A Helpful Guide to Your Ventless Dryer
Until recently, the options for laundry appliances designed for the smaller home were extremely limited. Listings for “apartment washer and dryer” typically meant opting for a bigger unit, paying higher rental costs, or sharing a set of appliances in a common area with several other families. As for homes and apartments that lacked either the venting or the space to accommodate a pair of typically oversized appliances, the common solution was often to simply do without and make frequent trips to a Laundromat.
Today, the ventless dryer and ventless washer dryer combo are bringing the convenience of in-unit laundry service into more and more small homes and apartments. Here are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind to ensure the optimal performance of your ventless dryer or ventless washer dryer combo.
Why Less is Better: The Ventless Dryer Vs Conventional Dryers
The conventional dryer works by heating and circulating air though wet clothes. The moist air is then cycled out of the dryer, and ultimately outside of the building, through a duct or vent. Some of the problems commonly associated with vented dryers include lint build-up, clogged vents, use of unsuitable materials for vents (such as flammable plastics), pooling of leaked moisture around the base of the dryer, and reduced air flow caused by excessively long and winding dryer vents. (Building codes list that dryer vent runs cannot be longer than 25 feet.) In short, a conventional dryer is only as good as its venting, which can be susceptible to problems. Given all this, it’s easy to see why ventless dryers are rapidly gaining popularity.
Ventless Dryer Basics
Already very popular in other parts of the world, the ductless or ventless washer dryer combo is rapidly becoming the laundry appliance of choice in today’s American home. The ventless dryer uses cold water condensation technology, first using heat to draw moisture from clothing and then recycling the hot air back into the drum, where it is cooled back into water that can then be safely drained into an ordinary household sink at a safe and steady rate. This cycle repeats itself until the clothes are dry. Note that the ventless home or apartment washer and dryer combo does require a little more time to fully dry clothing than conventional appliances.
Because the ventless dryer recycles the heat that it creates, its power requirements differ from those of a vented dryer:
- Any home with power and a faucet can support this kind of laundry system. It’s the ideal apartment washer and dryer set.
- Ventless dryers are not available with a gas connection. Gas dryers must vent their fumes outside to prevent the hazards of toxic air or fire.
- Ventless dryers are available in 110V or 220V electricity.
- The all-in-one ventless washer dryer combo needs to be hooked up to cold water to allow for proper drying.
- The stand-alone ventless dryer needs a little space around it to allow for in-room air circulation. It can be installed in small areas such as closets, or under countertops, but should never be operated with the closet door closed. Similarly, vented dryers cannot be installed in a closet and operated with the closet door closed.
Air to Air Condensation Drying
Air-to-Air Based Condensation Drying is a common function of the stand-alone ventless dryer, both stackable and side by side. These units work by using two different air circulation systems, one for drying air and one for cooling air. The air in the drum is heated to about 160 degrees and then sent through the clothes, and then cycled through a heat exchanger, or condenser. During this time the dryer also draws air from the room (65-70 degrees) and cycles it through the condenser.
The two air masses travel through different sections of the condenser and do not actually mix. Instead, the cooling of the air in the drum causes the moisture drawn from the clothes to condense and collect so that it can be pumped down the drain of an ordinary household sink. Meanwhile, air is cycled back over the heating element to help dry the clothes. (See diagram). The cycling of these two different air circulation systems continues until the clothes are dry. The dryer raises the temperature in the room by only about 2-5 degrees in a 7-8 foot diameter around the appliance.
Pairing a Ventless Dryer with a Washing Machine
If opting for a pair of laundry appliances, be sure to pair your ventless dryer with the right washer. Washer capacity should be compatible with what a dryer can dry. For example, spending extra on a washer that launders 25 lbs. of clothes makes little sense if the dryer’s maximum load is 16 lbs. of clothes. On the other hand, do pair your ventless dryer with a washer that extracts most of the water from the clothes during the final spin cycle. Washers that reach spin speeds of 1000-1200RPMs or more are ideal.
For More Information
Explore our website to learn more about stackable washers, side by side washers, and ventless dryers. Note that different brands have different electrical and plumbing requirements. If you have additional questions about these dryers and how they work, please contact one of our appliance experts at (800) 232-0720.