How a clothes dryer works

Published on
February 18, 2022 at 11:07:00 AM PST February 18, 2022 at 11:07:00 AM PSTth, February 18, 2022 at 11:07:00 AM PST

A clothes dryer is a very simple appliance that uses a combination of air, motion and heat to evaporate the moisture from wet, laundered fabrics to make them dry.

An electric dryer requires an electrical hookup, and a gas dryer requires a gas line connection. In an electric dryer, an electrical current is sent through the heating coils, creating a resistance. This resistance leads to a buildup of electrons, which create energy – or heat. The heat is then transferred to the surrounding air and dispersed throughout the dryer by a blower or fan.

A natural gas or propane gas dryer relies on a pilot light, which ignites the gas to create the heat. Metal plates transfer the heat, and a blower moves this hot air throughout the drum. While gas is used to create heat, all gas dryers also require electricity to power other components of the dryer.

All dryers use thermostats and fuses to regulate the temperature within the dryer. These parts are key to preventing equipment overheating, which can lead to a fire. When one of the safety components fails, it is important to determine the reason for the failure. Overheating could mean a larger problem is at hand - lint buildup in the dryer exhaust duct. Once per year, the dryer exhaust duct should be removed, cleaned, and replaced. For tips on making this chore easier, read the blog “Clogged Vents and Duct Cleaning”.

How the air is circulated

Without air circulation, your dryer will be inefficient and underperform. Air circulation is essential for drying the fabrics. The length of time it takes for the clothes to dry is largely related to the flow of air throughout the machine. Air is pulled into the dryer through openings or vents on the outside of the dryer’s cabinet. The air is heated and distributed throughout the drum by a fan or blower. The heated air removes moisture from the clothing.

The moisture-filled air is then forced through the lint screen and then travels out the back of the dryer into the dryer’s exhaust duct. The dryer exhaust duct transports the warm, humid air to the exterior of the home. It’s important to keep the dryer exhaust duct free from lint buildup as two things can happen:

  1. Lint buildup inside the dryer exhaust duct impedes airflow, causing the dryer to overheat, increasing the chance of a dryer fire.
  2. Routing the hot, humid air to the outside of the home is critical. Otherwise, it collects in the laundry area, creating a humid environment that is conducive to the growth of mold. Read more about mold growth in your laundry area and signs to watch for.

How A Dryer Tumbles the Clothes

The dryer drum is designed to turn and tumble the clothes. Without the tumbling motion, the clothes would lie in a huge pile, making air circulation nearly impossible. The dryer’s drum is turned by a simple pulley system that’s powered by an electric motor. The dryer drum sits on a roller system, and most are supported by an axle.

For more important tips and information, please take a moment to read some of the other articles featuring an array of topics.

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