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Are Ventless Dryers More Energy Efficient?

Energy bills make up a bulk of the utility expenses in many households. Thus, it is always a great idea to seek out ways to make your home more energy-efficient. Although dryers are only run for a couple of hours weekly, they can leave a significant mark on your energy bills, so taking a look at your dryer situation is an excellent place to start.

Vented dryers do not operate the same way vented units operate, and they could end up saving you a good amount of money. In this article, I will explain why ventless dryers are more energy-efficient.

Not only do ventless dryers consume less energy than vented dryers, but they also help reduce the energy used by the HVAC system. They don’t create air leaks nor exhaust air outside, which would put more load on the HVAC system that would have to draw in the same amount of air and cool/heat it again.

The Type of Ventless Dryer Affects Its Efficiency

There are two main types of ventless dryers: condensers and heat pump dryers. Neither of them features a vent. They both dry clothes by heating up, cooling, condensing, and then reheating air.

ventless dryer in laundry room

However, although they are similar in appearance, set-up, and general mechanism, they do not operate the same way.

Heat pump dryersCondenser dryers
Lower operating temperature.Higher operating temperature.
Uses heat pump technology to save energy.Not as energy-efficient.
Doesn’t feature a heating element.Uses a heating element.

Ventless dryers are typically more energy-efficient than vented units. But because of their mode of operation, heat pump dryers use much less energy than condenser units.

Condenser Dryer

Condenser dryers are probably the most popular type of ventless dryers because they dry clothes relatively fast compared to the heat pump models. 

Their drying speed can be attributed to the presence of an electric heating element. As a result, they run at a temperature higher than the one used by heat pump dryers. 

As a general rule of thumb, the higher a dryer’s operating temperature, the higher the dryer’s energy consumption. 

Condenser units consume about 20% more energy than heat pump dryers

Operating a vented dryer would cause your HVAC system to work extra hard to bring the room to your desired temperature. This is because traditional dryers expel heated air outside. Thus, they continually draw in conditioned air from the room.  Condenser units recycle used air, so they’d cause less strain on your HVAC system. 

Thus, although condenser dryers aren’t as energy efficient as heat pump dryers, they do not consume as much energy as traditional dryers. 

Heat Pump Dryer

Heat pump dryers are the most energy-efficient dryer option available. 

Other dryer models feature a heating element. However, heat pump dryers do not. Instead, heat pump technology is used to dry clothes in a manner similar to the operations of refrigerators and air-conditioning units.

In heat pump dryers, a compressed refrigerant in coils is used to heat the air. After the air collects moisture from clothes in a drum, the air passes to an evaporator. The refrigerant in the evaporator is not compressed; thus, it is cold, and it cools any air that passes through, condensing moisture and collecting it in the process.

After the air has been rid of moisture, it passes over the coils again to get reheated before continuing to the drum to evaporate more water from the clothes.

The absence of a heating element in heat pump dryers means that their drying temperature is significantly lower than that of other units.

Their low operating temperature causes them to take longer to dry clothes. However, it also contributes to making them more energy-efficient. 

Ventless Dryers Take Longer to Dry Clothes

Ventless dryers do not dry clothes as fast as conventional units. For instance, condenser units spend between 15 to 30 minutes more, and heat pump units require about 30 to 50 minutes more time than vented dryers to dry an identical load of laundry.

woman doing laundry. touching dry clothes

So, if you’re judging ventless dryers by the standard of vented units, it would lead you to believe that since they take longer to dry clothes, they must consume more energy. However, there is a good reason why ventless units are more energy-efficient despite their longer drying cycles.

Ventless dryers are designed to function at a lower temperature. As a result, the high-heat settings in ventless units are sometimes comparable to the lower heat settings of vented dryers. 

As a general rule of thumb, high heat settings in dryers use up more electricity than low heat settings. 

Ventless dryers typically consume about 20% to 50% less energy than vented units. 

Naturally, the model, setting, and condition of the dryer also influence its drying speed and energy consumption.

There is one more advantage to the low heat operation of ventless dryers. High temperatures can cause your clothes to shrink and wear out faster. For instance, tumble dryers cause fabrics to shrink and wear twice as much as air-drying.

Ventless dryers aren’t as damaging to fabrics as vented models since they don’t expose the clothes to such high temperatures.

What Makes Ventless Dryers More Efficient: Heat Pump Dryers Use Less Electricity, Ventless Dryers Don’t Disrupt Homes’ Airtightness, They Reuse the Air and Ventless Dryers Allow You to Reuse Water

What Makes Ventless Dryers More Efficient?

Heat Pump Dryers Use Less Electricity

Heat pump dryers consume the least amount of electricity even though they take the longest to dry clothes.

The exact cost of running a heat pump dryer would depend on the kWh rate in your area. But they typically use about 40% to 50% less energy than conventional units and between 15% to 30% less than condenser dryers. 

In addition to that, heat pump dryers run at a temperature that is significantly lower than other dryer models use. The low heat level in heat pump dryers is mostly due to the heat pump technology employed.

Heat pump dryers are also gentler on clothing than condenser and vented dryers.

Ventless Dryers Don’t Disrupt Homes’ Airtightness

Ventless dryers do not feature a vent, so you do not have to create a hole in the wall in order to install them. This means that you do not have to worry about air leaks.

Most vented dryers have a flapper at the vent opening (in fact, they have to have one to be code-compliant). This backdraft damper protects the vent against external elements. It is designed to open when moist air is expelled from the dryer.

However, the flapper could get broken, causing it to remain open even when your dryer isn’t exhausting air. The result is the loss of conditioned air from the home and/or the entry of unconditioned air from outside.

An open backdraft damper leaves your house vulnerable to outside elements, causing you discomfort and ultimately increasing your HVAC energy consumption, especially during winter. 

Ventless dryers are self-contained units that do not interact with the outdoors, so there isn’t a connection to the outdoors that can leave your house vulnerable to the elements.

They Reuse the Air

One of the important elements for the proper functioning of tumble dryers is airflow.

Vented dryers function by drawing ambient air from the room, heating the air, drying clothes with the heated air, expelling this now moisture-filled air to the outdoors through the ducting, and then repeating the process until the clothes are completely dry.

Therefore, your HVAC unit would have to draw in an equivalent amount of air from the outdoors and heat/cool the air in order to bring the room to your desired temperature.

If your vented dryer is located in a conditioned room, it will use up a significant amount of conditioned air (depending on how long and often you use the dryer). This will cause the energy consumption of your HVAC system to increase.

Ventless dryers also draw in air from the room, but unlike vented units, ventless dryers are designed to extract the moisture from the air, transport it to a water tank or drain pipe and recycle the moisture-free air back into the drum.

This air recycling once again helps to save some money on the running cost of your HVAC system.

Ventless Dryers Allow You to Reuse Water

Vented dryers extract the moisture from clothes and expel the moisture outdoors, so you aren’t given the option of reusing the water.

However, in ventless dryers, moisture is moved to a water container allowing you to repurpose the water, which can essentially save you even more money in the long run.

washing carpets and rugs with reuse water from dryer

Here are a few ways you can use the water.

  • As wash water in your washing machine.
  • For flushing toilets.
  • Watering some plants.
  • For washing outside furniture. 
  • Washing carpets and rugs.

Reusing water isn’t only climate-friendly, it is also helpful for people living in drought-stricken regions. 


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