Most modern-day clothes dryer operate by using a combination of heat and movement (spinning) to extract moisture from the clothes. The moisture-rich air is then expunged outside the home through a venting system. However, there are some clothes dryers which operate without the use of a venting system.
Also referred to as centrifuge dryers, spin dryers work by spinning the drum rapidly to extract water. This is the same spinning process as a standard tumble dryer, only on a much faster scale. A vented tumble dryer may take 20-30 minutes to dry a load of clothes, whereas a spin dryer can perform the task in just 3-5 minutes, saving you both time and energy. Unfortunately, however, spin dryers won’t remove all of the moisture from clothes.
Condenser dryers, or condensation dryers, blow heated air over the clothes to extract moisture. Using a heat exchange, the hot, humid air is cooled and condensed, at which point the water travels through a drain pipe or into a tank. If a collection tank is used, the owner must routinely empty its contents to prevent an overflow.
Since they require an extra step (cooling and condensing the air), condenser dryers tend to use more energy than their heated tumble dryer counterparts. It also takes clothes slightly longer to dry in a condenser dryer.
As the name suggests, heat-pump dryers operate by passing the hot, humid air through a heat pump. This condenses the water vapor into moisture, at which point it travels through a drain pipe or into a collection – a process similar to the condenser dryer. Unlike a condenser dryer, however, the heat pump reheats the air after condensing it, which subsequently saves energy and eliminates the need for an exhaust vent.
Steam Compression Dryers
One of the newer types of ventless clothes dryers is a mechanical steam compression dryer. While tumble dryers use hot air (and movement) to extract moisture from garments, these dryers use steam generated from the recovered water. Steam compression dryers are heated to 210 degrees Fahrenheit to dry the clothes while also extracting any lingering moisture.
These are just a few of the many types of ventless clothes dryers on the market. If you’re in the market for a new clothes dryer and don’t have access to a vent, familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each before making a decision.