Efficiency in a Clothes Dryer

February 22, 2008

hydronic dryerThe Dryer Miser is a huge step forward for one kind of energy sucking home appliance, the clothes dryer. While clotheslines are even more efficient and lower energy consuming, not everyone can use them all the time. Climate and weather can limit when a clothesline can be used, and many people live in buildings or sites where line drying is impractical.

Instead of directly heating the air, the Dryer Miser uses a heat exchanger filled with a fluid that is heated in order to transfer heat much more efficiently. “Made of durable copper and aluminum, the Hydronic Dryer’s heat technology works by heating up a specially formulated, non-toxic and non-corrosive heat transfer fluid with an immersion element (similar to a water heater). The fluid is transferred to a heat exchanger where it is mixed with air. The heated air is then blown into the dryer’s drum. The result is a safer, highly energy efficient dryer, that dries faster than any other brand available on the market – up to 41% faster!”

Fundamentally, this is the same kind of innovation as the innovation of going from heating a house with a forced air furnace to heating it with radiant heating. In addition to the energy savings it offers, because the Dryer Miser works at much lower heating temperatures than gas or conventional electric dryers (150 F versus 1000 F for conventional dryers) , it greatly reduces the risk of dryer fires. Even better, it is possible to retrofit an existing dryer with the Dryer Miser for about $300 and a 30 minute technician’s visit. So millions of old appliances need not be scrapped in order for this innovation to make its way into wide use.

The inventor is working with appliance companies to incorporate this device into their dryers, as well as talking to the EPA about getting these dryers Energy Star rated (thus far, no dryers have an Energy Star label).  As EcoGeek notes: “…it would have been easy to call his dryers the most efficient on Earth. Brown always qualifies the statement with, ‘aside from the sun.’ And that’s a touch of modesty that, to me anyway, is very welcome.”

via: EcoGeek.org