Q -- have an old clothes dryer with very few features. It runs a long
time and the clothes are either still damp or too dry with wrinkles. Will a new
dryer work better and be more efficient? What features are most important?-Sandi
A --There are many significant
improvements in new clothes dryers that you will notice both in the effectiveness
of wrinkle-free drying and in your utility bills. The newest features should
virtually eliminate wrinkling and tangling problems that are common with older
dryers. And the utility bills savings are even greater.
People often do not realize how much it actually
costs to run a clothes dryer. Since a dryer is a heat-producing home appliance,
it is a natural energy guzzler from the start. Just take a look at the wheel
spinning in your electric meter when the dryer is running.
There is also a secondary energy loss when operating
a clothes dryer. Not only does it produce heat, but it also draws a lot of already
heated or cooled air out of your house. Whenever indoor air is sucked out of
your house, outdoor cold winter air or hot humid summer air is drawn indoors
through all the cracks around windows, doors, etc. This makes your furnace or
air conditioner run longer.
One of the key features to consider when selecting
a new clothes dryer is the type of moisture sensor used. This sensor determines
when the clothes are dry according to your dryness setting and when to shut
off the dryer's heater elements. Overdrying clothes is more common than underdrying
and is the primary cause of wrinkling, shrinking, and actual damage to the material
fibers. Also, if you have to iron, it wastes more time and energy.
The best dryer moisture sensor is an electronic design
that is mounted inside the drum. This moisture sensor actually contacts the
clothes to accurately determine their moisture level. There are several effective
designs, but one particularly effective design measures the electrical resistance
through the clothes to the dryer drum. As moisture is removed from the clothes,
the resistance increases for a precise dryness level.
Auto-reversing drum rotation is an excellent feature
to minimize wrinkling and is a good feature to consider. It changes the direction
of the rotation every several minutes to keep the clothes from tangling and
wrinkling. With the clothes tumbling freely, they dry quicker, thereby reducing
the amount of energy used and your utility bills.
Several other nice options include a no-wrinkle feature
that tumbles the clothes every few minutes after they are dry until you remove
them. An optional super-large lint filter helps if you forget to clean it. An
optional internal drying rack is helpful for drying delicate items.
To eliminate the indoor air loss from your home and
to use a dryer in an interior room, consider a condensing clothes dryer that
does not vent outdoors. You can locate the dryer anywhere in your home. These
dryers, more commonly used in Europe, recover the dryer heat to help heat your
home in the winter.
Since clothes drying actually starts with the washing
machine, it is critical to follow the washer manufacturer's operating instructions.
The final spin cycle is used to remove as much water from the clothes as possible.
If the washer is overloaded and less effective, the dryer must run longer to
remove the extra moisture left in the clothes.