    industrial dryers that are heated other than by resistance or direct fire are heated with super hot steam -- well over 300 degrees

    no pellet - corn - or chunk wood home owners boiler will put a dent in that requirement - In fact you will need more than a low pressure license to operate such a contraption.

    Buy a clothes line,
  10. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

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    I actually thought of this when I put my boler in. I have a whirlpool duet system. I discussed it with boiler guy and he had this to say.

    "You could put a small coil inside the dryer, close to where the air intake is. Hook it up to an auto valve that opens when the dryer motor starts turning and closes when the dryer is off. By doing this, your dryer would be sucking in air that is 150-170 degrees rather than the 70 degree air that you normally suck in. In THEORY, this would let the heating elements in the dryer stay off"

    I just havent had the guts or the $225.00 to try it.
  11. WonderingWoman

    WonderingWoman New Member

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  12. SnowTraveler

    SnowTraveler New Member

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    Ok, I get it. Returning to lurking.
  13. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Please don't just stay lurking. None of the replies were meant to offened. It's just that every one has different ideas on how and what to do things. The more that things are put out there the more that we ALL learn.
    leaddog
  14. mpilihp

    mpilihp Feeling the Heat

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    My wife also like to dry on the line and in the winter dry on racks int he basement. I personally dont care to, but then again Im not doing it. If you have a system with storage and heating your dryer with water from storage it sould like a good way to save $$ if you dont want cloths hanging in your basement continuously..... Laundry is never done it just changes colors...
  15. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    I think the theory here is sound and that specific drier would have to be looked at throughly before going ahead. As shown in one of the links here, there are converted ones that you can buy. I also have a friend who's father converted his drier for use with an OWB. As long as you system has the heat to spare, it can operate as another zone triggered by the drier motor. I think the idea is definitely worth pursuing on this forum and when a good design is developed people can choose for themselves what is more practical. In larger households drying everything on the line or racks is not possible. We do so much laundry per day that 1-2 loads still get done in the drier, even with a couple loads on the line/rack. I for one want to eventually try it. Anyone have any leads on what coils these guys are using http://www.outdoorwoodfurnaceparts.com/new_page_8.htm?
  16. maurice

    maurice New Member

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    Don't get discouraged! If you don't want to change your own dryer until you are sure, just keep eyes open for a junk one. Just last week, son-in-law's sister gave him TWO washers and TWO dryers. SIL took his pick and gave the others to me for scrap out.

    I was trying to diagnose a gas dryer a while back - I checked the air temp in the dryer. It ranged from 170 to 200 degrees if I remember.

    Also, maybe just maybe some were trying to be funny with the clothes-lines? :)
  17. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    To do it yourself with low capital investment try hooking a car heater coil to the air intake of your electric dryer. Car heating coils vary in size and cost and are made to handle the pressure and heat but you would want to filter the air intake to prevent clogging the heater core. One other major concern would be whether or not you have corrosion inhibitors in your boiler system water supply.The sheet metal work would not be exhaustive but running the lines from the boiler might. If, as the one gent says, your heating elements stay off, you may see a savings in used electricity. Or as mentioned before the air going in would be warmer than would normally be introduced and may result in shorter heating element run times and resulting lower electricity bills. One other thing to consider is whether or not you can put your home made conversion kit in your laundry room with out taking out a wall as some laundry rooms (like mine) seem to have been built just for the washer and dryer. In the winter venting into the home can boost needed humidity and some local big stores carry kits with tubes and lint screen filters for that purpose and doing so would at least lower the negative pressure that would draw in outside air. As an added bonus you would be throwing warm air back into the home from energy that you were already producing. Unless you run the dryer 24-7 you probably won't see much difference in wood consumption. One diminutive bonus is the temperature from your boiler kit would be lower and less harsh on your clothes but would take longer to dry them. Front load washers generally get more water out than a top load. Probably don't need a new washer yet do you? You know the wife's birthday or one of those other days? A lot of jargon for conjecture. Good luck...Cave2k
  18. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    There was a very long thread on this topic last year. Basic problem is that effective clothes drying requires air temps around 250-260 degrees. Not going to get that with wood boiler :-(

    Racquel - I'll echo everyone else - don't get discouraged. Some ideas turn out not to work for one reason or another. However, even if only 10% turn out useful, that's a whole lot better than none. Keep questioning and thinking. There's plenty of things that haven't been thought of or haven't really been though out yet.

    Now if you want to talk about crushing disappointment, I spent time putting together a post with a picture and everything that I thought was really interesting. It sank without a trace - not a single reply. I still haven't recovered from the trauma.

    I was in Lyndonville last week. If I ever make it up to Island Pond I'll give a shout. Is the Buck and Doe still there?
  19. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

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    I'm sure I'm not alone in thoroughly enjoying ready all of your information even though sometimes I'm lost in all of the technology. I'm trying to learn about the computer control and information monitoring that you do with your web site but my data processing classes were a long, long time ago.
  20. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I MIGHT have you beat on this one. My data processing class (my only formal computer education) was a 7 week freshman introduction to Fortran - on punch cards.
  21. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

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    You are correct - I was just after punch cards - and if memory serves correctly - I think it was cobalt maybe
  22. WoodNotOil

    WoodNotOil Minister of Fire

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    I don't understand why this idea is being dismissed so easily. Are people saying they think this companies product is not for real: http://www.outdoorwoodfurnaceparts.com/new_page_8.htm

    They claim to do this using a "Hydronic Coil & Pump, In and Outlet for Hydronic Lines, and Name Brand Dryer" on an OWB. That means the water probably isn't over 180*. OR... are people saying that if it works it isn't any more efficient than electricity or nat. gas because of running the pump etc.

    I emailed the company asking if they ever sell just the conversion stuff without the dryer. I'll let you guys know what they say. I will also try to get details on the type of hydronic coil they use.
  23. free75degrees

    free75degrees New Member

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    I have not dismissed it. heck if all else fails maybe i'll just throw my clothes directly into the tarm!
  24. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    No one should dismiss an idea until they have a clear view that it works or doesn't.
  25. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    As long as they aren't synthetic fiber, this would work! You have to be quick to get them back out, though...

    I don't think anyone said that a hydronic dryer wouldn't work, but don't expect it to dry clothes as fast as a regular dryer. It would probably be roughly as fast as a regular dryer on low heat, but it will work!

    Pick up a used dryer on Craigslist or something and hack away. I would suggest a Whirlpool or Sears dryer as they have a small intake area with either a gas burner or an electric element in it. Stuff a heater core or something in it and try it out. Then post some pics back here and let us know how it works. I would love to see someone make this work.

    I'd do it, but for the time...

    Chris
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