Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

Hello Folks,

I've tried to do my homework for a guy who doesn't know much, but I still have an unresolved question I can't resolve on running a clothes dryer.

My family lives mostly without electricity. Wood heat, propane lights, enough juice for a computer and a Staber clothes washer.

We dry some of our clothes with the woodstove, and in the warmer season we use a clothesline and the stinky laundromat.

It's time to upgrade to a clothes dryer, and I assume propane makes sense. Nonetheless, propane is very expensive here, just over 4 bucks a gallon.

Gasoline is about the same price. So the question is: would a generator (and it would have to be a bigger generator) running an electric dryer make any sort of sense?

Our Staber washer gets clothes pretty dry, and we could get a clothes spinner to get the clothes even dryer.

Living in SE Alaska means we'll run a generator here and there, anyway.

I'm still assuming propane makes the most sense. Can anyone recommend a quality machine? I'm not opposed to spending more money on quality. Finally, the machine will go outside under cover.

Thanks and all the best,

Zach
«13

Comments

  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Here is a quick calculator where you can compare the costs of wood, oil, natural gas, electricity, LP, etc...

    In the end, it is all in how much it costs you to get heat to your clothes...

    So, $4 per gallon LP is not cheap. But how much is the fuel to run your generator and how much power do you get from your's? I.e., what is your $/kWhr cost for generated power.

    For example, a Honda eu2000i portable generator gets around 1,600 watts for 4 hours (or ~15 hours at 400 watts) on 1.1 gallons of gasoline (not bad for a portable--if you have fixed generator you may do better or you may do worst--especially if large generator and small loads)...

    At max power:
    1.1 gallons * $4pergallon of gas / (1.6kW * 4 hours) = $0.69 per kWhr

    At minimum power:
    1.1 gallons * $4 per gallon of gas / (0.4 kW * 15 hours) = $0.73 per kWhr

    So, assuming $4 per gallon propane and gasoline, running generator at 25% of rated load (and no cost to buy/maintain generator), using the Fuel Cost calculator ($0.73 per kWhr):

    Electricity will be ~$202 per million BTU (100% efficiency)
    LP will be ~$57 per million BTU (assuming 78% efficiency)

    Knowing exactly how much you use for power (kWhr or Watt*Hours) and how much fuel you used to generate it to get cost. Looking on the drier for a BTU requirement (mine is listed as 20,000 BTU / 5.9 kW--equivalent?). The burner does not run 100% of the time--but lets assume 1 hour of drying time:

    ($57/MBTU / 1,000,000 BTU/MBTU (LP) )* 1 Hour * 20,000 BTU per load = $1.14 per load ($4 per gallon LP)

    Assuming 500 watts to run the drier for 1 hour...

    0.5 kW * 1 Hour * $0.69 per kWhr = $0.35 worth of electricity.

    $1.14 + $0.35 = $1.49 per drier load (big guesses here--but probably close enough to discuss).

    Most cost effective... Getting the high speed water extractor for your laundry room.

    Other things that may help... If you have to always use a generator--can it be used to heat up a drying shed or the hot air used to feed the drier (caution required here).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    I should do the same calculation for an electric drier... But I did not bother because the price of electric heat is about 4x that of propane.

    Also, I did not have good numbers for a how much power an electric drier uses... But, I can guess... Say 20 amps at 240 VAC for heating element (4,800 watts or 4.8kW) and it takes 1.5 hours to dry the clothes...

    (4.8kW + 0.5kW for motor) * 1.5 hours * $0.73 per kWhr = $3.87 per load

    $3.87/$1.49 = 2.6x more expensive to go with an electric drier using your prices for fuel (assuming my SWAGs are anywhere near accurate) and ignoring any secondary costs (cost to purchase and maintain generator, etc.)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Hello Bill,

    Thank you for your insightful response. The calculator is helpful. It seems that everyone should be looking at the bottomline for electricity, on grid or off. Having lived most of my life with little to no electricity, I am astounded when friends quote their utility bills that fuel so many conveniences.

    You confirmed my hunches on electric vs. gas, and that's enough to know that the generator route is crazy, especially considering wear and tear on a generator, compared to the ability to run the propane dryer with an inverter and off of gas. No starting the generator, no noise, just using the normal system and filling the occasional propane tank.

    From what I can tell, propane dryers run longer with less maintenance time and money, despite a slightly higher initial investment.

    The water extractor makes a lot of sense.

