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  Heat Pump Tumble Dryers

Are they any good or is it a waste of money, we look in depth at heat pump dryers

 

The latest fad in tumble dryers and, we don’t see it changing anytime soon, is what are known as heat pump tumble dryers which is a term that most people are probably not likely to be familiar with nor will many people understand what this technology is.

A typical heat pump tumble dryer, this one from SiemensWhat you will see is marketing hoopla and blurb that will promise a nirvana of drying laundry at much lower energy costs. This can be wrapped up with a “green” bow very often telling you that you’re being “green” by using less energy.

But, is that true?

Does a heat pump dryer cut it in the real world for people in general? Are heat pump tumble dryers worth it or, even any good?

We will try to explain what they are, how they work in reality and give you the information to decide if, for you, that a heat pump dryer is worth the extra cash outlay.

  Heat Pump Tumble Dryer Pros

The pros of a heat pump dryer are fairly simplistic with the major benefit being that they do indeed use far less energy than a normal tumble dryer would do. However, do not stop reading just yet as it isn’t all sweetness and light or, as simple as that.

Other than that there’s not really a lot to offer over a normal condenser tumble dryer.

  Heat Pump Tumble Dryer Cons

We have more cons than pros!

First up is the additional expense in the first place.

Heat pump dryers use a heat exchange in much the same manner as a refrigeration product would or, air conditioning and as they need a compressor, gas and so on they are much more expensive to produce. Add to this the lower volumes sold due to the higher cost and the cost ramps up quite considerably, expect to pay about double what you would for an equivalent “normal” dryer.

For most, this will be £300-400.

That’s an awful lot of electricity you can buy with the difference.

  Heat Pump Dryer Electricity Use

If you’re considering buying a heat pump tumble dryer to save loads and loads of electricity then read this section very carefully, we’ll tell you what the marketing people won’t.

The best you will get (using current figures we can find) is an normal average annual cost of use around £23 for a heat pump tumble dryer but, it costs £800.

The best normal condenser dryer, about £59 by comparison but, it only costs £380.

You don’t have to be a math genius to work out that to save a bean on electricity you’d have to own that heat pump dryer for more than eleven years, with no unforeseen extra costs to save a single penny.

Given the life expectancy is usually about 5-10 years these days, that really doesn’t make much sense does it?

If this is the sole reason you’re looking at a heat pump dryer is to save money on electricity we would strongly advise you to think very, very carefully about that choice.

  The Green Argument

Often we see these kind of products being branded as “green” or “eco friendly” simply as they use less electricity.

As you might expect, it’s not that simple.

What no manufacturer will want to talk about is the extra use of materials (which need energy to make), the extra build time (again, more energy use) or the additional weight (more energy use to move them about) or extra packing and so on. It is convenient to forget this.

Whether the additional energy used in production and shipping can ever be recovered in the lifespan is open to debate but, we’d expect not.

You will see all kinds of fudged figures giving you the cost per kilo of laundry and so on but a lot of these are marketing garbage. They take the maximum capacity that you can never use as it’s a theoretical maximum and divide that to give a cost per kilo but, back here in the real world, that number will often prove to be almost double that.

Trouble is, most people wouldn’t have a clue let alone the equipment to verify this and, unless you happen to scrutinise your electricity bill to the Nth Degree, you’d be none the wiser. Most people won’t.

  Heat Pump Tumble Dryer Perfomance

Not as good as a normal dryer in most users’ opinions or feedback we’ve had.

Heat pump tumble dryers do not get as hot as a normal dryer, by the nature of the technology they cannot do so therefore, they will almost always take longer to dry laundry. In some cases, a lot longer and, we do mean a lot!

Figure on what might take an hour in a normal dryer taking twice as long or more. 

Added to which you will need to be extremely vigilant and ensure that the filters and condenser are almost religiously cleaned and maintained or the performance will suffer yet further as good and proper airflow are absolutely critical to the performance. Of course this is good practice (read, essential) for any tumble dryer but, on a heat pump dryer it is even more critical than normal.

