Despite the fact that they’re relatively common in Europe, heat-pump dryers haven’t really caught on in the states quite yet. However, they’re set to hit our shores in the very near future, and you should probably consider making the switch when they do. Here’s why.
For starters, they’re drastically more efficient than traditional condensation dryers. We’re talking upwards of 40-50 percent by some estimates. So despite the fact that they’re a little bit more expensive in the short term, you quickly recoup the extra cost in energy savings over time, and also help reduce your home’s carbon footprint in the process.
What makes these dryers so much more efficient is the technique they use to dry clothes. A traditional dryer works by sucking in air, drawing it over a heating element, pumping it into the tumbler where it then vaporizes the water in your clothes. This hot vapor is then pumped out of your house via a vent, which wastes a lot of energy.
In contrast, a heat-pump dryer works in a similar fashion, but instead of pumping it outside, it recaptures that hot air, removes moisture from it, and then pumps it back into the drum to dry more clothes. Think of it like something of a reverse air conditioner. It starts by sucking hot air into the tumbler drum, which then collects moisture from your clothes. Next, this moist air is pumped through a heat pump, where the cool side condenses the water vapor into a drain and the hot side reheats the air. In this way, not only does the dryer avoid the need for ducting, but it also converts much of its heat within the dryer instead of exhausting it into the surroundings.
At this point in time, there are only a handful of manufacturers who’ve revealed plans to sell heat pump dryers in the US. Moving forward, it’s definitely something you should keep an eye out for. Back \at CES in January, LG unveiled its DLHX4072V — the first dryer ever sold in the US to feature heat pump technology — and we expect other appliance makers to follow suit.