When was the last time you saw numerous clotheslines draped throughout a neighborhood with shirts, dresses, pants and sheets flapping in the breeze? A generation ago, no one would have batted an eye at the sight, but these days, clothes dryers have virtually replaced the old-fashioned way to get moisture out of clothing. There is nothing more convenient than a clothes dryer, but now that you are going to purchase a new one, you might have a couple lingering questions: Which is better for me, an electric dryer or a gas-powered unit? And which one will require me to hire a dryer repair company more often?
In some ways, these appliances are very similar. Both dry and tumble clothing using heat. However, electric dryers create this heat using a coil, while gas-powered ones accomplish the same thing by using a burner. Both have small electric motors that tumble clothes around the drum and fans that distribute the warm air.
Pros – In general, you will pay less for an electric dryer. Furthermore, there are plenty of choices among models at a range of price points. Finally, you can install an electric dryer almost anywhere with minimum equipment.
Cons – Unfortunately, electric dryers are not known for their energy efficiency because it takes so long to heat the coil. In addition, drying a load of clothes requires more time and energy than it would with a gas dryer. Astoundingly, an electric dryer will take twice as long to dry your clothes, which is hard on garments in the long run.
Pros – The natural gas that fuels these dryers is significantly cheaper than electricity. Also, unlike electric dryers, the gas burner heats instantly, reducing energy waste. A gas dryer dries clothes in half the time, leading to less long-term damage to your garments.
Cons – In order to use a gas dryer, you need to have a natural gas hookup in your neighborhood. If it is not available, you must either have it installed or give up on the idea of using it to fuel your appliances. If you decide to have it put in, you will need to pay for the purchase of special burners and fittings, which will add to the cost. In addition, gas dryers cost more than their electric counterparts and come in a much more limited set of designs. Whereas repairing a gas dryer usually requires the professional services of a technician, you can often fix minor problems with your electric dryer yourself.
There are no easy answers to the question of which type of dryer to put into your home or business. It is a balancing act between economic and budget concerns and overall energy efficiency. Whatever you ultimately choose to buy, make sure you are happy with your decision. After all, you will be using whatever dryer you purchase for many years to come.