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How much energy is your dryer wasting?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Badfish740, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    I had a lot of hard metal duct (as in not the flexible stuff) left over from re-routing the ductwork in my basement to the sides rather than right down the middle to make more headroom. I had been wanting to upgrade from the cheap tin-foil crap that the previous owner of our house had used to vent the dryer to the outside. This job was particularly bad (splice in the middle, excess length, crappy cap on the outside, etc...) but it was just another one of those things that after three years in the house I still hadn't gotten to. Yesterday I took two 4" elbows and a long section of 4" pipe that used to deliver air to the bathroom from the main trunk line and combined them with a dryer vent I bought at Lowes. The old vent pipe was a fire waiting to happen, plus the buildup had slowed the airflow down to a crawl. Now the airflow is significantly stronger and clothes dry a lot faster. Granted I had most of the materials laying around so it hardly cost me anything, but to buy the materials brand new would still be very cheap. The energy savings are great as well as the safety factor.

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Badfish - sounds like a good job to me. If nothing else, this is a good reminder to those that ignore the dryer vent as a maintenance item. These things should be looked at annually, both for a safety issue and for the efficiency of the operation.
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I have built in cabinets around my washer dryer so to access the ducts I need to slide out the machines. That is bad for maintenance. Worse yet is that since you must hook up the duct before shoving the dryer into its cubby, there ends up being a long length of flex duct coiled up on the floor. A lint accumulation problem for sure. I recently cut an access through a cabinet to see the water shutoffs and I noticed that I could seriously shorten the flex duct.

    So I'm considering a rebuild as you describe. It shortened dry time? Significantly?
  4. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    The airflow out of the pipe increased significantly-the drying time decreased, but I wouldn't call it dramatic. As an example, with the old pipe in place if you put a full load of clothes in on high and set it to 50 minutes, usually some of the clothes would come out only "semi-dry" (ie: on a pair of pants most of the pants would be dry, but the insides of the pockets would be damp), and you'd have to put the load back in for an additional 15-20 minutes to completely dry it. Now the clothes come out dry in one 50 minute cycle.
  5. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    When we moved into our last house, the dryer vented into the crawl space. I put in a hard metal duct. When we had some work done on the house, the guys who did it replaced the hard metal duct with flexible duct. I don't know if we noticed a difference in dryer time or not.

    But here's something I do every few months. I got a dryer vent brush. It's a flexible thing, about 10 feet long, kind of like the coiled thing shown here:

    http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/pro...ogle&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=shopping

    So I took that and cut off the handle. Then I bent the end of it, because the thing was like 3" around, but we have 4" duct. I put the end in my cordless drill, and feed it into the duct as far as it will go from the outside. Then I go in and turn on the dryer and go back out and turn the drill on, while moving the thing in and out of the duct. It's amazing how much lint you can clean out. Once a year or so I pull the dryer out, disconnect the vent on the inside and do a similar cleaning (obviously without the dryer going).
  6. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Interesting idea-I could see it working on the smooth metal duct I installed but the flex stuff has too many nooks and crannies for it to get lodged in I think.
  7. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    one more thing to think about- use only aluminum pipe/not galvanized. it takes longer to heat up the gal. pipe to vent the waste out as opposed to alum. also, with alum being lighter, you are able to foil tape the pipe joints. with gal, you may be tempted to use screws for the pipe joints. the part of the screw on the inside of the pipe immediately becomes a lint catcher
  8. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Is it because of the guage?

    My dryer vent is about a foot long, including the space it takes to get out of the house. Once we switched to a front load washer the drying time was cut down by 2/3.
  9. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    man, talk about your ideal situation! mom's is like that also. when i got the dryer termination, it came with a aluminum pipe attached to the plastic termination. positioned the dryer, ran a spotter bit through the wall, enlarged the hole to 4", slid the termination with pipe attached right onto the back of the dryer-bingo!
    however, when the dryer is located in the basement or can't be vented in such an easy method, its time to start running aluminum pipe and elbows-typically, not more than 3 elbows (90's) in the run.

    on that short of a run (one foot) you could sneak by with galvanized. but i didn't......
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Since the dryer is grounded vis the chassis ground, and so long as you use metal ducting, I would think that the ducting is also grounded. If you use that white, plastic, felx stuff it usually has a metal wire in it that can be exposed where it is clamped.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I can't believe that anybody still has a dryer that uses a timer instead of a moisture sensor. It must be decades old. Imagine, for a moment, a dryer that stops wasting energy as soon as the clothes are dry. We also noticed a major drop in dry time after moving to a front load high speed spin washer. Unfortunately, the thing has had to be repaired twice now. Once for a busted belt and again for a clogged pump, seems you are supposed to use a big mesh bag to hold your socks.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Most dryers that have a n auto settings still have the timer.

