How Does a Condenser Tumble Dryer Work?

Many of us rely on our tumble dryers to help us dry our laundry, especially when we haven’t got the time, space or good enough weather to dry our clothes outside. Traditional dryers require a vent to remove the damp air through a hose and out of an open window, or through a vent installed via an outside wall. However, it’s not always possible or practical to install a vented dryer, particularly in a small house or flat.

Condenser dryers don’t need venting so can be installed almost anywhere, making them a good alternative for when a vented dryer isn’t suitable.

How Does a Condenser Tumble Dryer Work?

Condenser tumble dryers remove humidity from wet laundry in quite a different way to vented dryers. In a condenser dryer, there are two separate air flows. The inside air flow is sealed within the drum of the dryer. This is re-circulated inside the machine and heated, and as the air flow passes through the damp clothes, it collects moisture.

The damp air is diverted into a heat exchanger in one direction, as air from the outside room passes through the condenser in the opposite direction. As the air is condensed back into water, it is emptied through a hose or into a plastic tank.

Considerations when using a condenser tumble dryer

Although condenser dryers can be fitted almost anywhere, it’s ideal to fit your dryer in a well-ventilated room that allows some of the warm air to escape. Condenser dryers can raise the temperature of a room, which might save on heating bills but can cause condensation problems on cold surfaces such as windows.

If your condenser dryer has a water tank rather than a hose, it will need to be emptied after each drying cycle as once the tank is full the machine will interrupt the cycle.

Which? also recommend that you remove fluff and debris from the heat exchanger four or five times a year to keep the dryer working effectively.

Condenser tumble dryers are generally less efficient to use than other dryers and cost more in electricity.

Condenser drying capability is sometimes built into washing machines, creating washer/dryer combination appliances which have the advantage of being able to dry straight after washing, so you can do your wash and dry immediately without the need to move the clothes across. These appliances can also save space rather than having a separate washing machine and tumble dryer in small houses and flats. However, there are some drawbacks to washer dryers – this article weighs up the pros and cons.

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