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CDA Buying Advice – Tumble Dryers: Condenser Vs Vented

What’s the difference between condenser and vented tumble dryers?

If you have ever wondered what the difference is between a condenser tumble dryer and a vented one, it simply refers to the way in which the moisture saturated air, is extracted from the dryer during the cycle. As moisture is taken out of the load, it has to then be removed from the machine. The type you choose will come down to the space allocated to a tumble dryer in your home.


Vented Tumble Dryer

A vented tumble dryer removes moisture through a vent that can be fitted to an external wall, or through a hose. But you must bear in mind that if you are going to purchase a vented tumble dryer you need to ensure that you place the dryer near an external wall or window. This then ensures that you can have a vent fixed through the wall to allow the moisture to escape outside. Or if you are planning to use a hose to remove the moisture, a window should be close by to allow you to hang the hose out of the window, to again remove the moisture from your home.

Vented dryers are cheaper than condenser dryers as they are more economically friendly to run as they are not having to convert the moisture, they are simply just expelling it from your home. Vented dryers use about a fifth less energy than a condensed dryer would use to dry a full load, but if you have a super energy efficient dryer with a heat pump then they are even more efficient. If you want to know what a heat pump dryer is keep reading.

They are reliable and low maintenance as you don’t have to worry about emptying any water from the machine, as it does it all for you. But if you don’t have the space available to accommodate a vented dryer then maybe a condenser dryer is the one for you.


Condenser Tumble Dryer

Condenser tumble dryers remove moisture in a different way to vented, they do not need an external vent, so you can put your condenser dryer wherever you need it to fit. In a condenser dryer the hot air is moved to a condensing chamber where it is condensed into water, it is then collected and stored in a container under the machine. On certain models the water is pumped out of the washer using the machine plumbing when needed, but this is dependent on the model you are buying. You will then need to manually empty this water out on a regular basis, this is something you don’t have to worry about with a vented machine. But you have a lot more freedom with a condenser machine as you can plug them in anywhere and they are ready to start.

They are less energy efficient as vented, as air is being converted to water, using a lot of energy. They cause up to 15 percent more than vented dryers, however the majority of models now come with heat pump technology that has credible energy ratings.

Condenser dryers are slightly more expensive than vented dryers, but, they offer convenience which many people want when it comes to the washing!


If you have a condenser tumble dryer how does the ventilation work?

Even if you go for a condenser dryer, where there is no need to vent to the outside, your tumble dryer still needs a ready supply of cool air that will allow it to breathe. Without this, the water may condense on the machine itself or not extract it properly from the clothes, hindering the performance of your appliance.

You need to ensure that your condenser dryer is fitted in a well ventilated room to allow the warm air to escape the dryer. Due to the warm air coming from the dryer it may cause a rise in the temperature of the room. You may also notice some condensation on cold surfaces such as windows, but this should only happen or cause problems if the room is small with not much room for circulation. A cool, dry place is perfect for optimum drying results.

How do you install a vented tumble dryer?

Installation of any electrical appliance must be completed by a qualified professional. When installing a vented tumble dryer, the long, flexible vent hose that is connected to the appliance permanently at one end must be vented to the outside of your property through a window, a door or preferably through a permanent connection. You must also consider the vent hose itself and ensure that there are no more than three right angled bends along the hose, it is not distorted in any way and that it is not shared with another appliance; all of these things could hinder the performance of your appliance.


What is a heat pump dryer?

A heat pump dryer uses, as described, a heat pump to warm the clothes in the dryer rather than using electricity. This type of technology is more energy efficient to run than an electric system, so will save you more on your electricity bills, but will cost more to buy at the outset. Heat pump dryers are also slightly slower to dry a load of clothes, when compared to electric tumble dryers, but they dry your clothes with greater care, so waiting a bit longer is worth it.

Heat pump dryers are very quiet when compared to other types of tumble dryers, as they’re circulate the warm air inside the dryer instead of letting out of the machine. Because they have no hoses that need to be placed in specific areas, they can be placed anywhere in your home, but it is advised that you keep them out of garages or outer buildings because they need a minimum ambient temperature range to work at their best.

What is a gas tumble dryer?

A gas tumble dryer uses gas to dry the clothes, instead of electricity. Mains gas is used to heat the laundry load and expel dampness. Electricity is still used to turn the drum, but this is only around 10% of what is used in an electric dryer.

It is advisable to obtain a quote from a Gas Safe engineer for installing a gas tumble dryer before purchasing. This would add significantly to the cost of buying one. Also, you are limited on install locations with this type of dryer as it must be vented through a door or window for safety.


Is a condenser dryer better than a vented one?

So now you know everything about vented and condenser tumble dryers which one are you going to choose?

The main benefit of a condenser dryer is that it can be installed anywhere and doesn’t need to be located next to a door or window, so if you are looking for convenience perhaps this is the one for you. The downside is that you will have to regularly empty the reservoir of extracted water.

A vented dryer is usually cheaper to buy than a condenser model, however it does need to be installed in a suitable location for venting. They are more eco-friendly and low maintenance, so if you’re wanting a machine that doesn’t require any extra work then this is for you. But you have to ensure you have the space to accommodate one, so in smaller homes or flats a condenser may be better.

You can get both integrated and freestanding versions of each type of appliance so you can decide on the style of kitchen you have and whether it is important to have your dryer installed behind a cabinet door or not.

Both styles dry efficiently, your decision will be made on cost and the convenience of installation in your home.


Could my tumble dryer set on fire?

There have recently been articles in the news about incidences of fires with certain models of tumble dryer. Rest assured that none of these models are manufactured by CDA.

The most important thing we can recommend to lower the risks associated with this type of home appliance is to regularly empty and clean your lint filter. Lint clogging up the filter will restrict the air flow and so it is always important to keep this part of your appliance well maintained.


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