Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

I had sort of a wild idea today. I'm sure there's some folks besides us that might have an electric clothes dryer, or your wife would like to have one. But the load it places on your power system is tremendous. Our drawed 20 amps on one leg of the 240 split phase, the other leg drawed 23 amps.

The heating element itself is 4,800 watts (240 volt, 20 amps). It is a 12 ohm heating element. The other 3 amps on the other leg is used to run the motor and controls. The idea I got is this - clothes will dry on a clothes line by themselves with very little heat required - just nice dry air blowing over them. Well, they will in a clothes dryer too.

I took the back off the dryer and looked at it. No wiring diagram for it, but it wasn't that hard to figure out. The one leg that powers the motor and controls is required. But the only thing the split phase actually powers in it is that element. The second leg goes thru a bunch of limit switches (to shut it off in the event the blower motor would die or something). I simply pulled that leg off and ran a neutral wire instead so the element now runs on 120 volt instead of 240. This cuts the element's power draw to 1,200 watts.

My wife tested it with a load of clothes. It takes twice as long to dry as it did with the big heat. But it works fine and the dryer only pulls 13 amps on 120 volt! The 1,200 watts of heating supplies just enough heat to drive the moisture off the clothes in the tumble drum. A typical load of clothes would take 1 hour before. Now it takes 2 hours. But my wife don't care as long as it works. We cut our energy consumption from 5.16 kWh to dry a load of clothes to 3.12 kWh to get the same job done. And the inverter runs it fine, without generator support!

I know a lot of folks use propane clothes dryer (if they have one). But I like the electric because I can use RE power to run it (or fossil fuel power if we have to use the generator). With a propane unit you don't have that option. That's why (besides my wife refusing to allow propane in the house) we have all electric appliances.

I wonder how come appliance manufacturers haven't figured out you can use 60% of the energy to get the same job done by simply lowering the temperature inside that thing and running it a bit longer?
--
Chris
«1

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    You're completely correct, Chris. On a normal Summer's day you've got low humidity, a gentle breeze, and only about 80F temp. So who needs 5kW of heating element cooking the clothes?

    Some dryers actually have a setting to reduce the heat. There's no reason why you can't add one if it hasn't got it. Cutting the Voltage in half will certainly do it!

    If you wanted to get crazy-scientific about it you could measure the air temp generated by the element & fan and adjust it down to gentle-dry conditions. At some point there will be the ideal mixture of heating and tumbling so that it doesn't end up taking too long to dry them and thus use more power than if you crank the heat up.

    There's some fancy dryers that are made for delicate items which just hang them in a kind of closet and blow warm air gently through so they don't get tumbled either.

    We've always dried at the cabin on the screen-in porch. If you bring it in next to the fire it dries fast and stiff because there's no air circulation to keep the fabric flexing.

    For some reason breeze-dried clothes smell better and are softer than force-dried.

    Got an electric dryer here in town. You've inspired me to cut its power down. After all, got to save on that $40 a month electric bill! :D
  • vtmapsvtmaps Posts: 3,738Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    I believe that by tumbling longer you extract more of your clothing as lint (which reduces the life of your clothes). --vtmaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    'coot - we use the clothes line in the summer too. We only use the dryer in the winter, or when it's unsuitable outside for drying clothes. Before we got the dryer we used to have a clothes line in the laundry room and the heat from the wood furnace would dry them. But they got really stiff.

    My wife said too that it's probably better for the clothes than the super hot heat baking them. She said she don't care if it takes two hours because it's not like she stands there watching them dry anyway. When it beeps she knows they're done. And the beep still works ;)
    --
    Chris
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid
    vtmaps wrote: »
    I believe that by tumbling longer you extract more of your clothing as lint (which reduces the life of your clothes).

    I don't know that that will make much difference. I probably only own one shirt that don't have welding burn holes in it. And my wife looks good in see-thru stuff. If it gets a little too much see-thru she can go buy some new clothes :cool:
    --
    Chris
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Posts: 873Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    After drying on a line, either outside or near wood heat, you can just tumble them in the dryer with no heat. The results will feel the same "dryer-ed" clothes, but with nearly no power used. (my job)

    Ral;ph
  • MangasMangas Posts: 548Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    We run a propane dryer but the house is wired with an electric circuit/outlet for an electric one.

