Natural Gas vs. Electric Dryers

According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the average American family does almost 400 loads of laundry yearly.

While air drying your clothes is certainly the least expensive way to dry clothes, that approach is not always practical. A week of rain or snowy weather can literally dampen any thoughts of clean, dry clothes and finding space for sweater racks in living spaces can be difficult. This leaves many turning towards energy efficient dryers for help.

Before deciding on a gas or electric dryer, though, it’s wise to consider, among other potential points, the energy usage. Determining which is more energy efficient, a gas or electric dryer, requires knowing more about how they work.

All clothes dryers operate the same way: electricity turns a drum that tumbles clothes through heated air to remove moisture. It’s the operating costs that are critical to understand in the differences in gas vs. electric dryers and deciding which is more energy efficient. Electric dryers use heating coils. Gas dryers use a gas burner to create heat and typically cost more in the initial purchase. The price of natural gas, however, is generally lower than electricity (depending on where you live, of course, and other variables). Depending on your rates, drying a load can cost between 32-41 cents per load in an electric dryer and 15-33 cents in a gas dryer.

There is a cost to converting to natural gas. If your household currently has electric appliances, converting for just one appliance may not make financial sense. Checking out the cost of natural gas versus electricity in your area is a good first step. You can still lower energy costs, no matter which dryer have. Pay attention to the EF, or Energy Factor. The EF measures the energy efficiency of a dryer in pounds of clothing per kilowatt-hour of electricity. The federal EF minimum standard for an electric dryer is 3.01. For gas dryers, the minimum is 2.67. For the best energy efficiency use a dryer with the highest EF rating.

Regardless of whether you choose a gas or electric dryer, operating it in a smart way can always help with energy costs. Here are some tips to consider:

  • The dryer should be in a heated space. If it’s in a cold space, like a garage or unheated basement, the dryer has to work harder and becomes less efficient.
  • Clean the lint filter regularly. Keeping the filter clear enables better air flow, which in turn helps with the dryer’s efficiency. Doing this can also help prevent fires.
  • If you use dryer sheets, you should also scrub the lint filter. These sheets can leave a film over time that can affect the performance of the filter.
  • Don’t ignore the outside dryer vent. Check it periodically to make sure it closes tightly so that outside air does not leak in.
  • Dry only full loads; however, don’t overload the dryer.
  • Separate clothes to dry similar types together. Lightweight synthetics dry more quickly generally and will dry even more quickly if not lumped in with heavy cotton towels.
  • Dry two or more loads in a row. This takes advantage of a dryer’s retained heat.
  • Use the cool-down perma-press cycle to let clothes finish drying with residual heat rather than creating new heat.

Now that you know what’s better, a gas or electric dryer, you can begin conserving energy and saving money. Although the difference between a gas dryer vs. an electric dryer doesn’t seem very dramatic, over the course of your dryer’s lifetime, you could save hundreds of dollars in energy costs. But remember: energy efficient dryers only save you money when used properly. Keeping your dryer in a heated space and cleaning the lint filter regularly are just two ways to increase the power of your energy efficient dryer.

Santanna Energy provides great natural gas and electric services to homes and businesses! If you need natural gas and/or electricity, contact us to talk to our agents about how you can take advantage of our fixed price options as well as our rewards program!