The purists will tell you that the best way to to save energy on tumble dryer use is not to use the dryer at all! Even given the sometimes unfortunate British climate, they argue, there are dry and sunny days when you can dry your laundry outdoors. And if you don't happen to have outdoor space for drying you can dry clothes in the bathroom.
That's all very well, but those dry days may not coincide with your laundry days, and filling your bathroom with damp clothing is neither attractive nor healthy. Some let's come back to the real world and look at some sensible tumble dryer tips that will reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your electricity bills.
Twelve Realistic Energy-Saving Tips for Your Tumble Dryer
Before you use the dryer
Use your washing machine to its maximum efficiency - Take a little time to get to know the cycles, wash similar items together and always use the strongest possible spin cycle to get your laundry as dry as possible before putting it in the dryer. If your washing machine isn't spinning as efficiently as it should, get it fixed! - Blocked hoses or traps are a common cause of this problem. You may be able to clear these yourself, if not, get a washing machine repair man in. Money spent on the maintenance of expensive equipment always gives better performance, more efficient energy usage and a longer lifespan on the appliance itself.
When you're using the dryer
Separate and shake items before putting them in the dryer - This maximises the surface area of clothes to the hot air so they'll dry more quickly.
Do fill the dryer but don't overload it - Using the appliance for one or two items is inefficient but so is overfilling it. Squashed up clothes won't dry well and you'll increase the wear and tear on the machine. As if this isn't bad enough, an overloaded tumble dryer will deliver a pile of wrinkled laundry and means you have to spend longer ironing.
Don't be tempted to add damp items mid cycle - This will slow down the drying of the whole load.
Tumble dry similar items together - Loading the machine with similar fabrics that dry at the same rate maximises efficiency.
Use the right cycle for the fabric type - Delicate items generally need a lower temperature and a shorter drying time. Separating fabrics and drying them at the right setting is better for your clothes too.
If you have an auto dry setting use it - The appliance will sense when clothes are dry and switch itself off. This is clearly a better option than a timed cycle which could leave your tumble dryer churning away on your already dry clothes
Empty the dryer as soon as it's finished - Many modern machines will continue to rotate to prevent creasing, which is just a waste of energy.
Invest in some energy saving tumble dryer balls - Tests show these can reduce drying times by up to 25%.
Tumble dryers maintenance
Install the machine in a warm dry room if at all possible - The dryer takes in air from its immediate surroundings and heats it, so a tumble dryer in your warm, dry kitchen will perform better than one installed in your cold, damp garage.
Clean the lint filters every time you use the machine - Blocked filters impede airflow and trap damp in the machine, making everything less efficient. If you have a vented tumble dryer the hoses here are also vulnerable to lint build-up. In a worst case scenario, lint build-up can even be a fire risk so it really is worth making sure your dryer is properly cared for and maintained.