    I figure I've got enough capacity to have one but was always afraid of the added amps/surge it would add with the stove's ignitor strip, microwave, well and propane furnace w/ignitor strip were all running at the same time.

    Right now, everything runs fine but without the added draw of an electric dryer.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • Volvo FarmerVolvo Farmer Posts: 209Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    vtmaps is correct, all that tumbling beats the snot out of your clothes and makes lint. I believe the reason the element is 5000 watts on dryers is so that the drying cycle time approximates the washing cycle time. A working mom with four kids and six loads of clothes to wash on Sunday ain't gonna wait two hours between loads.

    What are you using for a washing machine? If you can get a front loader that spins at 1800 rpm (cough, cough.. Asko :roll:) your clothes will dry noticeably faster. All the Asko dryers I have seen also have a lower wattage heating element than their American counterparts because the clothes come out of the washer with far less moisture in them.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    VF, that's probably true that a working mom with lots of laundry is not going to want to wait for two hours to dry a load of clothes. But for us there's only two of us left here because our two girls grew up and left to be Queen of their own empires. So for us it will work OK. Our washer is an old Whirlpool that's at least 15 years old. From what it says on the front of it, it must have a V-8 with a 5 speed in it:

    Attachment not found.

    The dryer is newer, and it's an "Estate by Whirlpool".
    --
    Chris
  • RCinFLARCinFLA Posts: 1,280Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    The dryer heating element does not have 100% duty cycle. There is a thermostat that toggles the heater off and on to maintain a certain heat level.

    You have to capture the actual kWH's to figure any savings. You probably just forced the heater running on 120 vac to stay on longer trying to get to the thermostat trigger temp.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    Some dryers also have the ability to reduce their tumbling: "half revs", but it will probably be labeled "delicate". So if you have a fancy enough machine it is possible to achieve the same effect by setting the controls differently. Not that the manual is going to explain what happens at different settings: it just says "use this setting for ..."

    It does seem that putting a bit of effort into dryer design could reduce their power consumption while still being able to get the job done. But as with refrigerators manufacturers just don't bother.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,788Super Moderators admin
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    For drying--look at an Extractor--relatively cheap and fast... Much less water so clothes air dry (or drier) much quicker.

    Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric (and extractor)

    For the Wind-Sun forum of laundry (only more so)--this forum was a fun read when I was looking for new washer/drier.

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/laundry/

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    With the element on 240 volt the only time it cycles off is if using the AutoSense drying feature, which wastes energy in the first place. The AutoSense has a sensor on the back of the drying drum that senses moisture when the clothes touch it, and it don't work unless there's a very large load of clothes in it. So it keeps on tumbling and tumbling and tumbling and never turns the dryer off so it gets REALLY hot. I've cleaned that sensor and it still don't work unless you have a big enough load in it to have clothes touching the sensor all the time.

    On a normal timed drying cycle the element runs constantly until the timer reaches "Cool Down". The limit switch that cycles the element on and off is in the dryer warm air exhaust. Evaporating water requires heat input from the air so the air is cooled, and therefore never shuts it off. And the final drying is done during the last 20 minute cool down.

    So with our particular model of dryer, running the element cooler saves 60% on the energy use. And that was with a full load of my jeans that I wear working around here - and those are very hard to get completely dry. It did the job just fine in 2 hours, where it normally takes 1 hour to dry those.

    I'm happy with it, because the generator doesn't need to run anymore to operate the clothes dryer. So for our off-grid home that means being able to do the job totally with solar and wind power, and cutting our use of fossil fuels too.
    --
    Chris
  • Volvo FarmerVolvo Farmer Posts: 209Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    There is so much bad information in this thread about how an electric clothes dryer works that I don't know where to begin.

    Cariboocoot, Whirlpool had a dryer about thirty years ago that the tumbling speed could be changed, the idea was complicated and did not work well so it was abandoned. The idea is to grab the clothes, lift them to the top of the drum, and let them fall through the hot air to the bottom. Every single dryer manufacturer that I am aware of tumbles the drum at the same speed no matter what cycle is selected.

