What is a heat pump dryer and how does it work?

A heat pump dryer is a dryer that dries laundry with the help of a cooling element. This means that the dryer dries at a lower temperature. The big advantage of this is that it uses very little energy and the clothes wear less quickly. Because of the lower temperature, a heat pump dryer does take a little longer to dry your laundry.

What is a heat pump dryer and how does it work?



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A wash geek since 2017

What is a heat pump dryer?

A heat pump dryer is what you use to dry your laundry. It is equipped with a heat pump and a refrigerant, which prepare the air inside the dryer to be blown through the laundry over and over again. This technology ensures that the drying process uses a lot less energy than normal clothes dryers, which is why the heat pump dryer is seen as the energy efficient alternative to the clothes dryers that most households have now. When you buy a heat pump dryer, you can save significantly on your energy costs. It is therefore not surprising that the heat pump dryer is becoming increasingly popular! The first and biggest difference is in the system that is used to dry your laundry. A normal condenser tumble dryer has a rotating drum into which hot air is blown. This dries your laundry and moistens the air. This moist air is then removed. Now the dryer has to draw in new air and heat it up to dry the laundry further.

But how does a heat pump dryer work? Instead of expelling the moist warm air, it is passed along a refrigerant and turned back into dry air, then that air passes along a heat pump which ensures that warm air can be blown back into the drum. The same moist air is reused over and over again and therefore the unit does not need to continually draw in new dry air. This is one of the reasons why the energy consumption of a heat pump dryer is much lower.

What does a heat pump dryer consume per year?

As you have seen above, a heat pump dryer uses a system where moist air is not expelled, but is converted into dry air. This requires much less energy than the process of drawing in new dry air, which makes a heat pump dryer much more economical and better for the environment.

Heat pump dryers use 50% less energy per year on average than different types of washers with energy label C, so you can say that they are a lot more economical. The consumption of a regular clothes dryer is around 4.5 kWh per drying cycle and a heat pump dryer only needs a third of that, just 1.5 kWh, to get the same laundry dry. That’s not only better for the environment, it also saves money. When you pay around 0.25 euro per kWh, your savings per drying cycle can be as high as 0.70 cents, which adds up to around 100 euro per year for an average of three drying cycles per week. Over the lifetime of the condenser dryer, you can easily make it pay for itself.

But, that’s not all…

A heat pump dryer can save a lot of money per year because the drying system is much more energy efficient, but it also saves by using a much lower temperature than regular clothes dryers. Depending on the program you choose, a regular condensing dryer can use temperatures up to 90 degrees to dry your laundry. With a heat pump dryer, the temperature of a program is between 5 and 35 degrees. First, the lower temperature obviously contributes to the energy and cost savings you can make per year, but it’s also a lot more beneficial for your laundry. Clothes made from delicate materials that are prone to wear and tear will last longer if they are washed and dried at a low temperature. It’s not surprising to wonder whether such an energy-efficient alternative to a condenser dryer will achieve the same results. Of course, the savings per year are a nice bonus, but will your clothes come out as dry as they used to? Every heat pump dryer has different programs, all of which specialise in drying certain materials. You should have already sorted your clothes before putting them in the washing machine, so you can then transfer them straight into the heat pump dryer’s drum. All you have to do is choose the right programme and the rest will take care of itself. It is just as easy to use as the dryer you are used to.

There are no drawbacks to a heat pump dryer?

Uhas to be said. A heat pump dryer works differently to a regular condenser dryer, so there are definitely some drawbacks to consider. The biggest advantages are of course that it is more energy efficient and that your clothes will last longer, but consider the following disadvantages:

The drying time is longer

A heat pump dryer uses a lot less energy, but that also means that it takes longer to dry your clothes than a normal dryer would. With a heat pump dryer, you should take into account that it takes about two hours to dry a full load of cotton. Some heat pump dryers have a short cycle, but this may not work with all fabrics. If you don’t like the idea of waiting a bit longer than normal, then a heat pump dryer is not for you.

The drum is smaller

Heat pump dryers are slightly smaller than other condenser dryers. An average family with 2 children has a washing machine with a 8 or 9kg fill weight, and that matches the capacity of most heat pump dryers. However, if you have a 10 or 11kg washing machine, you’ll have a tough time finding a condenser dryer with the same capacity. The downside is that you will be able to fit more in your washer than in the dryer’s drum, and you will often end up with leftover laundry that you will need to dry differently.

The purchase cost is higher

At the end of the day, a heat pump dryer is also often a bit more expensive to buy. Because it is also a lot more energy efficient, you can easily recoup this cost, but you have to choose to make that investment. All heat pump dryers last an average of 12 years, if you use them three times a week. During its lifetime, you may need to replace a part of the heat pump dryer from time to time, but because a heat pump dryer has fewer different parts on average than a regular clothes dryer, that chance is often much smaller.

Is a heat pump dryer for me?

If you’re looking for a replacement for your regular dryer, it’s worth considering buying a heat pump dryer. It’s different, but just as good (or better) than the one you have now, and it could save you a lot of money every year. Not only is it an energy-efficient alternative, it’s also a lot safer for your clothes, extending their lifespan and reducing the need for you to buy new clothes.

Condenset dryers, on the other hand, have a significantly lower purchase price, and that’s definitely something you should consider when thinking about buying a heat pump dryer. It’s an investment that won’t pay off until your annual energy costs come down. The drum’s fill weight and longer drying time are also features to consider when determining whether a heat pump dryer is the best choice for you.

Picture of Yannick

A wash geek since 2017

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