Clothes dryers are a substantial part of any energy bill due to their frequent use and relatively high energy consumption. However, many dryers nowadays feature an eco mode that is supposed to lower the energy consumed by each load.
Let’s take a look and see if this feature is universal across all dryers currently on the US market, and let’s determine if it is worth the use.
It is reasonable to say that all new dryers have an eco setting. There may be a few exceptions for very low-tech and simple models. The eco setting is not a cycle. Instead, any cycle can run on eco mode or normal mode.
Eco Mode as Opposed to Individual Cycle
Modern-day dryers typically feature an optional eco mode that can be either turned on or off. The eco mode decreases the amount of energy consumed by the dryer in exchange for increased drying time.
Because this mode is not typically tied to any certain cycle, you could run an eco cycle for any cycle or material you are drying.
However, an eco cycle decreases the temperature of the dyer while it is operating. Typically, the extra time per cycle balances this out and dries your clothes just fine. But, especially if you live in a colder climate, it may not be as effective as the normal mode.
In addition, if you run your dryer too full, then your clothes may also not completely dry, possibly causing you to run another cycle and wasting any energy you may have saved with the eco cycle.
This also applies if you run your cycle half empty, causing you to run another cycle that you could have saved.
When Were Eco Cycles First Introduced?
While different companies began to include eco cycles at different times, there was a large push in the 1970s for more energy-efficient appliances due to the energy crisis.
Because there was less energy available, companies had to start making their appliances as energy efficient as they could. Therefore, newer dryer models kept being more efficient than the older models, and this trend continued to the modern day.
As appliances evolved, over time, they began to consume less and less energy. Since less energy consumption meant a lower energy bill, they were more competitive and became the norm.
In addition, people have, over time, become a lot more environmentally aware. Since less energy consumption meant less pollution, appliances with eco modes appear more environmentally friendly.
Because of all of this, eco cycles became a standard for all dryer brands.
Eco Cycles and Heating Method
As eco modes are much more common with new appliances, you can get them on almost any dryer regardless of its type or heating method.
For instance, more energy-consuming dryer types, such as gas dryers, will have an eco mode that can be beneficial to decrease the amount of energy used per cycle.
It is also common for electric dryers to come with an eco mode for similar reasons. However, these modes are not very efficient at saving energy compared to the amount of energy consumed per cycle with gas dryers.
On the other hand, heat pump dryers are considered one of the more environmentally friendly dryer options. Compared to conventional gas dryers, heat pump dryers consume only around half of the energy.
This means that, even when in eco mode, gas dryers still consume more energy than heat pump dryers, making heat pump dryers naturally the more eco-friendly option.
Even with this, many heat pump dryers come with multiple modes, including an eco mode and a normal mode. This makes heat pump dryers the best option for the environmentally conscious or if you want to save on your energy bill.
Why All New Dryers Have Eco Cycle
As technology has advanced, new methods for saving energy have been implemented for all appliances. With this, companies are constantly trying to compete with each other for the best model.
Since appliances that use more energy are more expensive to run than ones that use less, dryers that have worse energy consumption ratings are much less popular than the ones with great ratings.
In addition, adding an eco cycle to a dryer does not require extra parts and is not terribly difficult to program. Therefore, it is an easy way to decrease the energy consumption of a dryer, making the model more competitive.
Because of this, most models that are available on the market are going to feature some form of an eco cycle or eco mode in some capacity. In addition to this, many dryers default to the eco mode, meaning that you need to adjust the setting to get to the “normal” mode.
Furthermore, as technology continues to adapt and improve, the eco modes on appliances are likely to become more and more efficient over time. So, while they may or may not be worth the extra time per cycle now, there is hope that they will be in the future.