Natural Gas Clothes Dryers
Drying your clothes more economically
Natural gas dryers can dry two to three loads with the same amount of energy it takes to dry one with electricity. Natural gas is a cleaner, more efficient fuel for drying clothes economically. New gas dryers are designed for efficiency with features such as pilotless ignition and automatic shutoff. Use the cost calculator at right to see how much you can save by drying your clothes with a new natural gas dryer versus an electric model.
Shopping for a natural gas dryer
- Dryers are available in a variety of drum sizes to handle loads from 5 to 20 pounds. The capacity is usually listed on the dryer hangtag, sticker, or owner's manual.
- Compact dryers are ideal for apartments and mobile homes. Some are only 21 inches wide and 36 inches high. They may be set on a rack above a compact washer, or be a part of a stackable washer/dryer unit.
Controls and features
Controls regulate drying time and temperature. Top-of-the-line models come with electronic controls.
Although dryer designs may differ, the three most common types of controls are timed drying, automatic drying, and electronic sensor drying. Automatic drying is more accurate than timed drying but less accurate than electronic sensor drying.
Timed drying: You set the dial to the amount of time you'd like your clothes to dry and the dryer will stop at the end of that time.
Automatic drying: Dryers typically offer two or three automatic drying cycles such as regular, permanent press, and knit/delicate. You can set to your desired degree of dryness. Your clothes will dry to that temperature and moisture level; a cool-down period may be included before the dryer stops.
Electronic sensor drying: These more expensive dryers use an electronic moisture-sensing device that "feels" the degree of moisture in the clothes. When the degree of dryness selected is reached, the dryer automatically shuts off.
Different laundry loads require different temperatures depending on type of fabric and amount of moisture. Set your temperature control at:
- High or regular for non-permanent press loads such as towels and heavy-duty fabrics.
- Medium or permanent press for permanent press loads or no-iron fabrics such as nylon, acrylic, polyester or blends.
- Low for knits.
- Extra low for delicate fabrics and those labeled "Tumble Dry."
- Air for items that must be dried without heat, such as shower curtains, rain gear and items with elastic. Also use this setting for fluffing pillows and down garments, or removing dust from drapes.
Dryers offer a variety of convenient features that save time and energy and increase safety. Some features include:
Automatic cool-down: A timed interval at the end of the drying cycle when tumbling continues with the heat off to reduce wrinkling of heat-sensitive synthetic fabrics and no-iron finishes.
After-cycle tumble period: 15 minutes to 2 hours of periodic tumbling; helps prevent wrinkles.
Damp-dry: For cotton items to be ironed while damp, or for speed drying of natural fiber washable sweaters.
Tumble press: Releases wrinkles from garments that are clean and dry but slightly wrinkled.
End-of-cycle signal: Reminds you to remove items from dryer to prevent wrinkles.
Lint filter alarm: Tells you the lint filter urgently needs cleaning.
Stationary dry: For items to be dried on a removable rack without tumbling. Ideal for wool socks, stuffed toys, mittens, and tennis shoes.
Energy efficiency and price
Weighing energy efficiency against price is very important in your purchase decision. Although you may be able to buy a lower efficiency gas dryer for less, keep in mind that you will pay more for each load of clothes you dry as it uses more energy to do the job for the life of the unit. The more efficient your gas dryer is, the less energy it takes to dry your clothes, and the more you save. Over time, the efficiency will pay for itself and more. Use the dryer efficiency calculator to see how much you can save with a high efficiency model versus a less efficient or older model.
Caring for your natural gas dryer
These easy steps will help ensure safe, problem-free, efficient operation. Consult your owner's manual for details.
- Clean lint screen after each load; lint buildup reduces efficiency and could cause a fire.
- Clean exhaust duct work, vent, and hinged hood cover (outside the house) periodically:
- Turn off or disconnect electrical power to dryer first.
- Disconnect duct from dryer.
- Using appropriate tool,* clean the duct one section at a time.
- Check turns in the duct and remove collected lint.
- Be sure flapper at outside end of duct works freely (see illustration).
- Do not dry materials stained with cleaning solvents, wax or paint; foam rubber or rubber-coated items; or glass fiber materials.
- Do not use top of dryer as a work surface. Most dryers have an enamel finish that's not as scratch-resistant as porcelain.
* A vacuum hose attachment, a pole with feather duster or rag attached, or a drain-cleaning wire with a dust rag tightly attached.
Energy saving tips for your natural gas dryer
- Dry several loads one after another. It takes less energy to bring the dryer to the required temperature each time.
- Install dryer properly using rigid metal ductwork in the size recommended by the manufacturer. In general, a short, straight duct is best.
- Vent dryer to the outside to carry moisture-laden air out of your home. Flexible venting is not recommended; it tends to obstruct air flow and collects lint in its grooves.
- Use the fast spin cycle of your washer to remove as much water as possible from laundry before putting in dryer.
- Don't open dryer door unnecessarily.
- Read garment and fabric care labels for proper settings. Sort clothes into loads of similar fabric, finish, weight and color. Separate "lint givers" from "lint receivers." Dry dark colored items separately from lighter colored items.
- Avoid overloading. Items should tumble freely. Include only a few large pieces; fill load with smaller pieces.
- Avoid over drying; it wastes energy and causes shrinkage, static-cling and wrinkling. Seams and waistbands should have a hint of moisture when taken from the dryer.
- Remove clothes as soon as dryer stops to avoid wrinkling.
- Use the no-heat setting to plump pillows, renew pile of napped fabrics, freshen stored items, and remove lint or dust from household items such as drapes and spreads.
- Whenever possible, dry several loads one after another. It takes less energy to bring the dryer to the required temperature each time.
- If your dryer has an electronic sensor or an automatic drying control, use it instead of timed drying. It helps prevent over drying.
For more ways to save energy at home, see our list of energy-saving programs.