    Chris, you are incorrect as to how the Whirlpool autosense works. It has nothing to do with the heat, and it actually works pretty well, unless you have only one or two items in the drum. The autosense only advances the timer when it senses no more moisture in the clothes. The clothes do not have to touch the sensor all the time, there is a circuit board that decides how often the wet clothes have to touch the sensor before they are considered dry. The heat is only controlled by a bi-metal thermostat. The cool down, or "wrinkle guard" in the automatic cycle is often much longer than in the times cycle though.

    The element does not run constantly, it only is energized until the exhaust temperature reaches 155 degrees. With a full load of wet clothes, it takes a good twenty to thirty minutes to get the exhaust temperature that high, but if you run the dryer empty, the heat will cycle off within the first five minutes.
    We cut our energy consumption from 5.16 kWh to dry a load of clothes to 3.12 kWh to get the same job done.

    A little math check here. You are not saving 60%, you are saving 40%. Also, your clothes are getting worn out faster, because you are beating the snot out of them for two hours in the dryer. I understand that it is a good thing not to have the generator run while drying clothes, and if running the heater at 120V allows you do do that, great.

    If you really want to improve the efficiency of the laundry chore, a front load washer is where the gains are traditionally made. They use 1/3 the hot water and spin more water out of the clothes so the dryer doesn't have to work as hard. If you pump all your water and heat all your water for free, perhaps that old top loader you have is fine, but I would never personally go back to one after seeing how nifty and efficient a front loader is.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    Hmm. Interesting.
    I wonder why they bother to put all those adjustable controls on dryers if they don't do anything? Amazing how they all work alike and apparently not the way we experience them working. Must be the greatest PR job ever.

    This not-so-great Kenmore here has five temperature settings on it. It also has "Electronic Fabricmaster" which I assume adjusts the humidity sensitivity since it says "More Dry" and "Less Dry" on it. There is also a "Wrinkle Guard" segment and a "Timed Dry" segment and an "Air" segment for just fluffing things up. It is far more complex than the dryer at the old house which had a timer, an "auto sense" (moisture detection control), and nothing else. That one I presume managed only to keep the heating element below the "inferno" level. Oddly enough it worked better than this one (had better air flow). And yes we did used to have one with "half revs" on it for "delicates". It figures that was a gimmick that did more harm than good.

    It does point out exactly what I said before: there's obviously room for improvement.

    Personally I try to avoid buying clothes that are easily worn out by being dried in a dryer. I can destroy them fast enough while wearing 'em.
  • inetdoginetdog Posts: 3,121Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid
    Hmm. Interesting.
    I wonder why they bother to put all those adjustable controls on dryers if they don't do anything? Amazing how they all work alike and apparently not the way we experience them working. Must be the greatest PR job ever.

    This not-so-great Kenmore here has five temperature settings on it. It also has "Electronic Fabricmaster" which I assume adjusts the humidity sensitivity since it says "More Dry" and "Less Dry" on it. There is also a "Wrinkle Guard" segment and a "Timed Dry" segment and an "Air" segment for just fluffing things up. It is far more complex than the dryer at the old house which had a timer, an "auto sense" (moisture detection control), and nothing else. That one I presume managed only to keep the heating element below the "inferno" level. Oddly enough it worked better than this one (had better air flow).

    The modern dryers with an actual humidity or moisture sensor can process its output in all sorts of ways, using the solid-state control board.

    The old fashion (an reliable) dryers with just a mechanical timer "cheated" but did it in a very predictable and repeatable way:

    When set on one of the auto-dry settings, the timer motor would only run once the exhaust air reached a preset temperature (the same as the one set for the thermostatic control on the heater??). From that point on, the "dryness" setting on the dial just controlled how much longer the timer ran before shutting off.

    The effect was that the clothes in the dryer had to reach a low enough moisture content that they allowed the exhaust temp to rise high enough. This would happen very quickly with a light load and/or a high temperature setting and less quickly with a heavy load or a low temperature setting. From that point on, the remaining time for a given dryness level would also vary with the load and temperature, but you could use your own pattern sensing brain to decide what dryness setting to use for different kinds of loads. The initial "wait" time for the temperature to rise took out the uncertainty of how dry the spin cycle had gotten the clothes. :-)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    I'm not really concerned much about wearing clothes out in a dryer. If the clothes can't handle being tumbled at lower temp for 2 hours, they can't handle being blown in the wind on a clothes line for 6-8 hours either, much less wearing them. In that case I'll buy new ones that can handle it.

