Clothes Dryers Waste Billions of Dollars In Annual Energy Costs

Fred's Appliance
July 7, 2014


According to a new report released by theNatural Resources Defense Council(NRDC), the use of clothes dryers in the U.S. costs consumers an estimated $9 billion each year. While major appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines have adapted energy-efficient technology, dryers are lagging behind.


Clothes dryers have become a staple appliance in modern-day homes, offering families a quick and easy way to dry their laundry. However, the NRDC reports that most clothes dryers in the U.S. (75%) are electric models, which unfortunately use more energy than their gas counterpart. A typical electric clothes dryer costs roughly $100 per year to operate, whereas a gas dryer costs just $40 per year to operate.


Not all clothes dryers are energy-hungry machines that will hike up your power bill. According to the NRDC, Americans could save $4 billion annually if every residential dryer was replaced with the most energy-efficient foreign models. The U.S. government’s energy policies on clothes dryers has been shrouded by its attention on air conditions and other major household appliances. In addition, this move would also cut some 16 million tons of CO2 emissions from being exhausted into the Earth’s atmosphere.


In fact, extensive research done by NRDC and its consultant Ecova shows that updating residential dryers to the level of the most efficient versions sold overseas could save U.S. consumers a whopping $4 billion a year. These improvements also would prevent roughly 16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, equivalent to the pollution from three coal-fired power plants,” wrote Noah Horowitz, author for the NRDC blog.


But there’s hope on the horizon for families looking to reduce their dryer’s energy usage. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program recently added clothes dryers to their lineup of label-compatible products. In order for a dryer to receive the Energy Star label, it must use 20% less energy than noted in the federal energy efficiency standards. You can expect to see energy-efficient clothes dryers touting the Energy Star label in the upcoming months.


To recap, if you’re looking to purchase a new dryer, focus on two key features: the Energy Star label, and a gas model as opposed to electric. Some people assume gas-powered appliances use more energy than electric, but this isn’t true. Replacing an electric clothes dryer with a gas model can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the dryer’s life.

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