Tumble Dryer Energy Usage FAQs

Unless you live in the more arid regions of South Africa, chances are you have a tumble dryer. And whether you’re dealing with tropical humidity, winter rains, or simply a lack of outdoor laundry space, you know how handy this appliance can be. The only problem we have with these fabulous machines is that they tend to be a little greedy which is why we’re exploring the topic of tumble dryer energy usage.

If you’ve ever wondered how much money you’re spending on your tumble dryer and whether there’s a better way to use it, this article is for you. We’ll answer some frequently asked questions about tumble dryers, from how much electricity they use and how to use them more efficiently.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Tumble Dryer?

Costs vary between appliances, but you can work out your own costs by using an energy calculator

As an estimate, Saving Energy gives the following example:

“… if the label indicates that the tumble dryer will use 3.15 kWh per cycle and where you live a kWh of electricity costs R2 (including VAT), the cost of running the tumble dryer that you use for 6 cycles a week will be R1965.60 for the year.”

{Energy Consumption Per Cycle}

x {Number of cycles per week}

x {Number of weeks in a year}

x {Cost of Electricity in your municipality}

= Annual running cost of the appliance

3.15 kWh x 6 cycles per week x 52 weeks per year x R2 per kWh = R1965.60

Essentially, the higher the kWh number on your appliance – whether a condenser dryer or a heat pump –  the more electricity it will use. However, there are several other factors that come into play if you’re looking to save money on your electricity bills. 

Here are some FAQs which deal with this exact issue. 

Will using my tumble dryer on a cooler setting save money?

Yes, using your tumble dryer on a cool setting will save you money. The heat generated by the tumble dryer is what costs money, so using a lower temperature setting requires less energy but will take longer to dry your clothes.

Depending on your laundry items, it’s wise to choose a heat setting that is warm enough to dry them efficiently but won’t use unnecessary heat – and energy.

Does drying clothes on the washing line mean I can don’t need a tumble dryer?

From an energy efficiency and a carbon footprint perspective, hanging your clothes on the washing line is ideal; clean energy at it’s finest. Fresh air and warm sun will dry your laundry for free. Nevertheless, there are times when the weather doesn’t allow for line drying, such as in the rainy months or when it’s very humid. There is also the safety issue; not all of us can leave our clothes out during the day whilst we’re at work. 

Some choose to line-dry their laundry until it is just slightly damp and then pop it in the dryer for a short tumble to remove creases and complete the drying process. This is an excellent way to save costs while still enjoying the convenience of your dryer. 

What are some additional ways to use less electricity when tumble drying?

  • Drying laundry items straight out of the washing machine will take ages and use a lot of power. Rather let them air dry when possible, or be sure to run them on a longer spin cycle to get as much moisture out as possible. 
  • Use the timer. This will ensure that the machine only runs for as long as it needs to, and you’re not paying extra because you’ve been distracted by other chores. 
  • Try to do your tumble-drying loads one after the other. The residual warmth in the dryer from the previous load means that your appliance doesn’t need to work as hard on the heating front. 
  • Clean out your filter frequently. The free flow of air makes for a more efficient and happier appliance. 
  • Dry similar fabrics together. Heavy fabrics, as we know, take longer to dry. So, to avoid longer cycles, keep the lighter items separate from thicker ones.
  • Untangle your laundry before starting a cycle. Twisted and bunched items take longer to dry and can get damaged in the process. Additionally, if you’re drying sheets or duvet covers, take them out and shake them up during the cycle to keep them untangled. 
  • Don’t overload the dryer. This only serves to work the appliance harder than necessary and won’t dry your laundry any quicker. You’ll also find that your clothing comes out creased, which kind of defeats the purpose.
  • All dryers are energy star certified. Therefore, look for one with an A rating where possible.
  • Be sure to service your dryer regularly. A happy, healthy appliance will use less power overall.

Read the manual

It’s also worth taking careful note of your user manual. For example, details of the Smeg 7kg Dryer notes:

  • Energy consumption of the standard cotton programme at full load: 4.15 KWh
  • Energy consumption of the standard cotton programme at partial load: 2.33 KWh

Manufacturers are always looking for ways to improve tumble dryer energy usage and ensure that their customers are getting the best out of them, so be sure to note their recommendations.

Smeg 7kg White Tumble Dryer - D3T7WSA

Smeg 7kg White Tumble Dryer – D3T7WSA

Tumble Dryer Energy Usage Made Simple

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to save money when using tumble dryers, and many people don’t realise it. By following these simple tips, you can cut down your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint!

If you’re in the market for a new tumble dryer, be sure to read the reviews on the product you’re interested in. And don’t forget to check its energy rating.  (Aim for A but there are still great deals with a rating of B or C.)

We look forward to seeing you soon at your nearest Hirsch’s store.