Everything You Wanted to Know about Tumble Dryers

A washing machine is a standard equipment in virtually every household, while a tumble dryer still enjoys the status of a luxury item. Even though it is true that laundry can be air-dried entirely for free, this can be more complicated in a house or apartment without a balcony or terrace, or if setting up a drying rack means running an obstacle course in your apartment and promoting mould. In such cases, a tumble dryer is a godsend because it works come rain or shine. Besides, using a tumble drier has many advantages that you will undoubtedly want to avail yourself of once you become familiar with them. Energy-efficiency, practicality, the fluffiest towels, the softest bedding and beautifully scented clothes are definitely good reasons to find a place for a tumble dryer in your household. We have collected everything you need to know about these incredibly convenient appliances here, in one place, so you can finally simplify your life and watch the piles of laundry disappear.

How does a tumble dryer work?

Practically all tumble dryers operate on the same general principle. An electric motor rotates the drum filled with wet clothes, simultaneously driving the fan which circulates hot air through the drum. A heater heats the air, and a thermostat maintains the correct temperature. Water in the clothing evaporates due to circulating hot air. And what happens with this steam depends on the type of tumble dryer.

Conventional, vented tumble dryers

The most basic and also the most inexpensive tumble dryers pump out the hot, damp air from the drum directly through a flexible hose, which is usually fitted into an external vent or hung out of a window.

Condenser tumble dryers

They work by condensing the steam inside the machine with the help of outside air and turning it into water. This is collected in a removable container or tank, which is installed at the top  left corner of the dryer. The tank is easily removed and can be emptied into the sink when full. A useful accessory for this type of dryer is a AutoDrain hose for condensed steam which can be connected to the drain pipe of a washing machine or sink, rendering the regular emptying of the tank unnecessary.

Condenser tumble dryers with a heat pump

These dryers operate on a closed loop system whereby the air is heated by a heat pump and dry on lower temperatures what ensure gentle care of clothes . The heat pump allows for a fast exchange of temperature: larger versions are used for heating our apartments, while others are integrated into our air-conditioner units where they effectively cool our homes. A similar device is integrated in a tumble dryer. As with conventional condenser dryers, condensed steam extracted from the laundry evaporates into a tank while the cooled air used during the drying process is recycled and reused for a new drying cycle. This means that as much as four times less energy is consumed, and heat losses are minimised. Last but not least, it is also important to know that a malfunctioning heat pump tumble dryer constitutes hazardous waste because the heat pump contains gas for transferring heat energy that is generally harmful to the environment, thus it is important that we correctly and carefully handle this appliance.

Washer dryer

The combination of a washing machine and tumble dryer in one appliance is, on the one hand, a compromise, but on the other hand, it is a superb solution if you are short on space and looking for an all-in-one laundry machine. Drying works on the same hot air circulation principle as with all the dryers, only that the washing and drying happens in the same drum and can be performed directly following the other if we select the relevant programme. With this kind of appliance, it is nearly impossible to forget to dry the laundry after washing.

What is an inverter motor?

An inverter motor is installed directly on the axle, does not contain carbon brushes and uses opposing magnetic fields, which means that the motor’s friction is reduced, helping it operate quieter. Starting and stopping are also more efficient. This type of DC magnetic motor does not heat up as does a conventional motor because it is digitally controlled by an inverter card, which adjusts the power and spinning speed to maximise efficiency. An inverter motor is much more powerful and is therefore a perfect match for large-capacity tumble dryers that can dry 8 or more kilograms of laundry. It also more durable, thus servicing costs are greatly reduced.

Features and characteristics

Before purchasing a tumble dryer, it is recommended you figure out what type best suits your actual needs. There Is a lot of programmes and features to improve drying results and really simplify the whole “doing laundry” process.

