I think we can all agree that the convenience of tumble dryers is great – they just make laundry days so quick and easy. However, we’ve all been there – eagerly getting through the drying, and then getting stuck with a huge electricity bill at the end of the month.
Believe it or not, you could be paying over £140 each year to keep your tumble dryer running. But, by using it efficiently, you could be spending as little as £23 per year on it.
We’ve put together a list of our top tips and hints that’ll help save those precious pennies as you use it.
After a quick mid-week wash, it’s easy to just throw a couple of shirts in the dryer to get you through the rest of the week. This might be convenient, but it uses the same amount of energy to dry a full load as it does to dry those few shirts. So, try filling the drum each time to get the most out of each cycle. Make sure you check the maximum weight it can hold though – over-filling it can stop your clothes tumbling properly, and it’ll take longer for everything to dry.
Of course, it takes longer to dry heavy towels than light cotton shirts. So, in a mixed load, you end up drying clothes that are already dry while you wait for one damp towel. By separating fabric types, everything will be ready at the same time, so you’re not wasting energy on clothes that are dry already. Remember to do up the poppers on your duvet covers too – it’ll stop stray socks getting inside and staying damp.
We never think twice about shoving our clothes straight in the dryer. But, this could really be costing you. Fabrics that are tangled can’t tumble properly in the drum, so it takes longer for them to dry. And, of course, the longer the dryer’s on, the more energy it’s using and the more costly your bills will be.
Little tumble dryer balls work miracles! Just by throwing them in the drum, you could reduce drying times by up to 25%. They separate fabrics and help the air circulate through the dryer, to cover clothes more evenly. You can choose between wool and rubber ones – the woollen ones soak up excess water, while the rubber ones have spikes that retain heat and gently massage fabrics. This means your clothes will come out super-fluffy too – winner!
If you can, try and avoid cycles you set for a specific time. Your clothes could be dry after an hour and a half, but if you’ve set it on a 2-hour programme, that’s half an hour of wasted energy. These cycles are great for drying outfits exactly when you need them, but they’re terrible for conjuring up those unexpected surprises on your utility bills. If your dryer has a moisture sensor option, it’s best using that instead – it’ll stop the cycle exactly when your clothes are ready, saving energy.
At some point, we’ve all missed a shirt while we’re taking clothes out the washing machine. But, one of the worst things you can do is add that damp shirt to the dryer halfway through a cycle. Of course, it’ll take longer to dry, so as you’re waiting for it to finish, you’ll just be re-drying fabrics that are already done. If you leave it on a clothes horse or radiator instead, you’ll save tons of energy and lots of precious pennies on your bills.
If you have a couple of loads to do in one day, it always helps to get through it in one go. Try and put your second batch of clothes in the drum straight after the first load’s finished – the second cycle will make use of any leftover heat, so the dryer won’t need to work as hard to warm up. This means your fabrics will dry quicker and it’ll use less energy.
It’s something we’re all guilty of forgetting about. But, it’s super-important if you want your tumble dryer to work properly. When the filter’s clogged with fluff, hot air can’t get around the drum properly and it takes longer for your tops, skirts and jeans to dry. And, of course, the longer the dryer’s working, the more money’s being racked on your bills. To clean it, simply rinse it under the tap or go over it with a cloth or vacuum, depending on the model, after every cycle.
It’s not like you can replace your tumble dryer every day, but when it comes to buying a new one, try getting one that’s more efficient. AO has dryers with ratings from A+++ to C, with A+++ being the most efficient. Splashing out on one of these models will really help you save money in the long run – and, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re kinder to the environment too.
If you can, make sure your dryer’s living in a nice, warm, well-ventilated room. If it’s in warm surroundings, it won’t need to work as hard to heat the air it’s using to dry your clothes. And, the ventilation is really important to make sure it doesn’t overheat. This makes it safer to use too while being kind on your wallet at the same time.