Ventless Dryer Guide

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.

Power Requirements

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.

air-to-air-graphicDrying Air

(indicated by black arrows)

  1. The air is heated by the heater.
  2. It is then drawn through the drum, where it absorbs moisture from the clothes.
  3. The air leave the drum through the lint filter in the door and passes to the fan and on to the condenser.
  4. The saturated air passes through the condenser, where the moisture condenses out. The water runs down into a container, where it is either pumped up into the main container or flows out through a drain hose to a drain.

Cooling Air

(indicated by white arrows)

The Condenser is cooled by air at room temperature drawn in through the back of the machine and blown through the condenser, exhausting through the grills at the front of the machine. If the machine is built in, air is drawn in through the gap between the floor and the underside of the machine

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.



Cold Water Condensation Drying

Water Based condensation is widely used by All-In-One Washer/Dryer Combination machines. These machines wash and dry in one machine, one drum. The air inside the machine is heated and circulated through the clothes. After the air gets saturated with moisture from the wet clothes it is sent through a condensing chamber located on the rear of the drum. The condensing chamber is kept cool because the machine will periodically mist cold water through it during the dry cycle. Hot, wet air enters the condensing chamber at about 160 degrees, and leaves dry, at about 140 degrees because the cold water cools the air enough to cause the moisture to release. This is why the drying system is called “Cold Water Condensation” drying. The machine will use cold water to cool hot wet air.


cold water condenser graphic

Now that air travels back over the heating element to regain the 20 degrees it lost during the cooling process and then it is sent back into the drum. This process repeats itself over and over again until the clothes are dry. The water that was condensed gets collected and pumped down the drain through the same hose as the wash water. This form of drying uses no room air whatsoever. A Washer/Dryer Combination machine is 100% self contained. It can be installed in a box with no make-up air and operate perfectly. Washer/Dryer Combination machines hook up to 110V, 15AMP electricity, and require hot and cold water and a drain. They allow for installation options almost anywhere in a home or apartment.

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) 884-8635.