    Thanks again for sharing your expertise.


    Zach


    --Can anyone recommend a good propane dryer?
  • mike95490mike95490 Title:User Posts: 6,212Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric
    Zach wrote: »
    You confirmed my hunches on electric vs. gas, and that's enough to know that the generator route is crazy, especially considering wear and tear on a generator, compared to the ability to run the propane dryer with an inverter and off of gas. No starting the generator, no noise, just using the normal system and filling the occasional propane tank.

    The water extractor makes a lot of sense.


    Your dryer will likely need a Pure Sine inverter to run it's motor properly, without burning it up. And with the large 500W load of the dryer, you may want to consider running the generator to charge the batteries, unless you have another chargeing source.

    A gas appliance is easily converted from Natural Gas to Propane via just changing the Orifice Tip on the burner. Some regions, this is done at the shipping warehouse, some on site, all depends on your vendor. Propane company can also change the orifice too.

    The dryer you can get the clothes before they go into the "tumbler" the better. I've also seen one installation, where a fellow ran ductwork from his hot attic, to the intake plenum of his dryer. Instant Preheater, and half the fuel use.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
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  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    You can also look at Heat Recovery Ventilators... You may already use them in your area because they work well in climates with temperature extremes.

    Connect one end to your drier's exhaust and vent outside. Take the other side of the exchanger and bring in cold, dry air from the outside and use the heat exchanger to remove the heat from the drier's warm, wet air and use it to preheat the air coming in from outside.

    Work very well for keeping bringing fresh air into a home but preventing heat loss (works in both cold and hot climates). Problem with a drier is making sure the lint does not clog the heat exchanger. Also, there may be an issue if you install the heat exchanger outside in freezing weather--ice may form and block airflow.

    I have a very nice Fisher Paykal top access gas drier. It is not cheap and I don't know if there is a propane version. Besides the top access (which I needed for our home) it has an automatic lint trap which seems to keep my ducts very clean. Other driers I have had/worked on tend to trap a lot of lint in the ducting... But that may also be because my ducting if very short on this home so it stays warm and does not condense and capture the lint.

    I would just get a good brand with local service/parts available. Should last a long time.

    One thing to remember is that many (all?) driers use an electric heating element to light the flame--so they use a bit more electricity (especially when lighting) than you would expect.

    Get a kill-a-watt meter to measure the power requirements--and I too would suggest a true sine wave inverter if you are going to use batteries for powering the drier for best life and fewest "strange" problems with motors and electronic appliances.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Ex Solar Engineer Posts: 1,959Solar Expert
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    BB, Electric dryers are in the 6-8kWhr range, second to none in a electric load, more than even AC units!

    Typical circuits are 40-50 amp @ 240vac
  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    SG,

    Sound good...

    Given that I used a 1.5x fudge factor on the drier (in times past, I had found that electric driers tended to take longer to dry clothes--but that may have been a fluke/older driers/older homes with smaller main services than are available today--the reason why I added the 1.5 hours vs 1.0 hours for natural gas)--so the costs will remain about the same if the electric drier takes the same amount of time as a gas one--assuming 6-8kW and 1 hour dry cycle for both...

    Zach, you can also look at the Yellow Energy Tags on the appliances and just plug in your own "calculated" values for energy costs. Example, instead of $0.10 per kWhr, use my estimate of $0.73 per kWhr:

    $100 yellow tag electric number becomes $100 * ($0.73/$0.10) = $730 cost of power at $4 per gallon on generator power...

    Using the fuel calculator. $1.50 per Therm (100,000 BTU or approximately per CC--hundred cubic feet):

    $100 yellow tag for gas ($56.92perMBTU / $18.75perMBTU) = $303.57

    The energy star tags are based on "average" usage--whatever that is (seems to be accurate for fridge/freezers for me in moderate climate).

    At least the yellow tag comparisons are the same across brands--so you can look for the best for your situation.

    By the way, has anyone found the Yellow Tag numbers online anywhere? For some reason, they do not seem to be available from the Energy Star site.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • GooseriderGooserider New User Posts: 48Solar Expert
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    I've been looking at appliances a lot lately, trying to decide if it is worth replacing any of our old, probably less efficient, but perfectly functional appliances with the newer energy star models.

    According to the energy star people, they don't rate dryers because there isn't a significant energy savings potential there - a dryer heats air, and blows it through the tumbling clothes, so you essentially have a heater and a drive motor, neither of which has much potential for energy savings.