Capacity

Similar to washing machines, the capacity of tumble dryers is also measured in kilograms. Most tumble dryers can dry 7 to 9 kg of laundry, but other capacities are also available. However, bigger is not necessarily better. You should consider how many members are in your household and how much laundry you usually wash and dry. A larger drum for smaller quantities of clothes is not an optimal choice because the drying results will suffer somewhat, and the costs will be higher. In principle, a tumble dryer with 7 kg capacity is enough for two people, while a four-member family needs a dryer with around 9 kg capacity. This also depends on how many clothes your household changes every day. In washer dryers, the capacities of washing and drying are different. If, for example, the capacity of washing is 9 kg, the capacity of drying is around 6 kg. This also means that one full washing load has to be dried in two parts, which takes more time.

Consumption

All household appliances bear energy labels. Similar to other household appliances, we rate tumble dryers into seven classes, from A to G, depending on their energy efficiency. Class A is the most energy efficient, while class G is the least efficient. Appliances that receive a letter grade from A to C are considered energy-efficient, whereas appliances that consume considerable amounts of energy are labelled with classes from D to G. We should always opt for an appliance with a letter rating as close to A as possible. Heat pump tumble dryers can also carry labels A +++, which means that they are that much more efficient compared to the regular A energy class because they dry laundry at substantially lower temperatures compared to other dryers. Letter grades can also be followed by plus signs. Each plus means 10% lower consumption compared to the A class.

Condensation efficiency

The efficiency of drying is also measured in letter grades, i.e. from A onward, and is stated on the energy label of every tumble dryer. The better the condensation efficiency of the dryer, the less moisture it expels into the surrounding area. This is important because we certainly do not want to increase the risk of mould growth on the walls of our apartment. A very energy-efficient tumble dryer can also be placed in a windowless room or passive house without having to worry about excess moisture. Condensation efficiency is labelled with letter grades from A to G. Tumble dryer in A class will drain 90 % of water from clothes and store it in condensation unit.

Energy label

The energy label can tell us some basic information about a tumble dryer:

CLOCK ICON – It shows the duration of the drying cycle;
SPEAKER ICON – This describes noise levels during operation;
ICON OF A TANK WITH DROPLETS – This describes the condensation efficiency with letter grades from A to G;
kWh – This number indicates annual energy consumption in kilowatt-hours.

Energy labels also include information on electricity consumption and drying efficiency. Both are presented with coloured bands and letter grades from A to G. It is best to buy a tumble dryer bearing a label as close to class A as possible, indicating the most efficient household appliances.

Size

The standard size of tumble dryers is similar to the size of washing machines. Their width is usually 60 cm, depth ranges  60 - 65 cm and height 85 cm.This means that we can usually simply place a tumble dryer on top of a washing machine because they are designed in such a manner that this, besides saving space, does not interfere with their operation.

Noise level

Every appliance makes more noise the faster it spins. Before purchasing, it is good to know where you want to place a tumble dryer. If this is near a living room or bedroom, a quieter model is certainly preferable. Appliances that operate silently usually have a system for decreasing vibrations, extra insulation and a massive, robust housing. Having an inverter motor also contributes to decreasing noise levels and vibrations – and gives the dryer a longer lifespan.

Programmes

Some of the reservations people still have are that not all types of clothing can be dried in a tumble dryer, that garments can shrink and that tumble-drying can last just as long as air-drying our laundry. The newest tumble dryers provide a solution for all of the above, provided you choose the right programme and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

In addition to programmes for cotton and synthetics, you can also choose among a host of dedicated programmes for delicates which reduce the number of revolutions and lower the drying temperature. You can relax your concern even when drying wool or silk. Drying and refreshing with steam, a feature that Gorenje named SteamTech, is also a special programme that makes sure clothes are wrinkle-free and hardly require any ironing once the drying cycle is done. Steam effectively smooths out creases in your clothes and eliminates any unpleasant odours in garments that you wore only briefly and simply need to be refreshed. Another innovation is called Iontech. Clothes are dried with air full of negatively charged ions to speed up the drying process and smooth out the creases. The ionizer creates an environment free of most allergens, residues of smoke and pollen and the electrostatic charge that builds up during the drying process. As a result, the clothes smell better, are easier to iron and do not attract lint.

Gorenje WaveActive dryers are made to get the work done in an effective, easy-to-handle and eco-friendly manner.