Your clothes dryer uses about 6% of your home’s total energy usage, second only to the refrigerator. Will using gas vs. electric make the difference in your energy costs?

Cost and efficiency of propane gas vs. electric clothes dryers

Gas dryers cost $50-100 more on average than electric models. This cost differential is predicated on the general idea that gas dryers cost less in the long term than electric models (though this is not always the case).

Both gas and electric dryers have about equal efficiency performance. Most efficiency factors depend on dryer features, individual usage and energy consumption in the home. For example, investing in a dryer (gas or electric) with a moisture sensor, increases drying efficiency by automatically shutting off when it senses clothes are dry.

So, the cost-benefit of gas vs. electric comes down to the cost of energy in your area and home.

Propane Monitoring Program: Never Worry About Running Out of Propane Again

What is the cost of energy used?

The cost of energy used largely depends on your home energy usage.

  • Gas dryers use about 15-25 gallons of propane per year. With the small amount of propane needed, the price per gallon is more expensive (currently about $4.22/gallon). But if you have more appliances running on propane and you order more, the price/gallon is lower (approximately $2.50/gallon).
    • Few gas appliances ($4.22/gallon): $4.22 (price per gallon) x 25 (gallons per year)= $105/year.
  • Several gas appliances ($2.50/gallon): $2.50 (price per gallon) x 25 (gallons per year)= $62.50/year.
  • Electric dryers use about 3.3kWH per load. At an average rate of $.093 per kWh, that equals $.31 a load. The average family that uses 5 loads per week will spend $1.55 per week, or roughly $80/year.

The Bottom Line: The cost efficiency of gas dryers depends on what other appliances use gas in your home.

Why? The price per gallon of propane (or natural) gas depends on the quantity you order. If you order large quantities to fuel several appliances in your home, the price of gas is lower. If you only order small quantities at a time, the price per gallon is higher.

As illustrated above, gas dryers are more efficient if you have several appliances in your home operating on propane or natural gas. However, if you only have one or two gas-fueled appliances, you might achieve greater savings with an electric model (depending on the price of electricity in your area).

Extra initial costs for gas dryers

As mentioned above, the initial cost for gas dryers is more expensive than electric. However, you must also factor in installation costs for a professional to install and hook-up the gas line. For an the average home, Kauffman’s estimate would be:

$120-$180 for labor
$100-$150 for 50-75ft of gas line
$30 for misc parts and fittings

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Electric dryers require a 240-volt outlet to operate. If you don’t have one, extra initial costs would include electrician’s fees to wire and install the proper outlet.

4 Tips to increase the efficiency of your clothes dryer

Here are some tips on operating your dryer more efficiently for gas or electric.

  1. Keep your lint filter clean to improve circulation and increase efficiencies.
  2. Check your dryer ventilation to ensure there is no blockage.
  3. Dry only full loads, but do not overload dryer
  4. Dry lightweight garments before heavier loads. Take advantage of the dryer’s residual heat to help heavy loads dry faster.