How Do Dryers Work?

Everyone loves the look and smell of freshly cleaned clothes but not many are fond of the work that it takes to make them like that. Washing machines save you from all the laborious work and give you clean clothes but in a soaking wet form. Cloth dryers are the easy and fast way of removing water from your clean but wet clothes. Cloth dryers also are known as tumble dryers are simple and reliable machines that work by heating air and passing it through a circulating drum.

Let’s read about that in a bit more detail.

Parts of a dryer

Most cloth dryers have the following parts.

  • A rotating tumbler in which we put our wet cloths
  • An electric or gas heater supplies the energy for heating up the air that is drawn through the cloths as they rotate in the tumbler. This resultantly heats up the clothes and the water that is in them.
  • An exhaust vent for the removal of the water content that turned into The exhaust pipes usually pass out of your house.

How do cloth dryers work?

Before we go on explaining how the cloth dryers work, let us tell you this: they are not energy efficient, they harm the environment unless powered by solar power and your home by making it damp if the exhaust pipes don’t run out of the house.  Drying clothes in the sun may seem like a long process, but hey, it doesn’t cost you money and it is environment friendly.

If you are going to dry clothes you’ll need heat, air movement, and low humidity. Cloth drying machines combine these three elements and quickly and efficiently dry your clothes. Just make sure that you check the label on the clothes before throwing them in the tumble dryer because they can damage them.

For the ease of the reader, we have divided this section into the following parts.

Air circulation

You may have noticed a hole in the back of your dryer, which is connected to a pipe and to the exhaust system of your house.  The air enters the dryer through an opening in front. When the air first enters the dryer it meets the heating element. The heating element consumes a lot of energy. Most dryers use 4,000 to 6,000 watts of power. Air is then pulled in through the heating element into the holes, which can be found in the back of the tumbler. The metal stamping with big holes is for making sure that the air passes the heating elements first.

The hot air now makes its way into the tumbler and then through the holes in the door. This air then moves through the big hole and heads towards the lint screen. If you’d like to avoid fires, you should clean the lint screen regularly. Through the lint, screen air is pulled into a duct. It then moves towards the fan. As the fan spins, it produces centrifugal force. Due to this force, the air is drawn outwards and pushed through the exhaust out from the dryer and your house. Some dryers have an extra fan to extract the humid air. In some dryers, the humid air passes through an element, where heat is exchanged and then it passes through the condenser. The water made is cooled and drained. The remaining heat is captured and used again in the drying process.

Where does the heat come from?

Many cloth dryers use heating elements to speed up the drying process. Energy may be supplied to these heating elements from gas or electricity. Electric heating elements have the same structure as the ones used in ovens or water heaters. Natural gas heating elements depend upon pilot light to ignite the gas. Gas dryers still need electricity to run other parts. All dryers use thermostats and thermal fuses to maintain the temperature inside the dryer. The thermostat regulates the heat in the drying process so that your clothes are not fried.

How do cloth dryers rotate?

If you have ever opened a dryer you may have noticed the lack of gears. That is because the dryer drum in itself is a big gear. If there was no tumbling motion in the dryer the clothes would just lie there in a lump and air wouldn’t be circulating through them. The dryer drum is rotated with the help of two pulleys that are run by a single electric motor. Since the tumbler has no bearings it depends on the flange to support its weight. The flange is connected to a bushing, which allows it to rotate. The front of the tumbler rests on two plastic pads.

As the tumbler rotates, the paddles lift and throw your clothes in the air until they reach the top of the tumbler. As the clothes fall back to the bottom of the drum they pass through the hot air. So, if you overload your tumbler with clothes, they would just roll in it without effectively drying up.

Safety system

Most dryers have two safety shut-off systems. When these systems reach a certain preset point of temperature they automatically break contact and shut off the dryer. The first temperature sensor is in front of the dryer, while the second is close to the heating system.

How Do Dryers Work? – Final words

Cloth dryers are simple machines that are now present in almost every home across the US. They are especially useful in homes that do not have any outdoor area for hanging clothes. These useful machines are very quick and efficient at what they do but they are energy-consuming. All cloth dryers have a tumbler through which hot air, heated by a heating element, passes and dries the wet clothes. The tumbler itself, rotated with the help of two pulleys, is powered by one electric motor. In order to prevent overheating, all dryers come with two temperature sensors.