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How a Gas Dryer Works | Selecting Your Gas Dryer | Dryer Controls | Dryer Features | Care of Your Gas Dryer | Tips for Use

Washing and drying clothes may never be considered fun, but modern appliances make the job easier. And natural gas provides a clean, efficient fuel to accomplish the job economically.

New gas dryers are designed for efficiency with features such as pilotless ignition and automatic shutoff. Industry studies show that new gas dryers use up to 30% less energy than older models. Consumer Reports, December 1993, says that in their tests, based on average utility rates, it cost 14 to dry a 12-pound mixed load in a gas dryer, and 44 in an electric dryer.


How a gas dryer works Return to top

Clothes are dried by evaporating water from fabrics, using heat, air flow and tumbling action.

A fan draws in fresh air and directs it over the gas burner where it's heated. The burner is thermostatically controlled and auto-matically ignited. The heated air is channeled through the drum where the clothes are tumbled. The warm air absorbs moisture and is exhausted from the dryer through a lint filter. This process continues until the desired amount of moisture is removed.

Energy consumption for gas dryers is very low; proper venting and choice of drying cycles help assure greatest efficiency.


Selecting Your Gas Dryer Return to top

A gas dryer should dry laundry thoroughly, without overdrying the fabrics. The machine should also turn off promptly when clothes reach the selected degree of dryness. Many other factors also enter into your gas dryer-buying decision - size, controls and features, energy efficiency and price.

Dryers are available in a variety of drum sizes, to handle loads from 5 pounds to 20 pounds. The capacity is usually listed on the dryer hangtag, sticker or owner's manual.

Standard gas dryer width is 27 to 29 inches. Height, including control panel, is 43 inches.

Compact dryers are ideal for apartments and mobile homes. Some are only 21 inches wide and 36 inches high. They may be set on a rack above a compact washer, or there are compact, stackable washer/dryer units available.


Dryer Controls Return to top

Controls regulate drying time and temperature; top-of-the-line models come with electronic controls. Electronic controls add to the price of the dryer and are not as informative as dial controls which show where you are in the cycle during operation. A dryer may have a single-dial, time-temperature control with two basic cycles, regular and air; or solid-state touch controls with electronic moisture sensors. Other control systems include automatic cycles designed for custom drying a variety of fabrics and laundry loads.


Time control

Although dryer designs may differ, there are three general types:

  • Timed Drying: You set the amount of time on the dial.The dryer stops at the end of this time; some cycles include a 4 -to 10-minute cool-down period. It's important to avoid over-drying by setting the timer for as short a drying period as possible. Drying results with a time-controlled dryer depend on the user's ability to judge drying time since loads vary in type of fabric, size and amount of moisture present. Lower-priced dryers may offer only a timed cycle.
  • Automatic Drying: Dryers typically offer two or three automatic drying cycles - Regular,Permanent Press, Knit/Delicate. Simply set the desired degree of dryness on the "More to less dry" control. The load dries to that temperature and moisture level; a cool-down period may be included before the dryer stops. An automatic drying control indirectly senses the temperature of exhausted air. Guesswork and overdrying are minimized. Automatic Drying is more accurate than Timed Drying, but less accurate than Electronic Sensor Drying.
  • Electronic Sensor Drying: Newer, more expensive dryers use an electronic moisture-sensing device that actually measures or "feels" the degree of moisture in the clothes. When the degree of dryness selected is reached, the dryer automatically shuts off. A cool-down period is generally included. Electronic Sensor Drying is the most efficient drying method.

Temperature control

Each laundry load requires a different temperature depending on type of fabric and amount of moisture it holds. Temperature selections are:

  • "High" or "Regular": For non-permanent press loads such as towels, heavy-duty fabrics, etc. Short cool-down period at the end of the cycle reduces wrinkling.
  • "Medium" or "Permanent Press": For permanent press loads or no-iron fabrics such as nylon, acrylic, polyester or blends. Longer cool-down period helps insure most wrinkle-free results.
  • "Low": For knits.
  • "Extra low": For delicate fabrics and those labeled "Tumble Dry."
  • "Air": For items that must be dried without heat, such as shower curtains, rain gear and items with elastic. Use for fluffing pillows and down garments or removing dust from draperies.


