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New Dryers Use Less Energy and Reduce Wrinkling


Question: When I take clothes out of my old dryer, they are wrinkled and either damp or overly dry. I am thinking of getting a new efficient auto-reversing dryer. What other new features should I consider?

Answer: Wrinkling and tangling problems are common with older dryers and with some new ones too. Not only are the clothes a mess and need ironing, but these older dryers use much more electricity or gas than a new one.

Auto-reversing drum rotation is an excellent feature to minimize wrinkling. It changes the direction of the rotation every several minutes to keep the clothes from tangling and wrinkling. With the clothes tumbling freely, they dry more quickly, reducing the amount of energy used and your utility bills.

People often do not realize how much it costs to run a clothes dryer. Since it is a heat-producing appliance, it is naturally an energy guzzler. It also draws already heated or cooled air out of your house, so your furnace and air conditioner have to run longer to keep you comfortable.

One key feature to consider in a new dryer is the type of drying sensor. This determines when the clothes are dry and when the dryer shuts off. Over-drying clothes is a primary cause of wrinkling, shrinking and damage to the material fibers. If you have to iron, it wastes more time and energy.

The best moisture sensor is an electronic design. The sensor in the drum contacts the clothes to determine their moisture level. One design measures the electrical resistance between the drum and the dryer body to determine when the clothes are precisely at the dryness level selected.

Simpler, less expensive "automatic" moisture sensors are less accurate because they often determine the clothes dryness in an indirect way. For example, some measure the exhaust air temperature to estimate the dryness.

Select a model with many dryness-level settings so that you can vary the dryness depending on the items. A no-wrinkle feature tumbles the clothes every several minutes after they are dry until you remove them. An optional super-large lint filter helps if you forget to clean it. An antibacterial feature is good with children.

Also consider a condensing clothes dryer that does not vent outdoors. This allows you to locate the dryer anywhere in your home. Condensing dryers are also designed to be exceptionally quiet. The moisture from the clothes goes into a small drawer that you empty at the end of the drying cycle.

Combination washer/dryers, all in one space-saving cabinet, always use the condensing drying process. These are convenient to use. You put in dirty clothes and take out clean dry clothes an hour or two later.


Write for (or instantly download at Update Bulletin No. 591, a buyer's guide of 15 vented, condensing and combination dryers. Please include $3 and a business-size, self-addressed stamped envelope and mail to James Dulley, Los Angeles Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244.

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