The majority of dryers in American homes feature a conventional design in which they rely on a vent to channel the exhaust to the outside. However, if you live in a small home where you lack the extra space, or if you live in a community where there are strict rules that prohibit structural changes to your rental or condo, such as making a venting hole, ventless dryers can offer a solution to these problems. Additionally, if you’re concerned about energy consumption, ventless dryers also address this issue through the use of a heat pump or condensing–these options decrease energy use. The unit can be used in any location where you have access to a 220V electrical outlet.
Understanding Ventless versus Vented Dryers
Vented dryers generally pull room temperature air into the unit, which is then heated up so that your clothes can tumble around in it until they are dry. During this process, the exhaust–which typically contains a high amount of evaporated moisture–is channeled to the outdoors. This process wastes a significant amount of energy.
Unless you reside in a near-perfect climate, your vented clothes dryer is probably utilizing your home's climate controlled air before releasing it outdoors. This means that your furnace must work overtime in the winter to compensate for that air.
Not surprisingly, during summertime the waste is even worse, as the dryer must heat air that has already gone through artificial cooling by your central air system or window unit. You can immediately see how a ventless unit is beneficial, particularly where energy consumption is concerned.
How Ventless Dryers Work
Since ventless dryers have no air vent, they rely on alternative methods. The two ventless models available on today's market are heat pump dryers or condenser dryers. The following information can help you understand how each model works:
A condensation dryer pulls in dry, cool air from the room in which the appliance is placed. The air is then heated and passed through the clothes as they tumble around in the dryer.
Rather than featuring a vent to the outdoors, the air is transported through a device referred to as a “heat exchanger.” This is a cooling device designed to lower the temperature of the air. As the moisture is released, it flows into the dryer's containment chamber. This process continues until the items in the unit are fully dried.
It is important to remember that you must empty the containment chamber after each use, but this task is no more complicated than emptying water from a dehumidifier or other simple appliance.
Certain condensation dryer models allow the moisture to be channeled and dispelled through the washer's drainpipe. This is quite convenient if your washer is situated directly next to the dryer, or if you have a stackable washer-dryer unit. If so, you do not even have to empty the containment chamber.
Heat Pump Dryers
A heat pump dryer gets air from its surroundings, and this air is transported through a heat pump that features a “cold side,” the latter of which is designed to condense the water vapor into a collection tank or drain pipe, while the “hot side” heats up the air to use a second time.
The primary advantage of a heat pump dryer over a condensation ventless model is that the heat pump dryer uses 50% less energy.
Despite its minor inconveniences, such as having to empty the condensation pan or its smaller drum capacity than the average vented dryer, it is easy to see that the compact size and energy efficiency of a ventless dryer makes up for it. Investing in this type of appliance is a worthwhile endeavor.