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How much electricty does your clothes dryer use?

19 November 2009 10,545 views 3 Comments
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How much electricity does your natural gas clothes dryer use?

How much electricity does your natural gas clothes dryer use?

Let’s be clear:

Even if you have a natural gas dryer, it still has an electrical cost. That is, it still uses some level of electricity to run. The heaviest electrical cost is the motor which rotates the cylinder and tumbles the clothes. Electricity in a gas powered dryer does not provide heat.

My natural gas dryer, rated at 6A @ 120VAC, in theory, consumes 720w of power.

This comes right from the label on the dryer.

Putting the electrical consumption to the test

Of course, I no longer believe labels. I want to see it for myself.

My dryer has several settings, but knowing that in a gas dryer the temperature itself doesn’t matter, I was able to reduce my readings to a few. And the only way for energy consumption to increase is to increase the amount of time the dryer operates.

With that in mind, here are the readings:

  • Idle, consumes 7w
  • Startup, consumes 750w
  • After a few seconds, this drops to 280w
  • The light consumes 5w

A few observations.

First, what in a dryer would consume 7 watts when in idle? The light isn’t on, and there’s no LED readout. There’s something in the dryer that continuously draws energy. This is bad electrical design.

Second, when the motor first starts it uses almost 2.5 times the energy it uses when continuously run.

Calculating electrical cost

Assume that I do 10 loads of laundry a week. Each load takes an hour. That’s 10 hours of consumption. And at $0.10 per kwh, here’s my cost:

((280×10)/1000)*0.10=$0.28

That’s much lower than if we assumed the label electrical cost of 720 watts drawn:

((720×10)/1000)*0.10=$0.72

But now we need to include the nonsense constant cost incurred by the 7w of continuous power drawn:

((7×710)/1000)*0.10=$0.497, or $0.49

So, it costs more electricity to keep your laundry dryer plugged in all month than it costs to actually run it for 10 hours, in terms of electrical consumption.

Anyone have any thoughts on why 7w of power is needed when the dryer isn’t running? I’d love to hear them.

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3 Comments »

  • Maytag Dryer Parts said:

    I think if people know how much money they lost every month on passive power like this, there would be a country-wide uproar. The worst is AC adapters. Those little rascals use power even if they aren’t plugged into the device they are supposed to charge (Cellphone, Nintendo, etc)

  • ebot said:

    Thanks very much.

  • Free Gas Card said:

    I think this can apply to other appliances as well. That extra 7w also puzzles me. Well it only proves the importance of keeping our appliances unplugged whenever its not in use.
    Thanks for this article, it gives me some realization.

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