How to save money and space with a heat pump washer-dryer
Many Vermont households like hanging their clothes out to dry (especially in the hot summer months). In the winter, even Vermonters usually turn to their dryers. It’s standard in American homes to have a separate washer and dryer. But having two large machines doesn’t work for every household. Combined washer-dryers are great for households with limited space. Rather than two large machines, the all-in-one units can usually fit underneath a counter or in a closet.
If this sounds like the right solution for your home, consider locking in energy savings by choosing a heat pump washer-dryer.
Heat pump technology has been around for decades. It was first used for efficient air conditioning in warm climates. In recent years, advancements have helped heat pumps become popular across the Northeast for heating and cooling. Now manufacturers are using the technology in other applications, like clothes drying. Heat pumps use refrigerants to cool or warm a space – in this case, the inside of the washer-dryer. Instead of venting the humid air outside like a vented dryer, a ventless dryer pushes the air through a condenser loop. The loop cools the air down, pulls the water out of the air, and drains into the washer drain hose.
Heat pump washer-dryers are ventless and plug into a standard 120-volt outlet. That makes them easy to install and uninstall, perfect for renters or households with space constraints. The washer requires standard hot and cold-water hookups and a drain. But there’s no need to install a venting system or a special 240-volt hookup. Many homes find space in a kitchen or bathroom or a closet nearby.
“If you live in an apartment a ventless washer-dryer combo could be a great way to get laundry in your unit. Saving the cost of installing a vent or upgrading electric outlets.”
You can put in a load of laundry at the beginning of the day and it will be be dry at the end of the cycle. No need to worry about damp clothes sitting in the washer for hours if you can’t change them over. Or having to sit in a laundromat. These machines may have longer drying times than a standalone dryer and some are smaller than standard washers and dryers. If you have light or moderate laundry needs, this might be the right solution.
Heat pumps are highly efficient. That’s true for heating your home and for heating your clothes. All-in-one washer-dryers also benefit from being ventless. Ventless dryers are much more common in other countries due to their high efficiency and easy installation. They can use less than half of the energy of a standard washer and dryer.
These heat pump washer and dryer units are just starting to get stocked in retail stores. If you can't find the efficient model you are looking for, ask!
A heat pump washer-dryer might be right for you if:
- You have space constraints
- You are renting and will be moving again soon
- You can’t install a vented appliance in your apartment or condo
- You are a rental property owner or manager with units that meet these conditions
- You have light-to-moderate laundry needs
- A laundromat is not convenient for your laundry needs
- You want a laundry system where you can “set it and forget it” – put clothes in and come back when they’re all dry
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that the new all-in-one heat pump models are currently more expensive than conventional models. Efficiency Vermont offers a rebate to help. As these types of units grow in popularity the price will likely come down.