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Condensing Tumble Dryers
Tumble dryers have a range of load capacities Just like washing machines.
The greater the drum capacity the more drying you can do at any one time. Large capacity machines are useful for drying bulky items like Quilt Covers or bathroom towels but you should also be aware that drying smaller loads in a larger drum would reduce creasing and make ironing easier.
When purchasing a new tumble dryer, consideration will have to be given to the space you have available.
There are three main types of tumble dryer:
Vented tumble dryers work by expelling the hot, damp air from your wash through a hose that can be fixed to a permanent vent in an outside wall or simply hung out of a window during operation. Not all vents are in the same position; make sure you choose a dryer with the vent in the correct position for your space. Some dryers have 2 or 3 vent positions and others only have one, these can be at the front, rear or side.
Condenser tumble dryers work by turning steam created by drying clothes into water, which is collected in a water reservoir that requires regular emptying. The reservoirs are always at the front of the appliance at the top or bottom.
Compact Tumble Dryers work the same as Vented Dryers, but are smaller and can sit on a Draining board if space is minimal.
There are a number of different functions to consider when buying a dryer.
Uni-directional means that the drum rotates in only one direction.
Reverse action means that the drum rotates in both directions, this helps untangle clothes and prevent creases, making ironing easier.
Sensor drying tumble dryers automatically cut off the heat when the load has reached the level of dryness that you have selected and therefore save you time and money by not over drying your clothes and cutting down on your electricity bill.
Traditional dryers continuously draw in the cool, dry, ambient air around them and heat it before passing it through the tumbler. The resulting hot, humid air is usually vented outside to make room for more dry air to continue the drying process. The traditional design does not recycle the heat put into the load. Nevertheless, the basic design is simple, reliable, and cheap. Gas dryers must be vented outdoors, as the products of combustion are vented along with the moist air. Building codes and manufacturers' instructions recommend that dryers vent outdoors. An indoor lint trap kit poses a problem of increased humidity within the dwelling.
These machines simply spin their drums faster than a typical washer could in order to extract additional water from the load. They may remove more water in two minutes than a heated tumbler dryer can in twenty, thus saving significant amounts of time and energy. Although spinning alone will not completely dry clothing, this additional step saves a worthwhile amount of time and energy for large laundry operations such as those of hospitals.
In some cases, dryers may use spin alone. Sometimes swimming pools may have small spin dryers for the convenience of patrons. Full drying is not necessary, as the patron typically launders the swimsuit soon after.
Just as in normal dryers, condenser dryers pass heated air through the load. However, instead of exhausting this air, the dryer uses a heat exchanger to cool the air and condense the water vapour into either a drainpipe or a collection tank. This air is run through the loop again. The heat exchanger typically uses ambient air as its coolant, therefore the heat produced by the dryer will go into the immediate surroundings instead of the outside, increasing the room temperature. In some designs, cold water is used in the heat exchanger, eliminating this heating, but requiring increased water usage. In terms of energy use, condenser dryers typically require less system-wide energy use than conventional dryers. Energy saving results from the system not having to heat or cool additional air to replace that exhausted by a traditional dryer. Typically this saving is sufficient to offset the increase in power draw, longer drying times, and ambient cooling requirements associated with condensation dryers.
Because the heat exchange process simply cools the internal air using ambient air (or cold water in some cases), it will not dry the air in the internal loop to as low a level of humidity as the fresh, ambient air. As a consequence of the increased humidity of the air used to dry the load, this type of dryer requires somewhat more time than a traditional dryer. Condenser dryers are a particularly attractive option where long, intricate ducting would be required to vent a traditional dryer.
Heat pump dryers
A closed cycle heat pump clothes dryer, using a heat pump to dehumidify the process air. Such dryers typically use less than half the energy per load of a condenser dryer.
Whereas condensation dryers use a passive heat exchanger cooled by ambient air, these dryers use a heat pump. The hot, humid air from the tumbler is passed through a heat pump where the cold side condenses the water vapour into either a drain pipe or a collection tank and the hot side reheats the air. This avoids the need for ducting, and also conserves much of the heat within the dryer instead of exhausting it into the surroundings. Heat pump dryers can therefore use less than half the energy required by either condensation or traditional dryers.
As with condensation dryers, the heat exchanger will not dry the internal air to as low a level of humidity as the ambient air. The higher humidity of the air used to dry the clothes has the effect of increasing drying times; however, because heat pump dryers conserve much of the heat of the air they use, the already-hot air can be cycled more quickly, generally leading to shorter drying times than traditional dryers.