    I've seen lots of suggestions that I should consider replacing my washer and / or refrigerator, NOBODY has suggested replacing the dryer - I had one of those "free energy audits" done by the utility co, and the guy explicitly said not to change the dryer.

    Those same sites all said that gas driers were overall more efficient than electrics - the total production costs for the electricity to run the heating element in an electric meant much lower efficiency for that unit than the relatively efficient gas dryer burner.

    I will admit I was looking mostly at Natural Gas units as opposed to propane, because that is what I have - cost aside, propane in general is less efficient than NG due to the basic chemistry involved, but still it's better than electric for this application.

    Gooserider
  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Yep, there is not much that can be done for normal driers to make them much more efficient. Using them less with clothes lines and/or washers that spin-dry clothes faster or a real spin-extractor are going to be the most cost effective way to save money (other than fuel choice--gas vs electric).

    The one draw-back to a gas drier is that they can turn your clothes "yellow" from the combustion gases that circulate through the clothes... Electric units don't do that... (not that you would notice with any of my clothes).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    I've heard the stories of gas dryers "yellowing" the cloths, but have never seen it. Could that be because here we only have propane and it's only NG that yellows things, or is it an urban legend type story, perhaps spread by our helpful electric power suppliers? I know people here who would raise hell if their dryer dared to yellow their uppidie up cloths, but they stick with using propane and when their dryer is warn out, replace it with another propane unit, so it makes me wonder.
    Wayne
  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    I know that in our homes with Natural Gas, if we don't have a good vent hood (like the family home we grew up in)--a natural gas stove leaves a sticky--slightly brown film--over everything in the kitchen (including the upper walls and ceiling). It is a pain to wash as few soaps really cut it well at all. Takes lots of soap, hot water, and scrubbing to remove.

    I also take care of an small 4-plex apartment with electric stoves--and don't have that problem at all (yes, greasy stove, but the ceilings and upper walls are usually pretty clean).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BrockBrock New User Posts: 612Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    I think it depends on how "dirty" your natural gas or propane is. I actually worked at a commercial laundry facility when I was in high school and they had issues with whites and dryers. They had about forty 400lbs gas dryers and five 200 lb electric units for white only. My job was to load / run / unload one of the big extractors. I would put in 400lbs of laundry from the washers and balance them out, then run it for 15 minutes and take out 250-300lbs of laundry. It always amazed me how much water was in clothes that just came out of the washer. It cut drying times in half compared to not extracting.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    WOW!! I grew up with propane. My mom had it for 40 or 50 years and even in her senior years and still able to be alone at home, wouldn't have anything else and because of power outages, a lot of people here had and have propane, and we've never seen anything like the yellowing etc that you describe. We have no experience with Natural Gas, but would never have guessed there would be that much difference. Very interesting indeed. I know that the energy content in propane is substantially higher per cu ft of propane than NG, requiring smaller orifices, so a lot less propane is burned for the same heat, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Less gas burned = less yellowing etc?
    Whatever, the differences are shocking to me.
    Thanks for the eyeopener.
    Wayne
  • BrockBrock New User Posts: 612Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Anyway in searching for spin dryers I came across this link

    http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/dryers.html

    about 1/2 way down he compares electric to gas

    electric 4kw at 9.86/kw $.39
    gas .21 kw (spin) and .22 therms at $1.29/them = $.30

    Of course a genset is going to run about $1.00/kw so that would put the electric at $4.00 a load. This all just confirms what BB said ;)
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • BrockBrock New User Posts: 612Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    In my search for extractors I also came across this

    http://www.laundry-alternative.com/products/Spin_Dryer.html

    Looks like it would help no matter what dryer your running. I might have to get one and see how it works; it seems really inexpensive compared to other extractors out there. Anyone have one?
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Of course, extractors are not without their "charms" either...

    Our new washer (Fisher Paykel) has two spin settings... One is 1,000 rpm (high speed) and the other ~600 rpm or so (standard spin speed for a regular tub type washer)...

    With the high speed spin, clothes do get stretched, mashed into the sides of the tub/drain holes, and the older clothes probably even tear.

    Natural gas conversions to propane also (from what I recall) you can either change the orifices or the regulator pressure--depending on the appliance. Propane has about 2x the BTU content per cubic foot vs natural gas.

