Is your dryer smart enough?
Forty-five of the first-ever Energy Star-certified dryers have arrived in stores for your Presidents’ Day weekend shopping pleasure. They may not save you a fortune on energy costs, but if you upgrade to one, you will be doing your bit to use less energy and help the environment with each load of laundry.
The most important energy-saving feature of these new dryers, from Maytag, Whirlpool, LG, Kenmore and Safemate, is a moisture sensor. This sensor detects when clothes are dry and automatically shuts off the machine.
“This feature saves on energy and prevents wear and tear on your clothes, as well as reduces energy waste,” EPA Energy Star spokeswoman Denise Durrett says. Durrett also says consumers who have a standard electric clothes dryer that is more than 10 years old can save about $25 a year in energy costs, as well as help cut greenhouse gas emissions. According to EPA, Energy Star-certified clothes dryers are, on average, 20 percent more energy efficient than standard models.
One of the higher-end Energy Star dryers is the new Whirlpool Duet Hybridcare Dryer, available in white or a dark gray called “Chrome Shadow.” This front-loading dryer ($1,799) uses heat-pump technology to recycle energy. It does not require outside venting, making it workable in many places throughout the home and in apartments and condos where venting might be complicated. According to Charles Hall, Whirlpool’s senior product development manager for front-load laundry, this dryer is up to 73 percent more energy efficient than a pre-2004 dryer.
The new Energy Star dryers have price tags ranging from about $749 to $1,799 and are available in either front-loading or top-loading styles. They join the Energy Star washing machines, which made their debut in 1997. According to Durrett, the Energy Star program began in 1992 as “a way to look at the energy use in our homes and find ways to make products more energy efficient to help save money, save energy and help protect our environment.”
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