A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

To be dried by the warmth of the sun

Do you remember clothes lines? They seem to be a thing of the past. Although I think if you were being eco-friendly, a clothes line is a good option, or maybe if you are just trying to save money. I have had a question posed to me about dryers by two people lately, so I thought I would write a quick post for those of you who might have the same query.

How can I tell if I need a gas or electric dryer? Most homes that have gas and electric services can be outfitted with either type of dryer. From my experience, builders since the late eighties have made this option easier by having both hook ups in the utility area, where the dryer is meant to go. The gas service will be a brass valve, usually located on the wall closer to the floor. I use the term brass spigot to help my clients understand what to look for; it seems to help. The electrical outlet for the dryer is to be found higher on the wall. It will have a different looking hole arrangement from your normal outlet to accept the plug from the dryer. Your home may have both, or just one. The electric dryer is the more common.

Which dryer may you want to purchase? If you are considering cost of operation or energy efficiency, you will find that there are models of both gas and electric that can meet both criteria. Cost of operation is hard to pin down, since prices for electricity and natural gas are always in flux. Your bill will state what the average cost for those products were in a given month. The heat provide by natural gas has long been preferred by homeowners in forced air systems, and this has led to the desire for this warmth to dry our clothes. Maybe I am an insensitive lout, but warm dry clothes are all the same to me, so I find your decision to go with gas or electric personal. My main concern is that you consider size of the unit and energy efficiency. If you are doing small loads of laundry, it is not energy wise to place these in a huge dryer. Bigger is not always better.


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