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How Tumble Dryers Work

After washing the laundry we automatically pop it into the tumble dryer to dry. Have you ever wondered about how you turn wet clothes into dry ones? We know that the water has to evaporate by heating and then be dispersed, turning water into steam and leaving dry clothes behind. That’s the science and here are the practicalities of how tumble dryers work…

Types of tumble dryer

Loaded tumble dryerThere are two main types of electric tumble dryer:

  • Vented – air vented dryers expel the damp air from your laundry through a flexible hose which can be put out through the window, or installed to a vent through the wall.

  • Condenser – condenser dryers extract the damp air from the air and collect it in a water container. This container will either drain automatically or need to be emptied out manually each time.

  • Gas types of tumble dryer use either natural gas or propane as a heat source and need to be sited as close as possible to a gas line. They contain rigid exhaust systems, and need outside venting, and must be installed by a qualified technician

How does a tumble dryer work?

We know that the best drying conditions involve the movement of heat combined with the constant removal of moisture. Tumble dryers do both these things within a large metal drum that rotates. The basic concept is that hot air is blown into one side of the drum as it tumbles the clothes around, and moisture is extracted from another part of the drum at the same time. The drums have paddles on the inner rim, and rotate by a belt in different directions to prevent clothes from bunching. The exception is for large machines as used in launderettes when the drum always rotates the same way.

The air intake allows cold air to be drawn into the machine, and a fan sucks the air in towards the heating element. As the cool air passes over the element it warms and turns to dry air, and a thermostat prevents any overheating. Wet clothes are lifted until they reach the top of the drum, then they fall back down through the hot, dry air. The air then leaves the dryer through a lint filter that attracts and retains dust and fluff. Exhausted air then goes through a vent hose which can be permanently fixed or temporarily put out through an open window. Heat exchangers are often found in washer-dryers to allow the heat to be re-used – make sure your appliance is energy-efficient to save money and to be environmentally friendly!

Tumble dryer insideTumble dryer maintenance

To keep your dryer working efficiently you should:

  • Clean lint screens and filters after every load
  • Clean exhaust duct work and vents about every three months
  • Regularly remove and clean the containers in condenser dryers
  • Clean the outside of the dryer with a damp cloth
  • Wipe out the drum with white vinegar or diluted bleach

Tumble dryer repairs

If your tumble dryer develops any faults you may need to call in the professionals! Search online for a reputable appliance repairs service for safe and affordable domestic appliance fixes. You’ll be able to get a quote without paying a deposit, and hire trained technicians who’ll come to your home with all the tools and equipment needed to mend your dryer quickly and effectively. Choose a company that offers a fully insured service with added quality guarantees.