    The dryer ain't designed right in the first place. It has a blower that sucks air out of one side of the drum in the rear, and heated air is drawn in thru a hole on the other side in the rear. It's basically luck if the clothes fall thru any hot air. Otherwise it just comes in one side, across the back and right out the other side. Most of the heat being generated is wasted.

    That AutoSense drying thing is bogus. It uses way more energy than just a timed cycle.

    My wife washed and dried a load of her lighter stuff (shirts and pants) this morning. The lighter fabrics dried much quicker at the lower heat than my heavy jeans. It only took an hour for her lighter stuff. Using AutoSense would've tumbled them more than that because they would have to get to Meltdown Temp to get the timer to move, and then it would turn on and off and tumble them for a few minutes at a time long after that.

    As long as my wife is happy with it, and it does the same job using less energy, I'm sticking with it. It drastically reduces the load on our system with a single inverter so we don't have to manage loads to prevent overload in the event the well pump starts or we turn something else on that's big while it's running. Electric clothes dryers are second only to (probably) electric space heating for raw power draw.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    Chris;

    The air-flow issue is the same one I've seen on "good" vs. "not-so-good" dryers. It seems they design them on the principle that if you throw enough heat at the clothes they'll dry - eventually.

    Since the goal here is to evaporate water off the clothes the process should be one of A). making sure the air is of low humidity (heating) and B). making sure there's lots of air exchange so the moisture in the clothes is picked up and carried away (tumbling is part of this process).

    They could possibly adapt a little 'vacuum cleaner technology' and provide a cyclonic lint trap that wouldn't plug and block airflow, and would be easy to see and empty as needed. That and making sure there is a definite air flow through the drum (not the 'wherever' flow you're getting) would help.

    Dryers have energy labels on them now, so presumably it is in manufacturer's best interests to improve energy efficiency. Maybe we should go look at some new dryers, eh? :D

    Perhaps those "closet dryers" work better than any of the others.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    'coot - it seems like shopping for new appliances like washers and dryers don't happen until one of either:
    - starts making weird noises
    - it don't turn on
    - it turns on but something don't go around in it
    - smoke comes out of it someplace

    --
    Chris
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    Since I only have to swap two wires around to switch the dryer from 240 volt to 120 volt on the heating element, I put my Fluke meter on it to monitor it on 240 volt to see what it does (as compared to some of the descriptions that folks have provided on how it's supposed to work). This was drying two loads of towels that my wife washed - they are (I think) cotton bath towels.

    It took 40 minutes to dry one load of towels on 240 volt. The element ran at the full 240 volts for 30 minutes (never cycled off) and then cooldown for the final 10 minutes of the cycle. The element drawed 20.5 amps for 30 minutes so I calculate that to be 2.46 kWh. The towels came out nice and dry and it wasn't overdone for time.

    I took the "hot" leg off the element and replaced it with the neutral wire and did her second load on 120V. The timer on the drier only goes to 70 so I set it at the max which ran the element for 60 minutes and cooldown for 10 minutes. The towels came out nice and dry and the dryer was blowing nice heat out the exhaust near the end before it went into cooldown. Again it wasn't overdone - just right for dryness of the fabrics. The amp draw showed 10.2 amps. So I calculate the energy used by the element to be a total of 60 minutes @ 10.2 amps, or 1.224 kWh.

    The dryer pulls 3 amps in cooldown @ 120 volt so it uses 60 watt-hours for that. And the motor is 120 volt so it don't make any difference if the element is wired 120 or 240 - the cooldown takes the same energy.

    So my conclusion is that on 240 volt the total energy consumption was 2.52 kWh. On the 120 volt it was 1.284 kWh. The 120 volt wiring used 51% of the energy it used on 240 volt to dry two identical loads of towels. Roughly half.

    I'm finding out it depends on the fabric. With really heavy hard to dry stuff like a load of denim jeans or towels the time it takes to dry them can be considerably longer, up to twice as long, at the lower temperature setting. But with really light thin fabrics like my wife's pants and blouses it will dry them in almost the same time.

