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Which Dryer is Cheaper: Gas or Electric?

written by: ShawnTe•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 9/28/2010

More than anything lowering the high cost of energy bills such as gas and electric are a priority. When certain appliances are made to run off of either electricity or gas such as dryers, it's hard to know which is right for you. More importantly which type of dryer is the most cost effective

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    What's the Difference?

    According to California's Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center, both electric and gas dryers have an electric motor that turns the drum. The drum allows the clothes to tumble around inside of it while they dry. The difference between the two types of clothes dryers concerns the heating mechanism of the dryer.

    Electric dryers use electricity which activates the thermal coils to supply heat. In addition, almost all electric clothes dryers require a 240-volt circuit in order to operate. Gas dryers use a gas burner to supply heat for drying clothes. A gas dryer also requires a functioning hookup to your gas line and a metal hose leading outside to vent the exhaust from the clothes dryer.

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    Upfront Costs

    Many modern homes already have a 240-volt circuit. However, if your home is not equipped with one a rough estimate from Bell Inspection in Florida advises that the cost could run you from $300 to $500 per circuit. If your home does not have gas hookup for a gas clothes dryer, then this could cost you anywhere from as little as $150 to as high as $1,000, depending on mitigating factors according to Cortez Cate from All Experts. Keep in mind that the prices mentioned are estimates and your local electrician, plumber, and gas company will provide you with the most accurate quotes for your home.

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    Long Term Savings

    In the long run a gas dryer can save you 15% more than an electric dryer, advises The Money Pit. Added savings can occur if the gas dryer has the following features:

    • Large drum - a dryer with the twice the capacity of your washer allows for more heat to come in contact with clothing which aids in faster drying time.
    • Moisture Sensor - A moisture sensor senses the amount of moisture in the dryer. If the sensor detects no moisture the dryer will automatically stop. This prevents using more energy than is necessary and protects clothing from unnecessary heat damage from the dryer.
    • Front Loading - According to the Home Depot, front loading dryers have larger drums that hold larger loads which reduce drying time. A lot of front load dryers have higher spin speeds which also aid in drying clothing quickly.

    If you do not have a gas hookup to run a gas dryer and can not afford the additional cost of having one installed, then an electric clothes dryer may be your best option. Should you find yourself in the process of remodeling your home and you do not have a gas hookup, take this opportunity to have one installed. This way, when you are ready to purchase a new clothes dryer you have everything you need to purchase a more energy and cost efficient gas dryer.

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    Works Cited

    California Energy Commission. (2009). Clothes Dryers: Energy Choce at Home. Retrieved December 21, 2009, from Consumer Energy Center: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/appliances/dryers.html

    Cate, C. (2005, June 1). Gas Dryer Hook Up. Retrieved December 22, 2009, from All Experts: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Plumbing-Home-1735/Gas-Dryer-Hook.htm

    Repair Cost Guide. (n.d.). Central Florida Repair Expense Guide. Retrieved December 22, 2009, from Bell Inspection: http://www.bellinspection.com/RepairCostGuide.html

    The Home Depot. (2009). Buying Guides: Dryers (Gas and Electric). Retrieved December 21, 2009, from The Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ContentView?pn=Dryers_Electric&langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    The Money Pit Team. (2007, July 25). Electric Dryer Vs. Gas Dryer: Which is Cheaper? Retrieved December 21, 2009, from The Money Pit: http://moneypit.com/blog/money-pit-team/electric-dryer-vs-gas-dryer-which-cheaper