    Also, natural gas (actually the sulfur in natural gas) will attack copper pipe and fittings--most local codes now prohibit the use of copper tubing/fittings with natural gas because of this. Some older homes still have copper natural gas lines to attach appliances and should be replaced (and searching the Internet--there are still contractors that are installing stoves and such using copper tubing--not recommended at all).

    -Bill

    Presumably some of that sulfur converts into sulfuric acid which will age clothing too--I know that condensate from natural gas combustion is very acidic and they even make little cartridges that buffer the PH for condensate drain systems (used on some appliances like high efficiency "condensing hot water heaters").
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Hmmm... lets compare some numbers from the extractor and a normal washer's spin speeds (just grabbed the equation from the web--not going to dig out physics book and calculate/convert all of the stuff--getting old and lazy):

    Force=.000341 x (weight of clothes) x (radius of the center of mass [in feet]) x rpm squared


    Extractor from Brock's link =0.000341 x 10 lbs of clothes x 1/2 foot x 3,200 RPM ^ 2 = 17,459 lbs of force from 10 lbs of clothes (guess at diameter of tub)

    Fisher Paykel washer 670 rpm =0.000341 x 10 lbs of clothes x 10/12 foot x 670 RPM ^ 2 = 1,276 lbs (supposed to be similar to spin dry for a traditional top loading washer)

    Fisher Paykel washer 1,000 rpm
    =0.000341 x 10 lbs of clothes x 10/12 foot x 1,000 RPM ^2 = 2,842 lbs

    Wow, that extractor (assuming I have my numbers/equations correct) really does do wonders for getting water out of clothes... If our natural gas prices goes the way that the rest of fuel costs have--that may be something I want to consider.

    Only a $134 for this little guy. I used something similar in Europe while on vacation once--but it has been so many years that I don't remember any details about how dry the clothes were when I removed them.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric
    BB. wrote: »

    Natural gas (actually the sulfur in natural gas) will attack copper pipe and fittings--most local codes now prohibit the use of copper tubing/fittings with natural gas because of this. Some older homes still have copper natural gas lines to attach appliances and should be replaced (and searching the Internet--there are still contractors that are installing stoves and such using copper tubing--not recommended at all).
    Presumably some of that sulfur converts into sulfuric acid which will age clothing too--I know that condensate from natural gas combustion is very acidic and the even make little cartridges that buffer the PH for condensate drain systems (used on some appliances like high efficiency "condensing hot water heaters").
    -Bill
    Wow! Thanks for that info Bill ! I don't often come on this form when I don't learn something new, and this time was no exception. Greeat info. Now it all makes sense.
    Thanks again.
    Wayne
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Thanks again, everyone. It's a no-brainer; propane (in our case) is best.

    I've run across the same arguments for calling all gas/propane driers equal. None the less, I don't quite buy it. The may use about the same amount of power, but the machine with the greatest longevity is clearly the best machine in my mind for greatest return on money and also the most efficient use of resources. Not to mention my back for carrying the crazy thing in!

    This is a heck of a forum. I really appreciate it.

    Zach
  • GooseriderGooserider New User Posts: 48Solar Expert
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Agreed on the more durable machine being a better buy, I think we were mostly looking from an energy consumption standpoint, and that says not much difference between brands... I'm not sure there really would be much difference in the durability, there really isn't a lot of stuff in a dryer to break, they are pretty simple machines.*

    That said, I would probably look for a basic model on the theory that the fewer controls, the less likely there is to be phantom power losses, and the fewer things there are to go wrong. I would say lose the digital stuff, look for a basic mechanical timer, along with a moisture sensor, and a temperature control. That's all you need, and a basic model like that should even be cheaper8)

    If you hadn't been convinced to go propane already, here is yet another way of showing how gas would be better - With gas, the fuel is burned directly to make heat, in a relatively efficient burner, probably 80% plus, so nearly all the potential energy in the gas will end up in your laundry. There are also essentially no "transmission losses" - all the gas coming out of the tank goes into the dryer (we hope...)

    With a generator, you have multiple conversion steps, with heavy losses at almost every one. First you burn the gasoline in an IC engine - I forget the exact numbers, but this is not very efficient, lots of thermal losses. Then you take the mechanical energy and spin a generator with it in order to make electricity, again heavy losses. If you feed the electricity to a battery bank, you get even more losses at each step of powering the charger, charging the batteries, and then powering the inverter. If you power the dryer directly, you still get more losses from transmitting the power over the lines. The final step of converting the electric into heat IS efficient, but that's not saying much in light of the earlier losses. I've seen figures saying grid power only about 30% of the energy in the fuel actually makes it to outlet in your wall, I doubt that a gas generator would be any more efficient.