    Despite the fact that there may be other issues like more lint with more tumble time (I didn't notice any more in the screen on the lower temp), the lower temperature without even a doubt uses less energy in all cases than applying Maximum Meltdown Power to the element. The one and only advantage to using Big Inferno is that it takes less time. The temp in the laundry room was 72 degrees and the relative humidity in our house was 34% (according to our WMR200 Weather Station) at the time of testing. I didn't measure the exhaust temperatures or anything during all this, but the average electric clothes dryer can be made more efficient and cut energy usage in your home - I don't care what the appliance "experts" claim :cool:

    I'm convinced that because of poor design, the vast majority of the heat created when running the element on Big Inferno is wasted and goes right in one side in the rear of the drum, and right out the other, without ever being applied to the clothes. And they only get hotter and dry quicker by the random action of the clothes changing positions in the drum during tumbling and thereby make it thru the Maximum Heat Zone from time to time. The dryer should be re-designed so it is cross-flow and the heated air has to flow thru the drum instead of just across the back of it.
    --
    Chris
  • solarvicsolarvic Posts: 1,048Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    Just before I retired I bought a new fridge, washer and dryer. I bought an LG laundry pair because consumer reports high recomendation. So far no problems. I have a ng dryer and got the bigger one because the drum is larger in diameter which I thought would make it more efficient. So my point is do you think that a large diameter tub would be more efficient as the cloths have more distance to fall from top of barrel. Normal cycle is 41 minutes and cloths are always dry with that amount of run time. Not trying to compare gas with electric, just the size. Main reason I got gas is I have gas well. Havn,t seen any browning of cloths as mentioned by others. :Dsolarvic:D
  • BB.BB. Posts: 27,788Super Moderators admin
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    My natural gas drier is a "cross flow" design--And if you have a mix of light/heavy clothes and/or sheets (which can ball-up)--There is still the issue of the mix of wet/dry clothes. I use the automatic dry setting (uses a pair of contacts to measure the clothes) and at the end of the cycle, I will have to pull the dry items and un-ball the sheets (does not happen if sheets towels are not dried together).

    I am not sure that I see any "native" advantage to the cross flow design. I do like the automatic lint cleaner on this drier. Keeps airflow high.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • inetdoginetdog Posts: 3,121Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    \The dryer should be re-designed so it is cross-flow and the heated air has to flow thru the drum instead of just across the back of it.
    --
    Chris

    Most if not all of the dryers that I have seen have the exhaust from the drum located at the front (through the lint trap), so the air flow is not just "across the back". And the air input is through perforations in the back of the drum.
    But that does require that the tumbling action keep the load moving through that air stream. There may also be some contribution from the heated walls of the drum touching the clothes.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid
    inetdog wrote: »
    Most if not all of the dryers that I have seen have the exhaust from the drum located at the front (through the lint trap), so the air flow is not just "across the back". And the air input is through perforations in the back of the drum.
    But that does require that the tumbling action keep the load moving through that air stream. There may also be some contribution from the heated walls of the drum touching the clothes.

    Old one was like that: it worked well.
    New one is like Chris's; lint screen is a thing you pull up and out from the top rear. Air flow is not great, and neither is the drying.

    These things could be better.

    Chris; time to wire a switch in! 'HEAVY/LIGHT' for 240 or 120 on the element. :D
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    I did a little research on this, and this is what it says on the Energy Star website:

    Residential clothes dryers are significant energy users. According to the Energy Information Agency, they account for over 4% of total residential energy use in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that all residential clothes dryers in the U.S. annually consume about 43 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and 445 million therms of natural gas, leading to carbon dioxide emissions of 32 million metric tons.

    Despite being a significant energy user, the efficiency of clothes dryers sold has traditionally not varied appreciably. This has begun to change as new clothes dryer technology, such as heat pumps, have been introduced in some markets, including Europe. The Agency’s preliminary estimates dryers that reduce energy use by 10-13% relative to a conventional model would save approximately 93 GWh and 73,000 MBtu of natural gas, annually, assuming that these dryers account for 25% of the market. And that down the line, highly efficient clothes dryers could reduce CO2 emissions by at least 30% when compared with standard electric models.

    http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=clotheswash.pr_clothes_dryers

    It's not something that we tend to look at very often I don't think. Because as long as these appliances work we just keep using them. It's sort of like our induction cooktop range - my wife bought that in Sweden and had it imported to the US because they are expensive here and it's all anybody uses in Europe anymore. The induction cooktop uses considerably less energy than conventional ones, and is twice as efficient as gas cooking.

