How to Save Money by Using Your Clothes Dryer Efficiently

By Lyle Weischwill | Jun. 12, 2023 3:43 pm PST

Using your dryer efficiently can indeed help you save money on your utility bills. It will also help your dryer last longer — saving you money on dryer replacement costs over time.

Unlock the savings potential in your dryer by keeping it in top shape with regular maintenance and using it in ways that save energy. Sorting and loading laundry to dry loads more efficiently will save money over time. Selecting the right settings on your dryer can also reduce energy costs of running the dryer.

Follow these expert tips to help you save money by using your dryer more efficiently.

Maintain Your Dryer for Peak Efficiency and Maximum Longevity

The number one cause of dryer inefficiency and excessive wear is poor maintenance. Make sure your dryer is in top operating condition by following these important maintenance guidelines.

Clean the Lint Screen Every Time You Start the Clothes Dryer

Forgetting to pull the lint filter out and clean off lint before starting each load is a leading cause of dryer inefficiency and excessive wear. A clogged lint filter restricts airflow and makes your dryer work harder, consuming more energy and wearing out the motor and other dryer components faster.

Get in the habit of always cleaning the lint screen before starting each load. Communicate this need to all members of your household that use the clothes dryer.

Wash the Lint Screen Thoroughly with Water Every Month

Fabric softener, often from dryer softener sheets, can build up on your lint screen and inhibit air flow through the dryer. You may not even see the softener residue.

Follow the steps in this video to thoroughly clean the lint screen in your dryer:

Remove the lint screen and wash it with water and soft bristle brush to remove fabric softener and dryer sheet residue that builds up on the lint screen. Let the lint screen dry completely and reinstall it in the dryer.

Repeat this procedure monthly or when you notice that laundry is taking longer to dry. This will keep air flowing through your dryer so it continues to work efficiently.

Clean the Dryer Exhaust Vent Duct System Regularly

Lack of exhaust airflow through the exhaust vent system will lengthen dry time and cause your dryer to use much more energy than it’s designed to use. It will also cause excessive wear – causing your dryer to wear out quicker.

Lint and debris build up in the exhaust vent system over time and clog the vent ducts. Clothes that are tumbling inside a dryer with a clogged vent can overheat. If you notice that it’s hotter than normal in your laundry room, it’s likely time to clean the exhaust vent system. Clean the exhaust vent duct system every few months to avoid clogs completely and keep your dryer working efficiently all the time.

Follow these steps to clean the dryer vent system:

  1. Check the dryer damper vent on the outside of your home. Clear any obstructions that are blocking the damper from opening properly. Clean the damper vent and make sure that it swings freely on its hinge so that exhaust air flows freely out of your home.
  2. Disconnect the flexible exhaust duct from its wall connection. Vacuum lint and dust from the exhaust duct going to the outside of your home.
  3. Use a lint brush or leaf blower to clear lint and debris from the exhaust duct system going through the wall behind your clothes dryer to the outside of your home.
  4. Vacuum lint and debris from the exhaust outlet on the dryer. Reassemble the flexible exhaust duct to restore the air path going to the outside of your home.

Clean the Moisture Sensor Bars

Many clothes dryers have sensor bars that tell the dryer to shut off when the load is dry. If you use dryer sheets, residue from the sheet’s fabric softener can make sensors think the load is dry when it’s still damp. Having to restart the dryer over and over again uses more energy.

Clean the sensor bars every 6 months or so, or if the dryer is consistently leaves the laundry damp. Dip the tip of a rag in rubbing alcohol and wipe the bars to clean off residue.

Schedule Professional Dryer Cleaning & Maintenance Service Yearly

Spending money on professional dryer cleaning and maintenance by Sears will save you money in the long run. Having your dryer serviced every year will ensure that it works at peak efficiency all year long. The Sears technician will clean and check areas that you aren’t able to access yourself.

During Sears Cleaning & Maintenance Service, the tech will perform these tasks:

  • Check the entire dryer exhaust duct system.
  • Test and inspect the heating system.
  • Check the drum, drive system and drum seals.
  • Examine and test the moisture sensor.
  • Inspect the power cord and electrical connections.
  • Measure dryer operating temperature.
  • Check all controls.

Having your dryer professionally cleaned and maintained by Sears every year won’t just keep your dryer working efficiently and lasting longer, it will also help prevent unexpected breakdowns.

To keep your dryer working even more efficiently, set up a Sears Clean & Maintain Laundry Bundle to get your washing machine professionally maintained at the same time as your dryer. Clothes will dry faster in your dryer when the washer spins water out of the laundry properly. Having your washer professionally maintained will improve spinning performance of the washer and clothes going into your dryer is take less time to dry so the dryer will work more efficiently as well.

Load the Dryer so it Works Efficiently

Don’t overload the dryer. Overloading the dryer prevents proper airflow, leading to longer drying times. Leave enough space for the air to circulate freely among the clothes.

Dry similar fabrics together so the clothes dries uniformly. Lightweight fabrics dry faster than heavier ones, so drying similar items together ensures more efficient drying. Also, the moisture sensor will work more accurately when you dry laundry with similar fabrics. Sort your laundry by fabric type and weight before washing and drying.

Toss a few wool dryer balls or clean tennis balls into the dryer to help separate the clothes, improving air circulation and reducing drying time.

Select the Best Dryer Settings for Energy Efficiency

  • Use the automatic drying setting that detects when clothes are dry and automatically shuts off the dryer. Using a timed cycle can waste energy because the dryer may continue to heat and run after the clothes are dry.

  • Choose the Less Dry setting when possible to minimize dry time of garments. This setting doesn’t just reduce energy consumption, it is also useful for gently drying delicate garments that can shrink or get wrinkled when they’re completely dried to a crispy condition. You can save money 2 ways by using the Less Dry setting – both your clothes and the dryer will last longer.

  • Unless you have specific items that require high heat, use lower heat settings. Most clothes can be dried effectively on medium or low heat. High heat settings use more energy and can also damage delicate fabrics.

  • Turn off the Wrinkle Prevent setting to prevent the dryer from restarting periodically when you leave clothes in the dryer after the drying cycle ends. Remove clothes from the dryer promptly after the cycle ends to efficiently prevent wrinkles. Smart dryers will notify you when the cycle ends so you can avoid wrinkled clothes without using the Wrinkle Prevent setting.

Of course, you can save the most energy to dry clothes by using natural drying methods such as clotheslines or drying racks when possible. This can also help extend the lifespan of your garments.

By following these tips, you can maximize the efficiency of your clothes dryer to save on utility bills and help your dryer last longer. You’ll also help the environment by using less energy and replacing your dryer less often.

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