What are the Differences Between Gas & Electric Dryers?
Hands up for those who hate doing the laundry. It can be quite a chore, right? But imagine if you have to hand wash and air dry your clothes and bedding just like in the old days. Luckily, we don’t have to do that anymore, thanks to modern appliances and devices.
Take the clothes dryer, for example. This welcome addition to our laundry room gives us clean, dry clothes in minutes. But there’s a trade-off. Dryers need the power to get the job done, which impacts our energy bill. How much they add to our monthly power costs depends on our area’s energy rates and the type of dryer we use.
Various brands and models of dryers exist on the market. Almost all of them work the same way. Where they differ is on their power source, whether they’re gas or electric-powered. Knowing the different types of dryers can help you pick the most energy-efficient one for your home.
Electric vs Gas: Choosing the Right Dryer
Electric or gas dryers dry clothes the same way. Inside the machine is a small motor. This motor spins a drum that has an electric fan that produces heat and removes the moisture from your clothes.
Where they vary is in how they produce heat and, of course, where they draw power from. Check if your laundry room has a hook-up option for both types before going into the details of each model. If your home can only accommodate an electric dryer, it doesn’t make sense to think about buying a gas dryer, right? Not unless you plan to install a gas line in your home.
Electric dryers have heating coils that require a substantial amount of power. That’s why you can’t plug this type of dryer into your standard 110–120-volt household outlet. Instead, you’ll need a 240-volt socket. Electric dryers also require a dedicated 240-volt circuit with a 30-amps rating to prevent tripping the breaker.
Electric clothes dryers expel hot air through an opening. That air must go outside; otherwise, it can cause a host of problems like mold growth and wood rot.
A ventless dryer eliminates the need for outside venting. This works best for those who don’t have a vent (for example, if you live in an apartment). However, the drying cycle is longer for this dryer type, which increases energy use.
Gas dryers come in two forms, those that use natural gas and those that rely on liquid propane gas. However, both models use a gas burner for heat generation.
Although they’re called gas dryers, they still need electricity to power the different machine components like the pilot lights, the drum (where you load your laundry), and the fan. This means that you’ll still have to plug your gas dryer into the standard home outlet along with the gas hook-up.
Outside venting for gas dryers is very important and has two functions. One is to get rid of moisture that can cause rotting and mold growth and the second reason is to expel the carbon gases caused by the gas combustion.
The upfront cost should not be your only consideration when you pit gas vs. electric dryers against each other. The price tag is just the tip of the iceberg, and you’ll need to look at other factors that go into the machine’s cost.
The prices of both gas and electric dryers vary. However, gas dryers are typically more expensive than their electric counterparts of the same capacity, sometimes by more than $100.
Electric dryers usually cost between $500 and $1,800. Meanwhile, be ready to shell out around $600 to $1,900 if you prefer a gas dryer.
If you already have a 240-volt outlet in your laundry room, installing an electric dryer is quick and easy. Just locate the heavy-duty electrical socket and plug in your machine.
Putting gas dryers in place isn’t as straightforward. Because it requires working with natural gas lines, it’s best to get the services of a licensed technician. As such, expect additional costs for installation if you opt for a gas dryer. The amount could come to around $70 to $150, depending on the prevailing service rate in your area.
Moreover, electric dryers usually take longer to heat up compared to their gas-powered counterparts. Gas dryers also tend to get hotter than electric dryers, so they can dry a load of laundry faster than electric-powered dryers. This means electric dryers consume more energy than those that use natural gas, leading to higher operating costs.
Maintenance and repair
Another factor to consider in the gas vs. electric dryer cost is how much you’ll spend on maintenance and repair.
Care for both dryer types is pretty much the same. This involves emptying the lint trap after every use and cleaning around and beneath the installation area every few months. Inspecting the vent is also part of the maintenance chores you need to perform.
When it comes to repairs, gas dryers typically require more dollars to set right. The reason goes back to their gas hook-up. The risks of leaks make it necessary to employ the services of a trained professional.
Repair costs generally amount to between $100 and $400, covering drum issues, clogged vents, or a faulty thermostat.
Safety & Maintenance
Properly installed and well-maintained dryers have a high chance of providing you with trouble-free service for years. Still, you should be aware of safety concerns. Let’s see what the risks are for both dryer types.
Possible Gas Dryer Risks
Because they run on natural gas or liquid propane gas, this type of dryer poses the following hazards:
- Gas fumes that leak between the machine and the gas line connection can lead to explosions.
- Carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes can also escape from improperly connected units.
Possible Electric Dryer Risks
You won’t have any problems with gas leaks with electric dryers, but they have their unique set of safety risks. These include:
- Faulty wiring and improper grounding can lead to electrical fires.
- Accumulated lint can go into the heating element and cause fires.
- There’s a small risk of electrocution from improperly installed units.
What is Better Gas or Electric Dryer?
If you’re shopping for an energy-efficient dryer, a gas-powered one is the way to go. Because gas dryers generate more heat and get hotter faster than electric ones, they consume less electricity. This ultimately helps you save on your energy expenses, which makes up for their higher price tag.
Do you still Plug-in a Gas Dryer?
Gas dryers use natural gas or liquid propane to produce heat. But to power, the lights, fan, drum, and controls, they need electric power. This means that you’ll have to plug in your dryer that runs on gas.
Unlike electric dryers that require a 240-volt outlet, a dedicated 120-volt socket is enough for gas-powered dryers.
How much do Gas Dryers Save over Electric?
Because gas dryers get so much hotter than electric-powered ones, they dry your clothes faster. The reduced drying time leads to energy savings in the long run.
If you dry around 5 loads of laundry a week, you’ll spend about $130 per year on power to operate an electric dryer. Meanwhile, the average cost of using a gas-powered one is approximately $85. That’s $45 less on your energy costs.
What are the Advantages of a Gas Dryer?
Gas dryers offer a host of advantages but let’s focus on their benefits to the environment and your pocket.
Dryers that run on gas get hotter faster than those that use electricity. That significantly reduces drying time, which means you use less energy to dry your clothes. Lowering the kWh you consume will also lower your energy bills.
Because gas dryers dry clothes faster than their electricity-driven counterparts, they also waste less energy. That makes them more environment-friendly compared to electric dryers.
Gas dryers may cost more than electric ones, but they’re also more energy-efficient. Their quicker drying cycles mean you use less electricity per load and thus, spend less on your utilities. The money you save on your energy bills in the long run help make up for a gas dryer’s higher price.
If you currently have an electric dryer and want to switch to one that runs on gas, do the math first. It makes financial sense to go for a gas dryer if you do 5 or more loads of laundry a week and if you intend to stay put in your home for the next 5 years. Otherwise, the upfront expenses associated with getting a gas dryer won’t be worth it.
When it comes to safety, both gas and electric dryers pose risks. However, you can avoid the dangers through proper installation and maintenance.
Whether you opt for a gas or electricity dryer, choose one with an energy star rating for maximum power efficiency.