If you haven’t seen a ventless dryer, you will soon. They’re already popular options in appliance stores, and by 2021/2022, you won’t even see vented dryers in new homes.
The Traditional Dryer – Why they No Longer Appeal to Developers and Apartment Owners
Most Canadian homes that house dryers have the traditional vented version: the dryer pulls in room-temperature air, heat it up, then pump the moist air outside. These are called vented dryers.
From a developer’s point of view, it makes sense to switch from traditional dryers, especially when it comes to an apartment complex or building. Think about a thirty-story tower. To accommodate vented dryers, long, complex duct runs must be engineered throughout the building and outlets must be created to allow the vented air to be pumped outside. Those long ducts also have to be maintained and kept clean, and the longer a duct run is, the more easily lint can accumulate and can catch fire if not serviced regularly. So every year, you, or your strata, must pay for someone to come in and clean those ducts.
For apartment owners, vented dryers are also inconvenient. If you don’t like the location of your current dryer, you’d either have to run a duct to the new location, or punch a hole in the wall to accommodate it. A ventless dryer erases those concerns because there is no need for venting, and they’re usually more compact than traditional dryers, so you have the luxury of placing them almost anywhere.
Live on a top floor? Your clothes could take hours to dry, or sometimes not at all. That’s because the dryer ducts are so long in a multi-level building, and there are so many elbows and bends, that the hot air won’t reach your dryer to dry your clothes. And the ducts that pull that moist, hot air from your clothes and return it to the outside are also less efficient if they are forced to travel a long way.
For Home Owners, Vented Dryers are also Inefficient
Home owners also have their share of concerns when it comes to traditional dryers. Because of venting, dryers are often placed in the basement, or on main floors, where the heated, moist air can be expelled outside. But since most of us don’t get changed on the lower floors, that often results in needless trips up and down stairs, with the heavy burden of laundry baskets. With ventless technology, the space reserved for your clothes dryer could be upstairs, next to the master bedroom, near the washroom, or even in the second-floor hallway. It can be anywhere that’s convenient and accessible, because the units are often compact, and they don’t have to be connected to complex duct runs in your home.
Home owners also have to worry about fire hazards. The origin of some house fires has been traced back to clogged, lint-filled duct-work. Vented dryers also consume much more energy, because you’re essentially moving heated air from your furnace, into your dryer, and then blowing it outside. That means your furnace must work twice as hard to not only heat your rooms, but also to provide the heat that will be used to dry your clothes.
Thankfully, There’s Now an Alternative for Your Clothes: Ventless Dryers
Europeans have been using ventless dryers for years because they are compact, can be placed almost anywhere in the home and are more environmentally-friendly than traditional vented models.
There are essentially two types of ventless dryer: condenser dryers and heat pump dryers.
Condenser Dryers: How Do They Work?
Condenser dryers have a heating coil that sits in a unit inside the dryer. As it heats, the hot air passes by and draws the moisture out of your clothes. It condenses that moisture into distilled water, and then pumps it out into a container that you empty every fourth or fifth cycle (and this is a great bonus, because the distilled water can be used to feed your house plants). Or, for people who don’t want to worry about emptying containers, you can attach a drainage hose that empties directly into the same sink as your washer.
The downside is that since condenser dryers exchange air within the room, they do expel some hot air and could raise the room’s temperature by 1-2 degrees. That is why we recommend that you avoid placing your unit in a confined space, such as a closet. It should be in an area where the heat can be dispersed. On the other hand, some people like this feature because the condenser dryer can help heat their home.
Heat Pump Dryers: How Do They Work?
A heat pump system works a bit differently. Like a traditional dryer, it still heats the air inside the drum. But instead of venting to the outside, the moisture laden air passes over an evaporator which will collect and dispose of the water through your existing drain.
The cost is higher than “condensing” units, but this technology is also more energy-efficient, because instead of releasing hot air into the room, heat pumps recycle the heated air back into your dryer, to further dry your clothes.