Does A Tumble Dryer Use Water?

Tumble dryers remove water from laundry but generally don’t use water to do so, which means you do not need a water supply connected to your tumble dryer. There is one exception to this (more on that later), but generally tumble dryers don’t use water to dry your clothes.

If you’re interested in how tumble dryers dry laundry and what happens to the water that’s extracted from your clothes, keep reading. In this article we look at how tumble dryers remove water from clothes, what happens to that water and the one type of tumble dryer that does use water.

How Do The Different Types Of Tumble Dryers Dry?

There are three main types of tumble dryers which all work in different ways to remove water from laundry. These three types are;

How Vented Tumble Dryers Dry

Vented dryers consist of a metal drum full of holes where the laundry is placed. As the drum rotates, hot air is passed through and over the clothes to remove the moisture from the clothes.

The now hot, moist air is then expelled from the appliance via a vent hose which sends that moist air outside of the home. Vented dryers need to be situated near an outside wall so that the vent hose can send the moist air outside.

They do not need to be plumbed in, as they do not need any additional water to go into the machine to dry your clothes which means they don’t need to be connected to the water supply.

How Condenser Tumble Dryers Dry

These work on a similar principle to vented dryers, the hot air passes over the clothes in the drum to remove moisture. However, it’s the way that moist air is dealt with which is different in condenser dryers.

That hot, moist air is cooled on a condenser which turns the water vapour back into a liquid which is stored in an on board water reservoir. 

As the steam is turned back into liquid and collected on board, there is no need for a vent hose. Which means condenser dryers can be placed anywhere and are not reliant on outside walls, windows etc.

The water reservoir will need to be emptied on a regular basis but there’s no need for venting.

Again, with condenser tumble dryers, there’s no need for the appliance to be plumbed in as it does not need water to complete its drying cycle.

How Heat Pump Tumble Dryers Dry

These also follow the basic design of a drum full of holes into which hot air is passed to dry the laundry and much like condenser dryers, the moisture is converted back into liquid which is stored in an on board reservoir.

The difference is in the way the hot air is reused to pass over the drum multiple times. This reduces electricity usage and costs but does take far longer to dry clothes.

The on board water reservoir will need to be emptied regularly or in some cases, heat pump dryers can be fitted with a drain hose that allows the water to be sent directly out with the waste water.

This means some heat pump dryers are connected to the waste water system, but still don’t use any water to dry the clothes.

For more information on tumble dryers click here.

What About Washer Dryers?

Washing Machine

This is where we get to the part where tumble dryers use water. But we’ll get to that in a bit, first let’s explain exactly what a washer dryer is.

What Is A Washer Dryer?

As the name implies, a washer dryer is a combined washing machine and tumble dryer. They are designed to save space as you only need to house one appliance instead of a separate washing machine and tumble dryer.

The washing machine part works in the same way as any regular washing machine works. It’s the tumble dryer part where washer dryers differ from regular tumble dryers.

Washer dryers don’t differ in all ways however, they operate in the same way as a heat pump tumble dryer. They reheat the air that’s removed from the laundry and repass it over the drum. The water is removed after being condensed back into liquid and sent down the drain.

How Do Washer Dryers Use Water To Dry Laundry?

So far so good, But the way washer dryers condense the steam back into water to be drained out of the appliance is where the use of water comes in.

What happens is, the steam (that is the result of hot air passing over wet clothes) is blown by a fan through a plastic chamber on the back of the drum. During the drying cycle, cold water is trickled into that chamber which causes the steam to turn back into water.

That water then runs into the bottom of the drum and is pumped down the drain.

Does This Process Cause Any Problems?

In some cases there can be a buildup of excess steam in washer dryers when drying. This is often caused by a lack of cold water trickling into the condenser chamber.

The main reason for this is that the water valve for the condenser isn’t working. 

Or there’s a blockage at the bottom of the condenser chamber which is preventing the water from running into the drum. This is often caused by fluff and as there is no lint filter in washer dryers this is a common problem. 

For either of these issues you will need to contact the manufacturer if the appliance is still under warranty or a fully qualified electrical engineer or washing machine technician.

Never attempt to fix any internal issues unless you are fully competent and know exactly what you’re doing.


Are There Any Other Drawbacks To Washer Dryers?

One of the main issues with washer dryers is the fact they typically only have the drying capacity for half as much as they can wash. This means they’re not as easy to operate as they are often marketed as being.

You might be able to wash a 10 kg load but the chances are you will only be able to dry 5 kg. This means that you will need to remove half of the washing and dry it in two stages.

Then there’s the time washer dryers take to dry clothes. Because they work at lower temperatures than other types of tumble dryers, washer dryer combos can take an absolute age to fully dry your clothes.

The upside of this is it’s kinder on your clothes and means they’re less likely to wear out so fast.

SEE ALSO: Tumble Dryer Alternatives: How to dry clothes indoors without a Dryer

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a vented tumble dryer use water to dry clothes?

No, a vented tumble dryer doesn’t use water to dry clothes, it uses hot air to extract moisture from the clothes. The steam or water laden air is then expelled from the appliance via the vent hose.

Does a condenser dryer use water to dry clothes?

Condenser dryers turn moist air from clothes back into liquid water which is then stored in a water reservoir on board. They do not use water to dry clothes.

Why does a washer dryer use water to dry?

On washer dryer combos, a trickle of cold water is used to help condense the hot moist air into water. This water is then pumped out of the appliance through the drain.

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