    Gooserider
    Zach wrote: »
    Thanks again, everyone. It's a no-brainer; propane (in our case) is best.


    I've run across the same arguments for calling all gas/propane driers equal. None the less, I don't quite buy it. The may use about the same amount of power, but the machine with the greatest longevity is clearly the best machine in my mind for greatest return on money and also the most efficient use of resources. Not to mention my back for carrying the crazy thing in!

    This is a heck of a forum. I really appreciate it.

    Zach
  • Chuck46Chuck46 New User Posts: 95Solar Expert
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    I inherited my first propane drier when it was 12 years old. I replaced it after 10 years of use and about 50.00 in repair. that was 3 years ago and the new one is more efficant then the old one. My wife has never complained about yellow undies so I dont see this as a problem with propane I wont use electric at all not just the cost but efficancy.

    Chuck
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Well folks, all this extractor talk got me to thinking about why not just have such a speed built in to your washer?

    So I looked up our Staber washer, recommended and purchased from Backwoods as being the heartiest on an inverter and lowest load. Here's what the web site says:

    What is the spin speed?
    Our washer spins at around 700-750 RPM based on load size, but can get a 175 extraction G-force inside the tub so that the clothes feel the same as when you remove them from a front loader that spins faster. You cannot wring out any more water from the fabric when you get them out of our washer. There is a certain RPM speed you reach where you are not really extracting much more water, but you are just drying by air (or evaporation). We have reached that certain RPM with our Staber washer where we do not really need to go any faster. If you cannot wring out any more water from the fabric when it is done, then there is not much more room for improvement.


    I can say that our washer doesn't get things super dry, but that may be the installation. Our cabin is 80+ years old and framed by a logger in a hurry with no tape measure. The machine (and cabin) vibrates like crazy on spin cycle. I would have to report back in a few of years when our new house is built.

    One thing I can say for the washer is it is easy to take apart and diagnose problems, such as the nails I've run into the impeller pump, three times now. Occupational hazard of being a carpenter...

    Can anyone else comment on the Staber washer, or dryer?

    I checked into the Staber dryer at: http://www.storesonlinepro.com/store/1673182/product/820124

    I appreciate that they give all the power consumption info and that they are sensitive to off grid users.

    Who knew talking about laundry could be so interesting?

    Zach
  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Oh, you don't know how "in to it" laundry discussions can get until you read this forum... :roll:

    Actually, when I was looking for new appliances, the above forum was a great place to read for information.

    Staber (when I was looking there a few years ago), did not have a great reputation for reliability. So many people at the time recommended that where ever you installed it, make sure that there was a drip pan/concrete pad with drain underneath it to prevent multiple flooding incidents in your home (probably a good idea for any washer).

    Regarding drying vs extraction... When you dry with heat (gas/electric drier), you are basically "boiling" the water off--albeit at a lower temperature through evaporation--but you still need to convert the water unto a gas). The amount of heat energy required to phase change water is pretty large--imagine how long and how much energy it takes just to boil away a cup of water on your stove).

    So, anything you can do to get rid of more water helps. Sometimes in the winter, for example, I will first line dry my clothes for a day or so, then dry them (when the next wash is due). Save energy and gives me line space for the next load. (Usually, it is warm enough in the summer that we just line dry everything).

    The ~175G rating for the Staber seems to fit right into my rough calculations (128G regular washer, 284G Fisher Paykel "high speed", 1,746G for the extractor).

    I guess something you can do to see how much "drier" you can get your clothes... Simply weigh the load wet and again after it is dried. The difference will be "water".

    970 BTU/lb of water or (1kWhr=3.413 x 103 Btu) .284 kWhr/lb of water "cost" of energy to evaporate 1 lb of water (latent heat of vaporization)...

    Next load of wash--may try weighing my clothes before drying and after to see what the results are (perhaps when my wife is not here--so as not to look too crazy--hmmm make it into a "science experiment" for my kids--that may work :roll: ).

    -Bill

    PS: Regarding a Staber Drier--For "standard" designed appliances (fridge, washer, drier, etc.) there are very few manufacturers of these devices. Most are simply rebranded with different decals. So, for a drier, I would shop on price (and read around about reliability) to find the best deal.

