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Watch out for this energy hog

20140617_energyhog_blogYou may be surprised to learn that the biggest electricity guzzler in your house isn’t your TV or refrigerator.  That special honor goes to… your clothes dryer.

Dryers use between 1,800 to 5,000 watts per cycle, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.  Compare that to washers, which only use 350 to 500, or even your refrigerator, which uses 725.  Because of this, the machines account for a whopping 2% of electricity consumption in the U.S.

And considering that the average American does 400 loads of laundry per year, the bills can add up quickly—to the amount of $136 per year, according to the ACEEE.

Unfortunately, technology hasn’t caught up to the dryer market, so few energy-efficient options are available.  But there are still simple steps you can take to reduce the amount of  power used to dry your shirts and trousers.

Try these tips to lower your bills:

  • Minimize how often you do laundry:  Hang clothes to dry whenever possible.  If you must use the dryer, make sure the load is filled to the top to avoid the number of times you run the machine.  Try not to dry clothes more than once a week.
  • Use low heat settings that consume less energy.
  • Clean the lint screens after every load to improve air circulation and efficiency.  Periodically inspect the vents to make sure those are not blocked, as well.
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes.  If your machine has one, use a moisture sensor—which automatically shuts a drier off when the clothes are dry.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the heat remaining in the dryer.

If you have more tips, leave them in the comments below!