THE PATHFINDER TO YOUR THUMBLE DRYER
The most important things to know
to choose meaningfully.
Tumble dryers are household appliances typically used after a washing cycle with the scope of removing the remaining moisture from the clothes. They are an alternative or complementary solution to traditional air drying that is weather dependent and requires more time, more effort and more space. Tumble dryers can be therefore especially helpful for people doing several loads per week and for people that live in small flats, where hanging and sun-drying bulky garments like bedding and curtains prove to be a real inconvenience. Additionally, clothes that hang outside can accumulate dust, pollen and mould spores which are a trigger to health problems such as asthma and allergies.
With smart tumble dryers, the benefits can go further. With these household appliances, you can start, stop or extend the drying cycles from remote, use your voice to operate them or monitor the efficiency of the drying cycles. Additionally, when connected to a smart grid, smart dryers can automatically start the programme when energy costs are at its' lowest value. As well, built-in sensors will monitor the moisture of the clothes to adjust the time and temperature applied to dry the load efficiently. They will notify you about the conditions of your laundry or the dryer itself.
Time saved thanks to the presence of moisture sensors that shut down the dryer when clothes are dry, avoiding in this way unnecessary comes and goes.
Quality of life improved thanks to the elimination of bacteria and allergens such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander in clothes.
Peace of mind increased thanks to the possibility of monitoring and controlling the dryer from remote and being notified when maintenance is required.
Savings increased thanks to automatic shut down of the dryer when clothes are dry, the possibility of scheduling the cycles during off-peak hours and the prevention of significant damages in the appliance through predictive maintenance.
Tumble dryers can use a variety of principles to get rid of the moisture from the laundry. The most relevant ones are the following:
Usually the most affordable, they heat air through an electric element and blow it through the load. The hot and damp air is then released outdoors through a duct (temporary solution) or a venting kit (permanent solution) and new air is heated.
Just as vented dryers, they heat air through an electric element and blow it through the load. However, the hot and damp air is in this case transformed into water that is collected into a small tank or removed through a drainpipe, avoiding the use of any duct or venting kit.
Although in comparison to condensing dryers, they will generally take longer times to dry a load, heat pump dryers are the most energy-efficient dryers. They use a similar functioning principle to condensing dryers but with two main differences. The first one is that instead of using an electric heating element to heat the air, they use a sealing system that generates heat by compressing a refrigerant. The second one is that instead of just condensing steam, a heat exchanger adds heat to the dry air before it enters the drum again, so the hot air is recycled.
They work the same way that heat pump dryers but, with the addition of another heating element, the drying process becomes faster and still use less energy than other types of dryers.
Unless you have a natural gas supply at home, you should not be considering this option. Heating air with gas is more efficient; they take less time to heat up and depending on the utility rates, natural gas can be cheaper than electricity. Remember that these dryers must be connected by a Gas Safe Registered installer.
To choose the best dryer for you, there are some main characteristics that you may want to consider:
Vented, Condensing, Heat Pump, Hybrid Heat Pump or Gas dryers. Decide what is best for your home. Energy efficiency, drying times or set-up easiness are some of the aspects you may want to consider at this step.
Dryers have similar weight and dimensions. Just make sure that the one that better satisfies your needs fits into the place you have thought for it. Do not forget about the space required by the pipes on the rear side of the dryer, as well as the space needed for the door to open correctly. At this point you may want to consider as well the position of the door hinge that defines the direction in which the door opens, or if they present reversible doors, allowing you to swap the direction and giving your further flexibility about where you install the appliance. If you are thinking about stacking the dryer over the washing machine, make sure that it will fit. We do not recommend that option unless devices are of the same brand and have been designed to offer this option, with the eventual need of an additional stacking kit.
One of the first things you need to decide is either the appliance will be freestanding or integrated. Freestanding dryers are the most common and can be placed anywhere close to drainage or sink (if you plan to use a drain pipe). Integrated or built-in dryers instead are placed behind a cupboard door, typically between kitchen cabinets.
Dryer loads generally move between 3kg and 11kg. The capacity that you need depends on the number of persons living at home, the weather conditions of your area and specific habits that you may have, like doing sport every day. If you are a couple, you may not need a machine that can handle loads of 10kg, but you might be ok with a smaller one. Larger capacities mean drying more at once and therefore saving time, increasing efficiency and decreasing costs, but remember, you need to fill the dryer.
Dryers are used quite frequently, and therefore the impact that they can have both on the environment and our pocket can not be neglected. Take a look at their energy consumption. All washing machines in Europe present an energy rating (the energy label) in which you can find this information together with their energy classes (A to G or A+++ to D). Even if you do not live in Europe, you might find this label on the product as its' use is being also adopted by non-EU countries.
Take a look at the noise emission of the dryer. As a reference, you can consider that when we talk, we stay between 50-60dB.
Some dryers present more than one dryer in one device so that you can parallelize two processes or use each of them for different purposes. For instance, you may want to use the main dryer to do the weekly laundry while keeping the secondary dryer, generally smaller, to dry daily, delicate or sports clothes.
Dryers come with a standard range of programmes like the ones for cotton, synthetics but they also offer a wide choice of special programmes. Some of these programmes are specific for sports clothes, allergen removal, delicate fabrics, wool, bed linen, duvets, curtains, etc.
Some dryers use steam cycles to eliminate bacteria and allergens such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander. At the same time, steam provides a higher degree of softness and fluffiness to the clothes decreasing the ironing efforts.
The presence of these sensors avoids the recurrent comes and goes to check if clothes are dry. They will tell the dryer to shut down once the clothes are dry, preventing damage and excessive energy use.
Most dryers will notify you once it has arrived the time to perform "standard" maintenance actions. These are repetitive actions that need to be done after a specific number of drying cycles, and it is known as preventive maintenance. Some other dryers will also detect and notify you of any potential problems like blocked filters that could trigger more severe damages, saving you money and time. This is known as predictive maintenance.
Some washing machines provide final users with information about the use of patterns and energy consumption data.