Dryer Features Return to top

Dryers offer a variety of convenient features that save time and energy and increase safety.

  • Automatic Cool-Down: A timed interval at the end of the drying cycle when tumbling continues with the heat off to reduce wrinkling of heat sensitive synthetic fabrics and no-iron finishes.
  • After-Cycle Tumble Period: 15 minutes to 2 hours of periodic tumbling; helps prevent wrinkles.
  • Damp-Dry: For cotton items to be ironed while damp, or to speed drying of natural fiber washable sweaters.
  • Tumble Press: Releases wrinkles from garments that are clean and dry but slightly wrinkled from a closet or suitcase.
  • End-of-Cycle Signal: Reminds you to remove items from dryer to prevent wrinkles.
  • Lint filter alarm: Tells you the lint filter urgently needs cleaning.
  • Stationary Dry: For items to be dried on a removable rack without tumbling. Ideal for wool socks, stuffed toys, mittens, tennis shoes and even wet newspapers.

Care of Your Gas Dryer Return to top

A gas dryer is almost maintenance-free. These easy steps will help assure safe, problem-free, efficient dryer operation. Consult your owner's manual for details on use of your dryer.

  • Clean lint screen after each load; lint buildup reduces efficiency and could cause a fire.
  • Clean exhaust duct work, vent and hinged hood cover (outside the house) periodically:
    • Turn off or disconnect electrical power to dryer before cleaning.
    • Disconnect duct from dryer.
    • Using appropriate tool,* clean the entire duct, one section at a time.
    • Check the gas line any time the dryer is moved.
    • Check turns in the duct and remove collected lint.
    • Be sure flapper at outside end of duct works freely (see above).
    • Be sure no birds, insects or small animals have nested inside the duct.
      * Choose a vacuum hose attachment, a pole with feather duster or rag attached, or a drain-cleaning wire with a dust rag tightly attached.
  • Do not dry: Materials stained with cleaning solvents, wax or paint; foam rubber or rubber-coated items or glass fiber materials.
  • Don't use top of dryer as a work surface. Most dryers have an enamel finish on the cabinet top and drum that is not as scratch-resistant as porcelain. Bleach, detergent, solvents and other laundry additives can remove the finish. Wet, non-colorfast items can leave stains.



Tips for Dryer Use Return to top
  • Read garment and fabric care labels for proper settings. Sort clothes into loads of similar fabric, finish, weight and color. Separate "lint givers" from "lint receivers." Turn dark colored items inside out (to reduce fading) and dry separately from lighter colored items.
  • Avoid overloading. Items should tumble freely. Include only a few large pieces; fill load with smaller pieces. To aid tumbling of small loads, add two clean lint-free towels.
  • Avoid overdrying; it wastes energy and causes shrinkage, static-cling and wrinkling. Most fabrics have natural moisture and should not be "bone dry." Seams and waistbands should have a hint of moisture when taken from the dryer.
  • Use the no-heat setting to plump pillows, renew pile of napped fabrics, freshen stored items, and remove lint or dust from household items such as drapes and spreads.


Energy Use Tips

  • Install dryer properly using rigid metal duct work in the size recommended by the manufacturer. In general, a short, straight duct is best.
  • Vent dryer to the outside to carry moisture-laden air out of your home. Flexible venting is not recommended; it tends to obstruct air flow and collects lint in its grooves.
  • Using the fast spin cycle of your washer, remove as much water as possible from laundry before putting in dryer.
  • Do not open dryer door unnecessarily.
  • Remove clothes as soon as dryer stops, to avoid wrinkling.

Call your local natural gas utility company or the Minnesota Blue Flame Gas Association at (763) 424-1841.