    When we go to her parents' place in Sweden for Christmas this year we'll probably have to look at washers and dryers over there. It seems Europe is always about a decade ahead of the US in technology.
    --
    Chris
  • Volvo FarmerVolvo Farmer Posts: 209Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid
    Old one was like that: it worked well.
    New one is like Chris's; lint screen is a thing you pull up and out from the top rear. Air flow is not great, and neither is the drying.

    These things could be better.

    Chris; time to wire a switch in! 'HEAVY/LIGHT' for 240 or 120 on the element. :D

    I completely disagree and I have done over 100 loads of laundry through various brands of dryers here in my shop in the last year. The cross flow designs (GE, Frigidaire) have lint traps that get full, usually within the first 15 minutes of a load. The Whirlpool design like you and Chris (and I) have has a huge lint screen which begins to fill at the bottom and often still has unobstructed space at the top when the load is done. I think Whirlpool has the best airflow in the domestic brands today. I think it is far more important to move lots of air through the dryer than it is to be cross ventilated. If you can't get the hot moist air out of the clothes, they get plenty hot but won't dry. I can dry a load of wet towels in a Whirlpool top lint screen dryer in 45 minutes every single time. All the GEs and Frigidaires are closer to an hour. A short straight vent is the key here. Long curvy vent runs slow the airflow in any brand and increase drying time.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid
    The Whirlpool design like you and Chris (and I) have has a huge lint screen which begins to fill at the bottom and often still has unobstructed space at the top when the load is done..

    I don't do laundry much unless I just discovered something I can fiddle with and test :D

    But you know what? I did notice that deal with the lint screen. It fills up from the bottom (I don't know how they did that) but it don't plug it. I can see where if that lint screen got filled up that it would take much more time to get the job done.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid
    I completely disagree and I have done over 100 loads of laundry through various brands of dryers here in my shop in the last year. The cross flow designs (GE, Frigidaire) have lint traps that get full, usually within the first 15 minutes of a load. The Whirlpool design like you and Chris (and I) have has a huge lint screen which begins to fill at the bottom and often still has unobstructed space at the top when the load is done. I think Whirlpool has the best airflow in the domestic brands today. I think it is far more important to move lots of air through the dryer than it is to be cross ventilated. If you can't get the hot moist air out of the clothes, they get plenty hot but won't dry. I can dry a load of wet towels in a Whirlpool top lint screen dryer in 45 minutes every single time. All the GEs and Frigidaires are closer to an hour. A short straight vent is the key here. Long curvy vent runs slow the airflow in any brand and increase drying time.

    My real-world results are pretty much the opposite of what you are saying.

    Maybe the cross-flow designs get filled with lint because they are the ones moving more air through the clothes and thus picking up more of the lint?

    Any dryer whose lint trap gets filled will stop flowing air and thus stop drying. That is a separate issue. What we're wondering about is how good the free air flow is between the two designs. The idea is still to move as much air as possible across the clothes because that is indeed what dries them.

    As I said before, this new one with its rear-mounted lint screen is not as good at drying clothes as the old one with the screen in the door sill. It seems the reason is that the unrestricted air flow is not as good. Ought to dry better up here too, as the humidity is consistently lower.
  • PhilSPhilS Posts: 370Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid
    Old one was like that: it worked well.
    New one is like Chris's; lint screen is a thing you pull up and out from the top rear. Air flow is not great, and neither is the drying.

    Mental note to me:

    Next time we buy a dryer, make sure the lint trap is in the front (like the Maytag we have now) and NOT pulled up from the back (like our old Kenmore). That's a pretty easy way to determiine what the air flow design is of the unit.

    Last month we replaced our aging Neptune washer with a Samsung, so the dryer should be next but hopefully not for a few more years.

    Phil
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    So the consensus among people that have used both types is that the cross-flow designs are better?
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Using an electric clothes dryer off-grid

    Not sure we have a consensus.

    Other than that there's room for improvement in energy efficiency of electric dryers.
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.