Inside a heat pump tumble dryer is very packed  Added Complexity

Given the lower levels of heat and that these types of tumble dryer are all electronically controlled they cannot be used in low temperature environments in any way whatsoever. Most will have a minimum operating room temperature of 10˚C at best but, even that’s a bit cold for some.

You also cannot use them in environments that are too warm as they need cool, but not too cold air to condense.

In other words, forget using a heat pump dryer in your garage, outbuilding or conservatory etc and they simply will not work for a good bit of the year.

Then there’s the addition of all those extra electronics (that do not work well in damp areas either) which are expensive and sensitive. This makes the dryer far less tolerant of operator error from overloading, too little load and so on.

After this there’s a compressor fitted that is essentially the same as you would find on a fridge or freezer, the heat pump coils etc to form the heat exchange and all the electrics for that.

All this adds up and, should you choose to split one of these machines open, you’ll find that they are, compared to more normal tumble dryers, much more complex and have far, far less room to work with inside.

Service engineers mostly hate them due to this and that they often need completely stripped down to get to anything to repair them. This makes any service costs considerably higher as well obviously as, they take longer to repair.

By way of an example of this, the like of the Samsung heat pump tumble dyrers to do much of anything to them at all, are a complete stripdown that many repairers will struggle to do in under an hour. This is not a critisism of Samsung at all as many are the same deal when it comes to servicing but it is a good example of why the guys look at a call for one and think, "oh no" or words to that effect as they know what's involved.

Aside which, service engineers aren’t familiar with them. They’re fairly new and low volume so they don’t see too many.

Therefore, expect a premium on normal service rates to repair a heat pump tumble dryer.

This will change in time as these dryers become more commonplace of course however, they are still harder and more involved than a bog standard tumble dryer would be.

Let's demonstrate, here's what a service engineer has to do in order to do most common repairs to a Samsung heat pump tumble dryer:

Inside a Samsung heat pump dryer

We think you'll agree, that's a bit much to change a drive belt!!

But isn't the diamond drum pretty.

  Where A Heat Pump Dryer Makes Sense

Commercially, even perhaps light commercial use where time is not a problem and the people using the machine will actually take care of it then there is a case to be made for the heat pump tumble dryer.

Domestically, unless you tumble dry an awful lot of laundry then we would think that the argument really doesn’t stack up for most people.

Heat pump tumble dryers and gas tumble dryers for that matter have been used in commercial operations for a number of years and, given the cost savings that can be had on a large commercial tumble dryer this makes complete sense.

But, when you bring that down into a domestic setting we cannot see how it makes much sense at all. Unless you dry a lot, then it might do.

If you insure against breakdown, it costs more as well so you’d have to factor that in as well.

It is very unlikely that, for most people, they would dry enough to justify the huge initial outlay even if we completely ignore all the other foibles so, we cannot recommend these tumble dryers to other than a very small niche of people.

Our recommendation, if you hadn’t guessed it already, is to pass on buying heat pump tumble dryer unless you dry a lot as it's only then that it will make sense financially.

Gravatar
Jason
Heat pump dryers
Heres a great guide for how heat pump dryers work and how to fix them. https://youtu.be/YgVX_k3xvf4
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Yvonne Whyte
Whirlpool 6th Sense heat pump Dryer
I have one of these and it does NOT dry anything. Sheets roll up in a ball after about 5 minutes and conseqently, can not dry. The heat ever only gets up to maybe "lukewarm" and towels can be in the dryer for up to three hours and still not dry. How is this more efficient? I have a life to live, not spend about 6 hours waiting for things to dry - if ever.
Absolutely not fit for purpose and I have to get rid of the nee dryer now and find something that actually heats and dries.

