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- > Do-It-Yourself Appliance Repair Help > The Laundry Appliance Repair Forum > Gas vs Electric Dryer Operating Costs/Efficiency

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Gas vs Electric Dryer Operating Costs/Efficiency  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 05:43 pm
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mangusta1969
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Due to these harsh economic times, I've recently been asked by a few people what the cost differences are in operating a typical gas dryer vs operating a typical electric dryer.  Here is the only site I've seen that has some a pretty good analysis and some quantitative answers:

http://www.myenergytips.com/Document.aspx?DocumentID=152

However, since this url has some significant math errors in it concerning the annual electric vs gas operating costs for 300 dryer loads, I am a little suspicious of its basic assumptions on the amount of electricity and on the amount of gas required for a typical load.

Can anyone point me to another web site that analyzes typical operating costs for gas vs electric dryers?  I would also be interested in any personal experiences from those that have carefully looked at their personal operating costs of gas vs electric dryers

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 Posted: Tue Mar 24th, 2009 07:24 pm
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RegUS_PatOff
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I don't know of a site offhand, but gas heat is usually cheaper...
depending on the rates & types of fuel where you live...  (natural gas, propane, etc...)

here in Milwaukee, electric heat would cost 3x the cost of (natural) gas heat...

some locations..  (Ten. Valley.... electric (dams) is way cheaper)



 

 

 



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 Posted: Wed Mar 25th, 2009 12:41 am
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mangusta1969
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RegUS,

Thanks for your response.

While it is relatively easy to measure the amp draw on an electric dryer or note the number of KWH used while it is drying a load of clothes and thus be able to compute the costs for electricity that is needed to dry a load of clothes, I don't know how to do this for a gas dryer, as the gas meter that I have is a much coarser measurement device.   I was just wondering if anyone had seen any believable numbers on the internet or had run any quantitative tests of their own. 

Since I don't live in the TVA region, nat gas in my area is also much cheaper than electricity to heat with (on the basis of $/BTU of heat), I don't think that tells the whole story with an electric dryer to gas dryer comparison. 

The site I referred to is on the right track, but their computation for 300 loads of dry laundry was substantially in error if you just do the math on their stated costs per load in the uppler table (10.4 cents/load for gas and 19.6 cents/load for electricity).  Those numbers should have equated to $58.80 for 300 loads for electricity and $31.20 for 300 gas-powered loads, substantially different than the numbers shown in their bottom line summary table.

In figuring out cost of ownership over an appliance's life time, I guess another factor to consider is whether there are any substantial repair frequency or replacement parts cost differences between the gas and electric dryers. 

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 Posted: Wed Mar 25th, 2009 05:47 am
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Tronicsmasta



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Just call the manufacturer's  They have energy guides available based on the average National Electricity and Gas cost.

Generally speaking, gas is cheaper.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 25th, 2009 06:54 pm
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mangusta1969
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I guess I should have mentioned that prior to posting my question, I had already performed a pretty extensive internet search for individual appliances.  I don't think manufacturers produce "energy guides" for dryers, probably because the government doesn't mandate this.  At least I couldn't find anything concerning electric or gas dryer energy usage on maytag, whirlpool, samsung or lg appliance web sites.  There is plenty of annual energy usage information on washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers, though


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 Posted: Wed Mar 25th, 2009 06:57 pm
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Pegi
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Dryers do not require energy star ratings since there is no way to make them different heating wise since they started making modern dryers, the heat is what is is be it gas or electric...only difference in how much they cost to run is the cost of energy per unit in your location...



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 Posted: Wed Mar 25th, 2009 07:37 pm
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mangusta1969
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Pegi,

Even if the heating costs per BTU of heat required were about the same for electricity and gas,  I would still expect there would be some operating cost differences between manufacturers and gas or electric dryer models, depending on how closely they controlled the drying temperatures (ie, on/off cycling of the heat source) during the complete cycle time.

What I really need is the number of gas therms per load or the cubic feet of gas consumed per typical load for a gas dryer, and the number of KWH required for an equivalent load that is dried in an electric dryer.  All the manufacturers themselves indicate is that a gas dryer model might be "slightly" less costly per year to operate than their electric models.  This is while electric home heating in most areas of the US is more than twice as costly to use than natural gas heating. 

As an example, in my area of Northern NV, I have a 1400 square foot duplex apartment with electric radiant heat (ceiling) that costs about $150-200 a month to heat while a 5000+ square foot  on natural gas forced air heat costs only $300-350 a month to heat for the same monthly periods during the winter.  Both residences have an comparable amount of modern insulation (R-38+) and are located about 150 feet apart from each other.

The article that I did find and referred to in my first post indicated that the gas dryer they studied was about 100% less costly to operate than the electric dryer, based on their local energy costs at the time of their analysis.  I just questioned the study itself a bit because it had a big math error in its bottom line. 

Surely some high school or college student has done a science project on gas vs electric dryer operating costs. All it would take would be a small gas flow meter placed on the dryer's inlet piping to measure the amount of gas required to dry a typical load of laundry (say 8 towels or so). 

Any residential electric utility meter should be able to directly measure the amount of electricity required by the gas dryer and by the electric dryer.  My electric meter can measure down to a granularity of about 1/2 KWH, while my gas meter only measures down to a granularity of 1000 cubic feet of gas usage.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 25th, 2009 07:56 pm
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RegUS_PatOff
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mangusta1969 wrote: ... depending on how closely they controlled the drying temperatures (ie, on/off cycling of the heat source) during the complete cycle time...

everything else in a Dryer is mostly the same.

they have the same blowers, thermostats

OK, a little different thermostat temperatures, but that's mostly for safety temperatures, and Heater hysteresis,
but even with that, if one Dryer Heater is on longer duty-cycle times, it's offset with shorter total Drying time ...

It takes a certain amount of total BTU's to dry a load of laundry,
and whether you get that from gas or electric depends on availability and cost in your area.

... and in some cases, fear of one or the other energy sources....



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