The real cost of drying your clothes

Trying to reduce your electricity bills is not easy – they only seem to go in one direction and it can hard to keep up. However, by educating yourself about your home appliances, and their running costs, you stand a better chance of getting one over your energy provider.

Clothes dryers can be one of the biggest energy-sucking appliances in your home, but conversely are one of the easiest to consider when you are trying to reduce your bills. The sage advice is simply to try and stop using it, especially in a sunny country such as Australia – where the Hills Hoist was invented! But of course, it’s not always that easy. When the temperature drops, it genuinely can be difficult to get your washing dry, so many of us turn to our trusty tumble dryers.

If you often find yourself reaching for a helping hand, it’s a good idea to know exactly how much energy your clothes dryer is going to use and what it will end up costing you. The following table gives an example of clothes dryer running costs depending on their type and capacity.

Capacity of clothes dryer Type of clothes dryer kWh usage per cycle Energy cost per cycle
Less than 5KG Condenser 1.48-4.5 $0.49-$1.49
Less than 5KG Vented 2.79-5.02 $0.92-$1.66
5-9KG Condenser 1.98-6.88 $0.65-$2.27
5-10KG Vented 4.73-9.23 $1.56-$3.05

Source: South Australian Government. Costs based on electricity price of 33c/kWh.

Energy efficient dryers

The comparison table above features condenser and vented dryers only, but there are some alternatives to these traditionally-powered appliances if you’re determined to reduce long-term running costs. These alternatives come in the form of heat pump dryers and gas powered dryers.

Heat pump dryers simply dehumidify the processing air and keep the heat contained within the machine, resulting in less heat escaping and preventing your laundry from getting fogged up! Such dryers can use significantly less power than their traditional counterparts. Take for example the Bosch 6.5kg heat pump dryer, which costs a mere $39.60 per year to run. Compare this with a traditional 5kg dryer by Simpson, which costs $76.23 annually. That’s nearly double the cost!

Another viable option is the gas powered dryer. The difference is that these are powered by LPG, which as you may know from filling up your car, LPG prices are generally half of the cost of unleaded petrol. Take the Rinnai 6kg gas powered dryer for example, which uses an average of 11.5 megajoules an hour. Using the standard rate of 4c a megajoule, this appliance could cost 46c an hour. Compare this with the table above and you can see that the savings are potentially massive.

However, traditional dryers are usually much cheaper to buy than heat pump and gas powered dryers, so even with the massive bill savings it will take years to recoup the initial cost of purchase. For example, the Simpson 5kg costs $459, whereas the Bosch heat pump 6.5kg will cost you $1,845 and the Rinnai 6kg gas dryer $1,622. It’s up to you to decide if the energy savings are worth it. If you decide not, see below for some tips on how to save money.

Top tips to reduce your clothes dryer costs

  • Use the dryer in off-peak periods, which are metered differently. Usually this means after 8pm.
  • Ensure you are washing loads your dryer can handle – overfilled dryers can lead to inefficient drying and drying loads twice.
  • Buy an indoor clothesline and use a mixture of the line and dryer.

Clothes dryer reviews and ratings

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