If you previously had a gas dryer, installing a heat pump clothes dryer may require upgrading your electric outlet to 240-volt. If all-new wiring isn’t an option, some manufacturers offer 120-volt models. Most existing conventional electric dryers already require a 240-volt outlet.
In general, clothes dryers come in two size ranges. Full-size (or standard) dryers typically have a capacity of 6 or more cubic feet, while compact dryers are typically around 4 cubic feet. Many heat pump clothes dryers are compact, but full-size and full-size hybrid models are also available. While compact models are smaller, a field study found that 95% of loads that people dried in their full-size dryer would also fit in a compact dryer.
Using your heat pump clothes dryer
Overall drying time depends on the moisture content in the clothes coming out of the washer. The average load will take longer to dry in a heat pump clothes dryer than in a conventional dryer. Because heat pump dryers extract moisture from the clothes at a lower temperature, they also tend to be gentler on your clothes, easing wear and tear. Heat pump dryers don’t vent air to the outdoors, which means all the heat from the dryer remains in your home. This has the added effect of making the room slightly warmer than a conventional, vented dryer would—especially if the dryer is in a small, enclosed space. Keep this in mind when deciding where to place the dryer in your home.
A heat pump clothes dryer is easy to maintain. In addition to the normal lint trap, the dryer contains an additional lint filter to protect the intricate coils from the lint contained in the recirculated air. This will need to be cleared every few cycles and is easy to access and clean.
Moisture from the dryer is collected in a removable tray, which you’ll need to empty out every cycle. You can skip this step by affixing a hose to the dryer so the water drains into a nearby sink or floor drain.
The condenser coils may have to be cleaned every month or so. You can do this simply with a brushed vacuum head. As with any appliance, regular maintenance will keep your heat pump dryer working most efficiently and will help maximize its useful life.