Electric Dryer Running Costs: Calculator & Averages

Electric Dryer Running Costs

Considering that nearly 80% of Americans own a clothes dryer, it’s no surprise that many of us are curious about how much it costs to run one.

After all, if you’re like me, you probably want to keep your energy bills in check and save money wherever you can.

On average, running a ventless electric dryer for two loads per week, with each cycle lasting around 60 min, can cost around $19 per year. However, the running costs will vary depending on different factors, such as venting, Energy Star rating, and local electricity rates.

Do you want to know the true cost of running your electric dryer, and how to reduce it? Read on to find out!

Click here to find out the cost of electricity in your state

How I’ve Estimated Electric Dryer Running Costs

It can be a bit tricky to figure out the energy consumption of clothes dryers because their heating element switches on and off.

So, even if a dryer is rated at a high wattage, say 5600W, it doesn’t use full power all the time. Instead, similar to an oven, the heating element cycles on and off to reach the required temperature.

In order to give an accurate estimate, I collected data from over 500 dryers from EnergyStar. For each of these dryers, they projected the yearly running cost of each dryer using a standardized test and calculation.

I’ve worked that back to find the average energy use per load, which greatly depends on whether the dryer is vented or ventless and whether it is Energy Star certified.

An Energy-Star Certified model can use as little as 0.9KW for drying a whole load, vs an average of 2.1KW for a standard vented non-energy star certified model. That’s over 50% cheaper to run!

How to Lower Your Electric Dryer Running Costs

You probably agree with me that energy bills can be a real pain, especially when they seem to be going up every month.

Luckily, you can save hundreds on your electricity bills and extend the life of your electric dryer by taking good care of it.

To help you get started, I’ve gathered a few essential tips. But, if you want to dive deeper into dryer maintenance & care to save up to $450, I recommend reading our specialized guide.

Please note that in order to follow the tips provided in this section, you’ll need to refer to your dryer’s user manual. Having it on hand will make everything much easier and faster.

If you can’t find your manual, don’t worry! Check out our guide on how to find any product manual online.

#1 Make Sure Your Dryer is Installed the Right Way

It’s crucial to make sure your dryer is installed correctly. This will save you hundreds in associated repair costs!

First, it’s important to check the electrical requirements and make sure you’re using the right outlet.

Typically, a grounded three-pong outlet is the best option for your electric dryer. It’s crucial to avoid using an extension cord, as it’s not designed to handle the high wattage that major appliances require.

Using an extension cord may overheat and damage your dryer and even cause a short circuit, which is not only frustrating but also expensive and dangerous.

You’ll also need to make sure your dryer venting is independent of other systems and free of obstructions to ensure proper airflow.

And, don’t forget to make sure your dryer is level to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the drum and bearings. By doing this, you’ll also ensure your clothes are evenly distributed and prevent excessive noise and vibration.

how to level a dryer
Use a bubble-level tool to make sure your dryer is level and ensure its effectiveness.

Please make sure there’s at least 6 inches of space between the back wall and your dryer to avoid heat buildup and keep the hoses from bending or kinking.

#2 Clean the Lint Screen

All dryers have a removable filter that catches lint and other fibers that come off your clothes while they’re drying. This way, these particles won’t clog the dryer’s internal parts or vent.

Unfortunately, if you don’t clean the lint screen regularly, your appliance can take longer to dry your clothes and overheat, resulting in increased energy bills.

Regularly cleaning your lint not only helps to reduce your dryer’s energy usage, but also helps prevent a fire hazard. In fact, about 27% of home fires are caused by lint buildup!

You should remove the lint from the screen after every load and deep clean the screen every two to three months.

how to deep clean your dryer's lint screen
Cleaning your dryer’s lint screen will help you save money on energy bills and prevent fire hazards.

Follow these simple instructions to do it:

  1. Locate the lint screen and carefully remove it. Then, wipe away the lint.
  2. Use a soft brush or an old toothbrush to gently scrub the screen with warm soapy water.
  3. Rinse the lint screen thoroughly with warm water and dry the lint screen.
  4. Allow it to dry completely before putting it back into your dryer.

#2 Properly Load Your Dryer

Overloading your dryer may seem like a time-saver, but in reality, it can be counterproductive.

Not only can it take much longer for your clothes to dry, but it can also lead to higher energy bills and damaged clothes.

In my experience, you should always aim to fill your dryer around 75% full. This allows enough room for clothes to move around freely, preventing restricted airflow.

But, if you live alone or need to dry a small load, I recommend making sure your electric dryer is at least 1/3 full. This allows the sensors to accurately detect moisture levels and dry your clothes accordingly.

Never mix wet clothes with partially dry ones, as this can throw off the moisture detector and cause the dryer to work harder. You should also avoid putting dripping wet clothes in your appliance because they’ll take much longer to dry, which may lead to increased energy bills, a damaged motor, and expensive repair costs!

While properly loading your dryer is essential to reduce its running costs and extend its lifespan, selecting the right cycle is also important when it comes to saving money and taking care of your clothes.

You see, each cycle has different run times and temperatures, which means that selecting the wrong cycle can lead to damaging your clothes and wasting energy and money.

#3 Inspect the Venting System

People often ask me how often they should inspect and clean their venting system. The answer is at least once a year.

You see, this is one of the most effective ways of preventing lint buildup and ensuring your dryer’s performance.

Here’s how to clean the venting system:

  1. Unplug your dryer from the wall outlet. Then, locate the vent behind your dryer and the exhaust vent on the exterior of your home.
  2. Remove the vent from the back of your dryer.
  3. Check the duct for any lint buildup and remove it using a vacuum.
  4. Go outside and remove the exterior vent cover. Then, use a vacuum to clear the remaining lint.
  5. Inspect the ducts for any damage. If you find any, it’s best to call a professional.
  6. Push the dryer back into place and plug it back into the wall outlet.
  7. Test your dryer by running it for 20 minutes on the air dry setting.

#4 Check the Door Seal Regularly

Your dryer’s door seal (also known as door gasket) is responsible for creating a tight seal between the drum and the door, preventing air from escaping the appliance.

Unfortunately, if the door seal is damaged, dirty, or worn, it can allow hot air to leak out of the drum, which can cause your dryer to work harder and longer to dry your clothes effectively. This can result in higher energy bills.

To prevent this issue from happening, please clean the gasket with equal parts of warm water and vinegar. If you notice that it’s damaged, please replace it immediately.


That about covers it!

I hope that this article has helped you learn how much it cost to run your electric dryer and the different ways to reduce this amount.

Be sure to check out our Appliance Challenge, which includes multiple guides that provide tips on how to reduce running costs and extend the lifespan of your appliances, helping you save thousands of dollars. Best of all, they’re available for free!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day.

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more