Gas vs. Electric: Which dryer is more energy efficient?

Gas Dryers and Energy Efficiency
Check to see if you have a gas line if you're considering a gas dryer.
Check to see if you have a gas line if you're considering a gas dryer.

When you're researching your new dryer, you can expect most gas models to have an energy factor of about 2.67 and above. This is a rather high energy factor, but it's a little less than electric models. That difference ends up being about 50 percent less power per load (and therefore save you more on your electricity bill) [source: Consumer Energy Center]. So, gas dryers usually cost more up front, but they save money in the long run.

A slightly higher up-front price tag in exchange for money and energy savings for years to come? It sounds easy, but unfortunately, your decision might not be that simple. If your laundry area isn't equipped for a gas dryer, the upgrade will be a pricey investment (if it's even possible at all). First, gas dryers require a gas line; if you don't already have one, you're probably out of luck, since they're dangerous and expensive to install in an occupied residence. If you've got one, though, that gas line will provide a potent source of heat.

Gas dryers also require a vent to expel the moisture removed from your clothes. They remove condensation in the form of hot steam, which must be quickly and safely moved outside the residential area. In most places, building codes require this vent to end up outdoors to prevent any danger from gas by-products. Unfortunately, condo and apartment dwellers might not be able to install gas dryers unless a suitable venting solution -- outdoors or to a common HVAC system -- has already been incorporated.

If your place doesn't have the right hookups, though, a gas dryer might not be for you. On the next page, we'll discuss alternative drying options.