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Gas Dryer | Can You Run It on a Generator?

With unpredictable weather and threats of possible power outages, it helps to have a backup plan to keep your household running smoothly if the electricity goes out.

If you’d like to ensure that you can continue your laundry regimen even if things go dark, keep reading for some useful information about running gas dryers on generators.


Generators can provide 3,000-22,000 W of power, depending on the model and capacity. Gas dryers draw, on average, 2,200 W of power, which means that even small generators should be able to power the gas dryer.

Most Common Domestic Generator Sizes

The size of a generator is measured in watts (W) as a representation of the electrical power that a generator can provide.

The appropriate size of a generator is determined by the power requirements of the appliances that you want to run on it.

Additionally, generators come in different physical sizes and may be portable or required to be linked to the house.

These can be categorized into four major groups:

Four major groups of domestic generator sizes: Compact portable generators, Midsize portable generators, Large portable generators and whole house generators
  1. Compact portable generators generally output 3,000-4,000 W, although you can also obtain small recreational inverter generators that output up to 2,000 W.
  2. Midsize portable generators range between 5,000 and 8,000 W and are still quiet and lightweight.
  3. Large portable generators can supply over 10,000 W, and although they are portable, they are not easy to move around.
  4. Finally, whole house generators provide 15,000 to 22,000 W and are linked to your house. Whole house generators are bulky and usually remain fixed on your property like an appliance.

Power Required by Gas Dryers

The heat in gas dryers is powered by the combustion of natural gas or propane.

However, gas dryers still require electricity to power other components, such as the lights, the fan, and controls.

The specific power draw for gas dryers will depend on the model and is usually indicated on the machine or in the manual.

Generally, gas dryers require around 2,200 W per load or a range of 1,800-2,400 W.

If wattage isn’t specifically indicated on the machine, it can be calculated by multiplying the volts and amps required to run the machine. You should be able to find these two measurements on the box, the dryer itself, or in the manual.

Gas Dryers Can Run on Generators

With an understanding of the power necessary to power gas dryers, it is evident that generators can be used to run gas dryers, even the smaller ones, with the exception of small recreational inverter generators, which are unlikely to be suitable to power a gas dryer.

However, the output power needed depends on what other appliances you want to run simultaneously. You are unlikely to be buying a generator to power your gas dryer alone.

There are other, more critical appliances that should be powered first/as well, including the fridge (you don’t want anything going off), lights, water heater, security system, sump pump, etc.

Compact portable generators should be able to run a gas dryer but not many other appliances at the same time.

For example, with the gas dryer consuming about 2,200 W, you would be left with 800 W on a 3,000 W generator.

This is just enough to power a laptop (about 200 W), up to ten lights (250 W), a TV (150 W), a home security system (100 W), and a few cell phone chargers (20 W each).

However, larger appliances, such as fridges (700 W), draw extra power when they are starting up, so wattage ratings for larger appliances should be doubled when calculating how much power is needed from a generator.

Midsize portable generators will allow you to run a few more appliances in addition to the gas dryer, such as a toaster oven (1,200 W), a washing machine (1,200 W), or a coffee maker (1,000 W).

Large portable generators will allow you to run a greater number of appliances and/or larger appliances, such as dishwashers (1,500 W) and well pumps (1,250 W), together with a gas dryer.

Large portable generators for dishwasher, pump well and gas dryer

With a much larger power output, you should be able to run your gas dryer and most of your household appliances on a whole house generator, depending on their specifications.

Linking the Dryer to the Generator

A dryer can be linked to a generator in two ways.

Firstly, the dryer can be plugged directly into the generator.

This method may be useful in the sense that you can get away with using a cheaper and smaller generator if you only want to use it to run one or two appliances at a time, depending on the power required.

However, plugging the dryer directly into the generator without the use of an extension cord might be challenging.

This is because generators usually have engines that are powered by fuel.

Fuel-powered generators release noxious fumes, so they need lots of ventilation and should not be kept in an enclosed space.

If you do want to use an extension cord, it is important that you use one that is appropriate for the power (and hence voltage) drawn from the generator.

If an unsuitable extension cord is used, it can overheat and affect how the appliances plugged in operate.

If you have multiple appliances that you want to run on a generator, it could become cumbersome to plug them all into extension cords such that the wiring gets in the way.

However, plugging your dryer straight into the generator is simpler than the alternative, which is to link the generator to the house circuit.

Connecting the generator to the house circuit is more complicated because you have to take measures to prevent the generator from feeding electricity back into the utility line.

If this is not carried out correctly, it can be dangerous for workers repairing transmission lines and can also damage wiring and appliances in your home.

To safely connect the generator to the house circuit, it is necessary to install a circuit breaker interlock device at your house panel.

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The interlock device acts as a transfer switch at the panel.

The transfer switch allows you to change where you are getting your power from either the main grid supply with the generator off or vice versa.

This method of connecting the generator has the advantage that you can run multiple appliances at the same time (depending on the size of your generator) without needing to plug things in individually.

So, once you have switched over to generator power, you can simply run your dryer, as usual, using the wall outlet.

Additionally, there will be less wiring threatening to trip you over!

However, because the initial process of linking the house to a generator can be complicated, it is best performed by a qualified electrician.

This means that you may incur greater costs initially for installation compared to the method of plugging your dryer directly into the generator.

You will also need to remember to turn off certain appliances if your generator is too small to power all of them simultaneously to prevent overloading.   

How Much Does It Cost to Run the Dryer?

Since gas dryers use electricity and gas, calculating the costs means we need to consider both aspects.

For example, if a gas dryer uses 2,200 W per load, and a load takes one hour, the dryer uses 2,200 W per hour, or 2.2 kilowatt-hours (kWh).

In October 2022, the average cost of electricity per kWh for the US was $0.17.

Multiplying this by 2.2 kWh gives us $0.37 as the cost in electricity per load to run a gas dryer.

The amount of gas consumed by gas dryers is rated in British Thermal Units (BTUs), which can be divided by 100,000 to convert to therms.

Many gas dryers are rated for 22,000 BTUs per hour, but they may use only half of this in a cycle because the heat turns on and off.

This equates to 0.11 to 0.22 therms per hour.

Multiplying this by the cost for utility gas in October 22 at $1.67 per therm gives us $0.18 per hour load.   

So, in total, it costs $0.55 per hour-long load to run a gas dryer.

Actual costs will depend on the specifications of your dryer.

Generators are also a good option for providing heat when the power goes out or in an emergency.

Sources

https://generatorwhiz.com/correct-generator-sizing/

https://www.consumerreports.org/generators/how-to-choose-the-right-size-generator-a4942266454/

https://www.whirlpool.com/content/dam/global/documents/199903/installation-instructions-3395325-RevA.pdf

https://manuals.plus/maytag/mgd6630hw-gas-dryer-manual#gas_dryer_power_hookup_-_the_usa_and_canada

https://upgradedhome.com/connect-generator-to-house-through-dryer-outlet/

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-herb-garden-indoor-outdoor-13771633.html

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/average-cost-hour-run-dryer-68320.html

https://www.thespruce.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-run-an-electric-dryer-1387954

https://products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-support-search-content?contentId=18416

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