1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Hot water clothes dryer ?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by buddylee, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. buddylee

    buddylee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    94
    Loc:
    middle georgia
    Haven't been able to find much info about these. Is there a commercially made one available ? I would prefer to buy one but not opposed to building one if possible. Any ideas ?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,597
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Hmmm... interesting. What kind of water temps is your Hardy set to?
  3. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,022
    Loc:
    Missouri Ozarks
    You might look at district heating systems. I recall we provided steam to laundries and I was told they used it for more than heating water for wash. Steam delivered would definitely convert to sensible heat sufficient to dry laundry. I really don't know the temperature inside a normal home dryer. Me thinks the heat exchanger from hot water to air would be the clinker.

    Our home circumstance, climate, and house configuration makes it easy for us. We went to the dollar store and bought a clothes line for two dollars (?). I know that is not your question and that you may not have the handy situation we enjoy. But boy howdy, the pay back on that $2 has been darn good. Build-It-Solar has a great collection of ideas for those able to dry clothes outside.
  4. buddylee

    buddylee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    94
    Loc:
    middle georgia
    I can run it up to 180 but I don't see why it would have to be that hot in order to dry clothes. I've never worked on a dryer but I think I'm gonna get a non-working one just to take it apart and see how it's put together. Figured a little coil mounted with a blower behind it. No idea if this would work.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    14,597
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    You will probably still need the tumbler to be operational and the blow (as you said). Essentially, you would be replacing the heating element with pipes or a heat exchanger.

    If you get an old one to tear apart, make sure it is an electric one. The gassers are a different critter. The older electrics just had the back wall covered in heating element (think toaster over). I would think it would be fairly easy to replace the heating element with a copper coil or some such thing.
  6. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    428
    Loc:
    Cape Vincent, NY
    You will probably need about 16,500 btu to equal an electric dryer.
  7. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    294
    Loc:
    upstate ny
    built one many yrs ago. worked but not well enough. Dryers get up to 280 degrees to dry cloths quickly. Trying to supply constant 180 from a wood boiler takes a lot of wood, not really worth the hassle and takes too long to dry stuff. Cloths line in the boiler rm works great and keeps the humidity up.
  8. guy01

    guy01 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Messages:
    180
    Loc:
    northern PA
  9. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    695
    Loc:
    SW WI
    The commercial companies make them for steam and they still have a massive heat exchanger (plus filter and recirculation IIRC?). For a grand I'd take my chances with a few heater cores in an old gas dryer, or the holy grail, the condensing/dehumidifiying refrigeration clothes dryer.
  10. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,556
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    I notcied a reference in to "purchasing a hot water dryer" in an article about the Green Mountain Club's efforts to go renewable at their headquarters complex. One of ther employees posted about the installation of a wood boiler on this site a few years back. I think his name is Pete Ketchum, but dont know what the goes by on the site. If you are serious, if may be worth giving him a call at GMC.
  11. dougstove

    dougstove Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Messages:
    203
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    When I lived in Sweden we had drying cabinets; the clothes either hung on hangers or sat on coated metal racks. The hot air passed through with a small fan, as I recall. They work fine, a tumbler is not necessary.
  12. buddylee

    buddylee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Messages:
    94
    Loc:
    middle georgia
    I spoke with an a small appliance repair man I know today and he said he would keep an eye out for a suitable used dryer. He said there was a brand that would suit me and should easily be modified.
  13. markmudd

    markmudd New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    44
    Loc:
    central MO
    Been thinking about this too for my wood boiler. My electric dryer has a round duct that you could put a small copper coil or a small heating core type radiator into just before hot air goes into drum. It might take longer to dry, but would spin the meter less. Would need to install switch on the electric element so it would not turn on. The drying closet sounds good if you had space.
  14. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Heater Cores from big SUV's (Like suburbans/excursions) or radiators from small cars?
  15. nate379

    nate379 Guest

  16. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    518
    Loc:
    Nebraska
    I've thought about trying this as well. One would think a heater core from a large automobile would work. You would not even need to disable the heat element, just run it on air dry. I think even my computerized dryer allow for a timed air dry setting. If I wanted to utilize the humidistat, it looks like I would have to run a switch to a contactor to disable the heating element. That would shut it down when clothes are dry. One would have to get create an adapter out of sheet metal to form from the intake to the heater core but it certainly looks like it could be done.
  17. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    290
    Loc:
    SW Montana
  18. Tatnic Corners

