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Are Clothes Dryers Expensive to Run? A Comprehensive Overview

Washers and clothes dryers are not difficult to run but specifically, are clothes dryers expensive to run? Modern tech has come a long way in terms of how we are washing and drying our clothes.

However, in more recent years, being more eco-friendly and cost-effective has been a rising concern. Being eco-friendly obviously helps the environment by being a little more energy efficient. But this also translates into saving money in the long run. Everyone could use a little more money in their pockets.

When it comes to inspecting a device to see how expensive it is to run, there is a specific way to calculate it. The math behind the energy used will be addressed and it will all come together.

In fact, the results of this will be quite shocking as with any attempt to save money really adds up in the end.

Moreover, the appliances in our homes, especially clothes dryers, are known culprits for sucking up the energy and damaging the lining of our pockets. This comprehensive overview will put a little more perspective on this common household appliance.

Are Clothes Dryers Expensive to Run?

When everything gets truly added up, clothes dryers can be expensive to run. When it comes to assessing just how expensive it is to run a clothes dryer, how its cost is calculated should be addressed.

First, household appliances are measured in what is called, "kilowatt-hours", or kWh. This directly refers to the energy being used to operate the appliance. The cost of running an appliance using these kilowatt-hours to calculate the overall cost they generate while in use.

Clothes dryers can come in a variety of wattages, so their cost can vary. The average wattage for a clothes dryer is said to be somewhere between 3000 and 4000.

However, wattage is not the only thing that will shift the cost of running clothes dryers. The amount of time it gets ran also matters, along with the temperature of which it is being run.

These are the things that not the typical person is going to think about when operating their clothes dryer. All around the United States, people are tossing clothes into the dryer without much thought behind their overall costs. While it may not seem like they use much in terms of energy or cost a lot, it truly can add up.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Tumble Dryer for an Hour?

When applying the equation to configure kWh into the cost to run clothes dryers, the average clothes dryer (at 4,000W) will cost about $14.40 a month. 

This amount will increase and decrease depending on the family size, the overall length of time it is run, the wattage of the clothes dryer, and even how many times a week it is being used. However, this number is just assuming a basic 1 hour run time throughout the course of a month.

The way that the cost of running a clothes dryer (or any appliance) is calculated is by taking the wattage and converting it to kWh to be easily applied to costs. In the United States, the average cost per kWh is around $.012.

This really adds up hours get tacked on along with higher wattage appliances as well. When looking at the average clothes dryer, 4,000W converts to 120.00kWh in energy used a month. Now imagine that number for the entire year. This roughly equates to $172.80 a year.

Almost $200 a year stacks up over the years and to think this is just for the average wattage! Depending on the age of the dryer can alter the wattage as well and not every dryer is the same.

This is why it is important to see how much of a difference the wattages in clothes dryers can really make. The chart below takes a dive into the various wattages of clothes dryers and how much they cost to operate at a 1 hour operating time. All calculations are also based on the United States standard of $0.12 per kWh.

Clothes dryer energy chart

Wattage 1,800 2,000 3,000 4,000
Monthly Cost $6.48 $7.20 $10.80 $14.40
Yearly Cost $77.76 $86.40 $129.60 $172.80
kWh of Energy 54.00kWh 60.00kWh 90.00kWh 120.00kWh

When taking a closer look at the above chart, dryers can be as low as 1,800W or even as high as 5,000W. The cost drastically hikes up by around $4.00 extra dollars a month when only a 1,000W is added to the wattage. The year goes up quite a bit as well. These numbers truly put into perspective just how expensive running a clothes dryer can be.

How Long Should a Tumble Dryer Take to Dry Clothes?

Generally speaking, clothes dryers take up to 45 minutes to dry clothing. However, this timeframe can get as low as 32 minutes. 

Depending on what is being dried, this number can be lowered or even raised. For example, things like bath towels that absorb lots of water will take longer to fully dry.

On the other side of this scenario, smaller loads of laundry will dry faster. This includes delicate clothing that has varying drying instructions. Not all clothing can be tossed into the dryer at high temperatures for any amount of time.

The key to unlocking the perfect drying time is knowing which setting is best. This includes the delicate fabrics that cannot withstand the heat. For things like this, lower temperature settings exist, even air-drying where little to no heat at all is used. Larger loads will obviously need a higher temperature to dry.

Typically, clothes dryers come with varying temperature settings like low, medium, high or air-dry settings that all fit the needs of the size of the load or fabric type within the load. All this should get factored into how the dryer is operated.

Knowing the right setting is the first step to getting perfectly dried clothes.

Moreover, it is essential to know the right setting as well for saving the correct amount of money. A dryer that gets ran longer than necessary will rack up the utility bills. While there are some ways to help curve high-cost household appliances, saving on running a clothes dryer can be done by this method.

What Type of Clothes Dryer is Most Economical?

There are two main types of dryers: gas and electric and gas is considered more economical. While both types are operated in similar manners, gas still remains more economical.

Both variations require some electricity to run, including the use of electric fans to push heat out. It is estimated that gas dryers may use somewhere around 50% less per load than electric dryers. This is astronomical when it comes to saving big bucks.

Gas always seems to be the cheapest route for household appliances (think gas stoves over electric).

While they do run hotter than electric, this actually is better economically as it needs to run for a shorter period of time. What normally can take around an hour to dry, dries in half the time lingering somewhere around a half-hour.

This is even more true for gas dryers and their low, medium, high settings. These appliances can get away with running at slightly lower temperatures to achieve similar drying results as their counterparts.

How Much Does It Cost to Run an Average Washing Machine?

The average washing machine operates with 1300 wattage. When this is applied to a run time of one hour, the cost to run an average washing machine is around $4.38 month or around $53 a year.

Once again, this will differ based on various family's needs as well as the wattage. Washing machine wattage can range anywhere from 400w to 1300w. This variation will change the cost to run a load of dirty clothes. The more loads that are generated will up this price as well.

What are Some Tips to Help Save Money on Drying Clothing?

There are a few tips to aid in the battle of clothes dryers' cost-effectiveness. Everyone likes saving a little bit of money, especially with things like household appliances. Below are the top tips to help lower utility bills associated with clothes dryers.

  • Clean the lint trap out after EVERY use. When the lint trap is full, a clothes dryer to not operate at its optimal heat level and can even cause a fire.
  • Buy dryer balls. Dryer balls actually serve a pretty awesome purpose in a clothes dryer. They help circulate more air which shortens the overall drying time!
  • Always use the appropriate dryer setting. While this has already been stated, it is important to remember. Using an improper setting will result in differing and inconsistent utility bills.
  • Consider air-drying. This comes off as old fashioned but honestly air-drying is the best way to save the most money. It is an all-natural way to get dry clothing and literally costs the least to use.
  • Use the washing machine high-speed spin cycle. This cycle spins the clothing load at a higher speed. This results in less water saturating the clothing and therefore will need less time in the dryer.

These tips are very helpful in lowering the cost of running a clothes dryer. While they can be pricey to use, there are ways to make them more efficient. As with lots of household appliances, using them in their optimal forms will help get the very most out of them. In the modern age of tech and the constant evolution of the technology around us, we must respect the ways tech devices are meant to run!

Mime Petit

A home appliance enthusiast and creative writer.

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