How do electric tumble dryers work

Clothes dryer: tips on buying and power consumption

No question about it: laundry consumes the least amount of energy when drying in the air. But especially when there is a lack of space and in winter, a tumble dryer is convenient. In order to use as little electricity as possible, you should ask yourself the following questions when buying a new device:

Technology: heat pump dryer or condenser dryer?

This question can be answered clearly: Buy a device with a heat pump. The higher acquisition costs pay off after a few years if you use the device frequently.

Condenser dryers without heat pump technology or even exhaust air dryers consume considerably more electricity than modern heat pump dryers. Above all, exhaust air dryers are no longer state-of-the-art because they consume too much electricity. In addition, the humid air from the device must be directed to the outside via a hose.

Energy label: A +++ or A ++?

Some electrical appliances have been given a new energy label, but the tumble dryers have not. They keep the classification into the old energy efficiency classes A +++ to D.

Is A +++ always better than A ++? There is no general answer to this question. The most economical tumble dryers have the energy efficiency class A +++. They consume the least amount of electricity and thus save carbon dioxide compared to devices with a lower rating. But compare the information on the actual annual consumption figures, because there can be big differences here, even in the same efficiency class.

Whether the energy efficiency class A +++ is actually worthwhile for you, however, also depends on how often you run the device. When specifying the annual electricity consumption, it is assumed that you switch the dryer on 160 times a year: That is 3 dryer uses per week. If you use the device less often, for example because you prefer the clothesline in spring and summer, then a device with an A ++ energy label may be financially more profitable for you.

Because A ++ devices are often cheaper to buy than A +++ devices. And if you don't use the dryer regularly, with an average service life of 12 years, the additional costs for the more expensive device may not be offset by the lower power consumption.

According to Stiftung Warentest, the bill looks clear from an ecological point of view: If all customers bought A +++ models instead of tumble dryers with A ++ for a year, they could roughly save around 16 gigawatt hours of electricity per year - that's as much as a small town with around 10,000 inhabitants consumes a year . The experts conclude from this that the additional costs for economical dryers are worthwhile for the environment and the climate.

Capacity: 7 to 8 kilos are enough for a family of 4

When buying, pay attention to the capacity of the device: For small households with 1 to 2 people, a dryer with a capacity of up to 7 kilograms of damp laundry is usually sufficient. 8 kilos should be sufficient for 3 to 4 people, and 9 kilos can also be useful.

Dryer running time: humidity control is better

Humidity-controlled tumble dryers work particularly efficiently, as they switch off automatically as soon as the set level of humidity is reached for the laundry. Time-controlled devices, on the other hand, generally stop after a time set by the user and thus usually run longer than necessary.

Noise level: Better quiet

If the dryer is in the living area (for example in the kitchen or bathroom), the device should not be louder than 65 decibels. The information on the noise level can be found on the energy label (see above).

Tips: Save energy when drying and avoid the risk of fire

  • Spin the laundry in the washing machine as dry as possible; it is best to select a spin speed of 1,400 revolutions per minute. This is the only way to do the important preparatory work to save energy in the tumble dryer.
  • Use the capacity of your device as much as possible for each drying process.
  • Regularly clean the lint filter and the condenser. In the long run, it can be (fire) dangerous if lint and dust are deposited on electrical conductors and contacts. You should also prevent outside dust from entering the dryer. Therefore, the device should not be placed on a carpet. In addition, you should regularly clean the area around the device and keep the ventilation openings free.
  • You should never switch off tumble dryers using time-controlled or remote-controlled sockets. Because at the end of the drying cycle, the dryers cool the laundry. If the appliance is switched off too early, the laundry can ignite itself. This is especially true for dryers without heat pumps and exhaust air dryers. You work at a particularly high temperature.
  • Caution: Not all materials can be electrically dried. Delicate fabrics such as wool shrink in the tumble dryer. Look for the care label:

This content was created by the consumer centers in North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia for the network of consumer centers in Germany.