    Our dryer has both. I use auto. My wife absolutely refuses too as she wants to know exactly when the run will finish so she can take the clothes out warm and fold before they wrinkle.

    Dont even ask about listening for the buzzer. I stopped trying to use logic in spousal arguments years ago and am less stressed for it ;)
  13. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    My dryer has a straight 16" run of pipe from the back of the dryer to the vent that is outside. I like having less than 1.5 ft of pipe, it's wicked easy to clean and doesn't get very gross to begin with. Now, my folks have 20', that's right FEET of pipe. THAT gets gross and clogged.
  14. Dingeryote

    Dingeryote Member

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    Not much really. More by chance than design though.
    When we built the house the plan was to put the washer and dryer in the basement, but a change in one bathroom, left room on the main floor with the dryer next to an outside wall.
    Just a foot long run of stainless(Leftovers from the produce handling operation) and one elbow duct.
    Heck for a clean out, I use a 20Ga bore brush on a cleaning rod, and just spin it around inside the run from the flapper chute outside.

    The downside is it's at the front of the house, and occaisionally the wifes posies and plants get lint blown all over them.

    I hate the sensor dry function our GE front loader. It seems to think "Moist"is dry, even when set for max dry.
    Had the repair tech out several times under warranty to address the problem and it's just a design flaw, so we end up running another sensor cycle after the first in the winter.
    Summertime the clothes line gets used. We aren't greenies by any stretch, just frugal.
  15. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    We got a new Samsung dryer. It's cool. Unfortunately you can't hear the "buzzer" which is really a chime, if you're more than one room away, and/or have the TV on.

    But it does have a "wrinkle prevent" feature. After the clothes are dry it stops, but then every once in a while it gives them a tumble. Until they're completely cooled. This would be twice as great if you had a smart meter and could dry your clothes on the cheap rate.

    The other nifty feature is a steam setting. If you do have clothes that are wrinkled, you can steam them. Probably less energy than ironing.
  16. dougstove

    dougstove Member

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    I put on one of the vent assemblies (Broan, I think) with a floating styrofoam ball that blows up out of the way when the dryer is venting, and falls back to block the hole when it is not venting.
    It made a big difference to the winter time temperature of the dryer; keeps the room a good bit warmer.
    Unfortunately the ball holder assembly is a bit delicate and lint clean out must be done carefully.
  17. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    Are you saying the front load washer loads are easier to dry? I do not know anything about the front load washers.
  18. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    I normally let the spouse stuff go in one ear and out the next, but last summer she made a comment that sort of made me think. After I had cleaned the dryer vent, she said I still don't think the dryer is working correctly. Something about the offhand way she said it made me think, so I pulled the front panel on our dryer and started looking inside the thing. I about crapped. The internals on our dryer were plugged with compacted lint. The blower housing, air passages etc. I had never cleaned them, thinking the vent was all I needed to keep clean. Guess I am lucky we didn't have a fire. At my age, you would think things around the house would no longer be surprising me. Something bad going on with my maintenance or frequency on the vent. In any case, the dryer itself will get checked when I do the vent in the future.
  19. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    Front load washers spin out a lot more moisture before they are done, so there is less water than needs to come out in the dryer. They are a big electricity saver, but pretty expensive up front cost.
  20. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Anyone needing to use a humidifier in winter would benefit from venting the dryer to another lolcation INSIDE the house. ITs saves on heat as well. My indoor humidity hovers around 23% in winter. Drier than a desert.
  21. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Actually the new upper end agitatorless top load washers are just as good as the front loaders and a few hundred less than a front loader. They're also direct drive like many front loaders.
  22. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    Neat, I hadn't even heard of that type yet. Learn something new every day.
  23. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Our Gibson top load washer bit the bullet last October (and while I could have repaired it and turned the air many colors while doing so), we replaced it with one of the new top load, low water, Maytag washers. So far so good, it doesn't use or leave anywhere near the amount of water the other one did. You have to be certain you put the detergent (he compatible) in the washer first. The replacement shortened our laundry time as the dryer doesn't have to work as hard.

    I've got to pull both the washer and dryer out to clean things out these days, darn basement laundry, used to have things direct vented with about a foot of pipe at the other house.

    Maybe I could take a clue from pellet stove cleaning and rig up an adapter so I can use a leaf blower.
  24. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Minister of Fire

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    Two other wins (for cleaning out and/or upgrading your drver vent):

    - it puts less wear&tear; on your clothes, since they're exposed to the heat and tumbling for less time

    - it's more convenient (not having to wait so long for your clothes to be dry)
  25. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    That's a great idea using the leaf blower for that. I use ours to clean our gutters and used it last weekend to clean the interior of my truck. I just upened all the doors and let her have it.

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