    Tatnic Corners Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Southern ME
    What about an air exchanger that saps the heat from the outgoing dryer air?
  19. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Messages:
    2,759
    Loc:
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    It could certainly be done. The sticking point is the lint. I designed on which opens entirely to facilitate removing the lint.
    Issues; Copper would work best, but is expensive.
    Aluminum would work almost as well as copper. Copper can be readily soldered, aluminum can be soldered or welded with difficulty and the exact proper materials.
  20. GaryGary

    GaryGary Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    290
    Loc:
    SW Montana
    Hi,
    I suppose a separate and easily cleaned lint filter could be placed up stream of the heat exchanger.

    Another option might be to do a coaxial pipe counter flow heat exchanger. That is, make the dryer outlet duct somewhat longer, and enclose it inside a slightly larger duct. Blow air through the larger duct with the flow in the opposite direction of the flow in the dryer duct. I wonder how many feet of coaxial duct would be needed to pick up a worthwhile amount of heat? Seems like a fun experiment to try.
    Might have to make provisions for collecting condensation depending on how cool the dryer vent air gets.

    We have vented our dryer inside off and on for several years. In our very dry climate, it works well. The moisture that would be a problem is some climates is actually a plus where we are. We just use a couple of panty hose as to filter lint -- not the most elegant, but it works fine.

    One thing that some people don't think about is that not only does a dryer heat up a bunch of air and exhaust it outside without using the heat, but that air exhausted outside has to be pulled into the house somewhere, so you not only lose the dryer heat, but you have to heat up a bunch of outside air to replace the vented air. Has to be a better way.

    Like the new forum software.

    Gary
  21. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,425
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    I've been considering making one. I'm affraid the clothes would take to long to dry to satisfy the wife. I may still make one for the fun of it and put it in the shop for a back up and mabey dry some heavy stuff that were not in a hury to dry. I have a dryer with a 4 or 5" tube that has a heating element in it. I was thinking of removing the element and replacing with a copper one like used in a domestic hot water tank. I have storage so suppling constant 185 degree water wouldn't be a problem.
  22. gtjp

    gtjp New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    23
    Loc:
    north midwest
    Howdy:
    Thermal Energy Transfer

    USA COIL or THE COIL CO, PA
    can work backwards from BtuH and tell you in a 2-row fintube (coil, as called, looks like a radiator you may know)
    of say 17" x 20" in a (lint-filtering) box with some chosen entering 140-deg/ air leaving at 150-deg, having 160-deg fluid at say 10 gpm flowing in to the HX coil... (pick diff... or calculate:
    500(constant) x 10-deg diff[160-150fluid ] x10 GPM is 50,000 BtuH (5gpm, 25,000 btuh, or a 5-deg diff at 10 gpm: also 25,000 btuh)
    Those coil cos can more closely discuss quickly how many btuh will be available...

    our gas dryer runs on low at "164 degrees" booklet states in chamber-drum...
    gas btuh on low is higher than a 5kw 16000 btuh... ? guessing 20,000, actual.

    ?
    as a question of WORK DONE:
    I have found in radiator heating from ~ 124 deg at 3gpm per 10,000 btuh, there is a need for about a 15 sq ft contact hx in coaxial fluid, or shell-tube hx's... for just a good 50,000 btuh///
    (117 degrees returning to heater coil ~ x 15gpm, 1/6hp NRF- closed or B&G PL-36-open air or GFos up26-116F<iron> circulators www.FlowCenterProducts.com )
    And about 400 sq inches or 20x20 2-row air fin tube say in a furnace from the HW boiler at 160-deg; but the coil companies can derive a comparrison if you make up some objective examples and find btuh's desired.. ( gas dryer labels)-

    About 60% MORE hx sq ft is needed in air for 140-150 deg fluids than 180-deg fluids, in some things used already for heating spaces... but there are charts about that on heat exchangers, and those with software ready to advise freely.

    Hope you save a bundle !

Share This Page