What is more energy efficient - using a dryer or line-drying and then ironing?


A standard clothes dryer will use annually approximately 1214-kilowatt hours (kWh) for an older style to 898 kWh for a newer more energy efficient model. This kWh rate from Natural Resources Canada is based on 416 loads per year.


If each load took an hour to dry this would be between 2.92 to 2.16 kWh per hour. If you were interested in costs, the older style model would cost about $143 a year to run and equal about 936 kgs of carbon dioxide related to electricity generation in Nova Scotia.


A small compact dryer can use about half this much. An average iron would use about 1.2 kWh per hour. If you needed to iron every load for an hour on average, ironing would likely be about half the energy though one could suggest that you would iron a lot less per load so perhaps one-quarter the energy.


Ultimately the most electricity efficient and cost saving method is hanging your clothes to dry. If you are using a dryer, cleaning the lint screen and exhaust will enhance effectiveness and also reduce risk related to fires.

Use Energuide labels if you are buying a new dryer to see which uses the least amount of energy.

Some models also have automatic sensors and shut down when your clothes are dry. Spin and squeeze as much water out of your wet clothes before putting them in.

Newer, more water efficient front load washers often dry clothes more thoroughly during spin cycles, reducing the dry time. Dry similar things together and don’t over dry your clothes.

If your dryer has a cool-down or perma-press cycle you can use this as it uses less energy.

I installed a heat-reclaiming vent on my dryer exhaust to save the heat from the dryer to heat air in the wintertime. With this you do have to consider humidity and particulate matter from the dryer air.

You can try indoor rack and outdoor-line drying and then finish the clothes off in the dryer to have a softer feel, reduce ironing, and save energy.

If you are using electric-based heating systems approved by Nova Scotia Power you may consider clothes drying at nighttime to get a cheaper electricity rate. Contact Nova Scotia Power for details.