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.
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.