Get our your clotheslines. Turns out your trusty dryer is one of the most energy-sucking appliances in your house—with a typical electric model using as much energy as an energy-efficient fridge, washing machine, and dishwasher combined, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Americans could save $4 billion of the $9 billion spent each year to run inefficient dryers if they switched from electric dryers to hybrid heat pump models popular in Europe, reports USA Today. Electric dryers—75% of all dryers in this country—also emit carbon dioxide. So why is the dryer lagging behind the fridge in energy efficiency? "Dryers have gone largely unnoticed," an NRDC scientist explains.
US efficiency requirements for dryers have been updated only three times since the 1970s while fridges have seen seven updates, cutting their (and washers’ and dishwashers’) energy use in half. The wheels are in motion to fix this. Vented dryers, the most popular model in the US, will face a new standard come next year, and the Department of Energy is improving testing of dryer efficiency in advance of another updated standard in 2017. For now, what can you do? Use the maximum spin speed on your washer and the low temperature setting on your dryer ... or go for the aforementioned line drying method. (For some entertainment, read about one man’s recent misadventure with a washing machine.)