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John C Cairns
Heat pump Dryers
I paid £1000 for my AEG Washer/Dryer, The lint filter conduit clogged with lint repeatedly causing the drying function of this machine to stop working. The engineer was at the machine several times and had to decouple an internal hose and clear it of fluff. As I had no access to the parts of the machine that were causing the problem I had to call an engineer at least five times (Luckily the machine had a five year guarantee) In the event of yet another blockage I resorted to cutting a length of my garden hose, duct taping this to my vacuum cleaner hose and pushing this inside the machine to get the lint out! Never buy one!
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BB
Same
I am having exactly the same problem with my tumble dryer but it is not a heat pump one. It is a normal Bosch condenser one. Had engineer out 4 times. Out of warranty now. Desperately searching for a replacement that will not do the same thing.
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Claire Thrifty
Drying clothes indoors
Our old, vented tumble dryer recently died - so we did some research into the cheapest way to dry clothes indoors (including Heat Pump and Condenser dryers). Once we crunched all the numbers the results were quite surprising. We wrote up all our findings here: https://thriftyparent.co.uk/home-household/cheapest-way-to-dry-clothes-indoors/ - hope you find it useful.
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Marcus
As they run at a much lower temp than conventional dryers, they\'re kinder to clothes - allegedly.
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TonyA
This type of drier may prove particularly useful for landlords, whose properties suffer when tenants choose to dry their clothes on radiators or maidens because they perceive the electric tumbler drier as expensive and refuse to open any windows or use a washing line outside (too much like hard work, too cold, too wet). Humidity levels inside the house consequently soar, as the property isn\'t being ventilated properly, which leads to the development of black spot mould in cold spots, and the tenant complaining about \"damp\", even though it is their own behaviour that is causing the problem.

Some landlords may feel the higher capital outlay for a heat pump dryer is worth it, in order to save the aggro from the tenant and the redecorating costs. However, what\'s the point if the tumbler is slow and the tenant still won\'t use it? Clearly from other people\'s feedback it make sense to buy a higher quality model and have some bullet-proof statistics to hand, to prove it really is cheap to use the drier.

There is also the option of a gas-powered tumble-drier, as these have much lower running costs too, but again there are only a few suppliers, hence higher prices, and landlords will probably have to get it checked every year to obtain their Annual Gas Safety Certificate. Owner-occupiers won\'t have this problem, as they are free to smoke in their houses, gas themselves with dodgy fires and boilers, and have ancient fire-hazard furnishings to their heart\'s content!

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bledar
samsung dv70f5e0hgw
i need for samsung fan assy dc93-00387a where can i buy? is anyone to halp me?
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S Nicol
Whirlpool heat pump dryer
I bought a Whirlpool heat pump dryer which is under three years old. Never totally happy with it but four months ago it stopped working. Called engineer who quoted about 10€ less than I paid for it to repair it. There are only two adults in the house and for much of the year washing is dried outdoors so definitely not overused. I contacted Whirlpool in August but have still not had a reply. Just had to replace it but with a condenser this time.
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David
Candy heat pump dryer nightmare
Bought a Candy heat pump dryer in October 2016. It took extremely long to dry clothes back then, but water did appear in the collection drawer, so it seemed to be just very slow at drying, even though we were aware of the longer programme times for these kind of dryers. We switched to using the extension hose, which seemed to expel water, but the long drying cycle remained. Then, in March we noticed that nothing was getting dry, even after running for 9+ hours. No water was being expelled through the hose extension. Just a lot of fluff and condensation inside the door. So, after removing the extension hose ourselves (a block maybe?) and reattaching the drawer, and noticing no difference in operation, we called the store where we bought it who advised us to call Candy, which we did. Candy said that maybe we were not using the dryer properly and said that if an engineer found no fault or that we were doing something wrong, then we would be charged. Candy said that clothes in the dryer could not be put in too wet and that too many or too few clothes could affect the drying process and also, that if using the extension, we had to place a tea-towel over the bucket to create a \'sauna effect\' so that the condensation water would flow through the hose. Candy advised that we had to keep both filters clean, which we were already doing daily! Well, we tried everything and last week we again called Candy and asked them to send an engineer. He turned up and after blowing and sucking through the hose inside, water started once again to trickle into the collection drawer. So, it seemed a blocked hose. We ran a 3 hour programme but the clothes were not dry, and no water either in the drawer. Ran it for another 6 hours. Still wet clothes! So, same problem, and not solved. Called the store again, and they said that they would contact Candy to ask for the engineer’s report. We have a 6-month old dryer that makes a lot of noise in operation but does little else! AVOID CANDY!

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