    I have not seen a Staber Drier, so I cannot comment specifically on who make that one. My Fisher Paykel is a "top load" drier--so I am pretty sure they made their own model--I think their front load is just a rebadged version from another major manufacturer.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Ex Solar Engineer Posts: 1,959Solar Expert
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    There are many main stream front loaders that are faster spin cycles;

    http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:iOH_looWrLEJ:www.bizrate.com/washers_dryers/oid728276883__start--60.html+FTF530F+spin+rpm&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us

    I have a 7 year old Frigidaire that is about 900 rpm ( was the top model when I bought it ) ... now some are 1200 rpm to get the water out. Stay with a main stream brand would be my two cents. Its still sold

    http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02602792000P?vName=Appliances&cName=Washers&Dryers&sName=All%20Washers&psid=SHOPZILLA01&sid=IDx20070921x00003c
  • GooseriderGooserider New User Posts: 48Solar Expert
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Staber claims to be more "solar friendly" for those doing the off-grid thing. Among other items they say that solar doesn't void their warranty. (In addtion to the usual claims about energy savings etc... Don't know how much truth there is to that vs. marketing fertilizer, but it's worth considering for some folks at least...

    I'm actually in a bit more of a different quandry - we have an ~15 year old top-load washer that still works fine, has never needed major repair, and generally looks acts like it is good as new... Our municipal water & sewer is relatively low cost, and we currently heat it with natural gas, plus 99% of our loads are done with either warm or cold water, so we aren't getting a big utility hit that a new machine would cut into. (With a Kill-A-Watt, the washer itself draws 0.2kWh/load - at current rates that's about three cents a load, even the hypothetical "burns no electric" washer wouldn't save us much at that rate) - The only real hit is on drying time since the washer doesn't spin the clothes that dry. A clothes spinner like this, http://www.laundry-alternative.com/products/Spin_Dryer.html
    might help to get rid of that hit for a lot less - a $140 investment isn't as big a risk, and has a lot faster payback.

    Gooserider
  • BB.BB. Just some guy Posts: 24,229Super Moderators admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Here is one thread from the Laundry website I posted earlier about Extractors...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BrockBrock New User Posts: 612Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Our new LG is suppose to spin at 1200 rpm, our last LG spun at 1000 and it noticably shortened the drying time. At first I thought it was the dryer, but I think it is the water extraction in the washer.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Looks good on LG :)
    How is the reliability?
    I wouldn't expect it to match the 1947 Bendix front load that I still have and is still usable. It belonged to my long gone grandmother. Only thing, it's slow spin speed, probably around 200 or 300 RPM means you can hand wring the water out of the cloths. Took all day in the wind out on the cloths line to get them dry.
    I understand the reliability of many of the newer front loaders is very poor, in particular the drum bearings. After my experience with the old Bendix, that was a real shocker for me. Would have thought that with newer technologies and materials, reliability would be anything but a problem. Very simple design compared to a top load should equal extreme reliability, but apparently doesn't. Perhaps I'll just get an extractor to use with the old Bendix.
    Wayne
  • BrockBrock New User Posts: 612Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    We had the drain line fail three times in four years the hose that connects the drum to the frame. As you can imagine when it spins that is the only real connection point and all that flexing back and forth eventually causes it to fail. The bad part is as it slowly leaks water out the bottom the washer just keeps adding more to keep the level up, not good if you don’t notice it right away. You think they would have changed the design in 4 years, I sure hope they did on our new one, other then that we really like the machine. We just couldn't find another washer that would hold 4.2 cu ft. With four kids we do a lot of laundry.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • GooseriderGooserider New User Posts: 48Solar Expert
    Re: Clothes dryer: propane vs. electric

    Would sound to me like a good place to put a water detector / alarm! We have them in several places in our house, and they've been very useful. The ones we have use a 9v transistor battery, which seems to last for several years, so no problem with powering them. If you can, IMHO it's better to get the ones with a separate sensor, it lets you put the sounder above the potential flood zone, and possibly where it will be more audible.

    Gooserider
    Brock wrote: »
    We had the drain line fail three times in four years the hose that connects the drum to the frame. As you can imagine when it spins that is the only real connection point and all that flexing back and forth eventually causes it to fail. The bad part is as it slowly leaks water out the bottom the washer just keeps adding more to keep the level up, not good if you don’t notice it right away. You think they would have changed the design in 4 years, I sure hope they did on our new one, other then that we really like the machine. We just couldn't find another washer that would hold 4.2 cu ft. With four kids we do a lot of laundry.
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