Rainbow-colored photo of the interior drum of a heat pump dryer

In one year, the average family does about 300 loads of laundry. Those shopping for new dryers can choose between a traditional and a new heat pump dryer.

Each type has specific benefits and drawbacks that could make a massive difference for you, especially regarding longevity. 

This article will tell you how each dryer works, warranty differences, and ways to increase a dryer’s life expectancy.

So, let’s get into it and discover which type of dryer is best.

Do Heat Pump Dryers Last Longer Than Traditional Dryers?

Heat pump dryers last longer than traditional dryers.

Traditional dryers last an average of 10 years, while heat pump models usually last 20 years.

Dryer life expectancy depends on the brand’s reliability, as evidenced by the warranty. 

In addition, care and regular maintenance can increase a dryer’s life expectancy.    

How Heat Pump Dryers and Traditional Dryers Work

While both machines have a drum that clothes dry in, these heat pump dryers and traditional vented dryers have unique components and characteristics.

Traditional vented dryers have a heated, spinning drum that clothes tumble in. As the water wrings out of clothes, it evaporates, and the moisture pushes out the vent. 

To hook a traditional dryer up, you will need to find an outside wall where you can cut a hole in the building. Then, snake a vent pipe through the hole so extra heat and moisture can exit.  

Heat pump dryers do not need an outside hole because they are a closed loop system that condenses water and pushes it out of a hose or into a container.

A compressor loop extracts heat to increase temperatures and continue drying the clothes. These machines use less energy than traditional dryers and don’t require venting to an outside wall. 

illustration of technology behind heat pump dryers in relation to conventional dryers
Courtesy of Stark’s Appliances

On top of those benefits, heat pump dryers also last longer than vented dryers due to their closed-loop system. 

Although similar in function, these dryers deal with water and heat differently, leading buyers to consider venting possibilities, price points, longevity, and energy usage before making a purchase.  

What Warranties Indicate About Dryer Life Expectancy

Manufacturers tailor their warranties to the parameters they have set and tested their products for, so look at a contract to understand what you can expect out of a product. 

The best way to estimate the longevity of a washer is to see what the warranty provides.

Most washer manufacturers have a one-year limited warranty, and the products last about ten years.

Other manufacturers have more extended warranties, and their dryers last longer. 

By way of example, Speed Queen has a five-year limited warranty, and Miele expects its products to last for 20 years.

Concomitant consumer confidence that a product will stand the test of time should rise in line with the warranty coverage.     

When buying a washer, checking the product’s warranty provides the best estimate of the product’s longevity. 

Regular Maintenance Affects How Long a Dryer Lasts 

It is essential to get the most for your money, so keep the machine in working order if you want to get the most out of your dryer. 

Dryers often tell you when they are not working correctly and need maintenance.

When clothes aren’t drying thoroughly, sensors are going off, or clothes smell funny, it is time to take action. 

Regular attention to the load, month, and annual marks for maintenance keep issues at bay.   

How To Clean a Traditional Dryer

Cleaning a traditional dryer requires several steps, including:

  • Clear the lint screen after each load – once you’ve removed a load of clothes, open the lint screen and wipe out any lint. This step is essential because excess lint stops airflow, and clothes won’t dry either. If a sweep does not clean the lint screen, you can run water over the net or softly brush away any debris. 
A worker in white T-shirt and blue dungarees carrying out maintenance on a condenser or a heat pump dryer.
  • Unplug the dryer before deep cleaning – if you are cleaning beyond clearing the lint screen, it is essential to unplug the machine so you don’t get shocked. For electric dryers, unplug the device. You will also need to detach the gas line for gas dryers to prevent leaks. 
  • Clean the lint trap every month – beyond the lint screen lies the lint trap. To clean this, reach into the lint trap slot to remove any excess lint. Vacuums with an attachment are most helpful at pulling out stubbornly lodged bits. An old toothbrush can also be beneficial for cleaning out dirt in the crevices of this trap.  
  • Clean the vent once a year – to clean the vent, unscrew the dryer clamp and look inside the vent. Moving the vent as little as possible to prevent breakage, remove inside objects with a vacuum or by hand. If the vent is long, you may need to contact a professional to clean out the vent.  
A professional vacuums out a dryer vent in the wall

Taking these measures on a regular schedule will keep your traditional dryer running well and give you the maximum life expectancy for your machine. 

How To Clean a Heat Pump Dryer

Heat pump dryers take less maintenance than traditional dryers. 

However, they require regular cleaning of the lint filters and bottom containers.

The lint filter is cleaned by brushing your hand over the filter and pulling the lint out.

Empty the bottom filter every five loads. Best to clean the evaporator every three months with a light brushing and vacuum.  

Regular maintenance of your dryer will keep the machine running well for years. 

Comparison Between Heat Pump Dryers and Traditional Dryers

The table below shows a head-to-head comparison between heat pump dryers and traditional dryers:

Comparison FeatureHeat Pump DryersTraditional Dryers
Drying methodUses heat pump technology to recycle hot airRelies on heating elements to generate hot air
Energy efficiencyMore energy-efficient and results in lower electricity billsLess energy-efficient and consumes more energy
Initial costHigher upfront cost due to advanced technologyLower initial cost, more affordable
Long-term costSavings on energy bills will offset initial cost over timeHigher energy consumption and increased long-term costs
LifespanLonger lifespan due to less wear on componentsShorter lifespan, may require more frequent replacements
Environmental impactLower carbon footprint, more environmentally friendlyHigher carbon footprint, less eco-friendly
Drying timeMay take longer to dry clothes, especially in cooler environmentsTypically shorter drying times
Space requirementsCompact design, suitable for smaller spacesLarger footprint, may require more space
Noise levelGenerally quieter operationCan be noisier, especially with older models
Table 1: Comparison between heat pump dryers and traditional dryers

Reasons You Might Not Want a Heat Pump Dryer

From our discussion above, it’s evident that heat pump dryers have a myriad of advantages.

However, like anything else, these machines are not without their drawbacks.

Let’s explore some drawbacks that may make a heat pump dryer inappropriate for you.

  • Higher initial cost: As mentioned, heat pump dryers usually have a higher upfront cost than their traditional counterparts. While the energy savings may offset this over time, these dryers might not be your ideal option if you don’t have enough money for the initial investment.
  • Longer drying time: Heat pump dryers often take longer to complete a drying cycle than traditional dryers. While you can opt for quicker cycles to dry a handful of clothes in about 30 minutes, a full load will take a couple of hours. Therefore, if time efficiency is a top priority, especially for larger loads, a heat pump dryer may not be the right option for you.
  • Compatibility with older homes: Older homes might not have the necessary electrical infrastructure to support heat pump dryers. Upgrading the electrical system can be an added expense, making traditional dryers a more convenient choice if you live in an older residence.
  • Are not ideal for wall mounting: Heat pump and condenser dryers are not ideal for wall mounting. This is because these machines are much heavier than their vented counterparts at between 50 and 70 kg. Therefore, you should consider traditional dryers if you prefer wall-mount options.

Final Thoughts

Heat pump dryers last longer than traditional dryers and require far less maintenance.

For example, conventional vented dryers usually last ten years, while heat pump dryers typically last twice as long.

Still, there are two key steps a buyer can take to prolong usage, including: 

  • Buy a product with an extended warranty because manufacturers with long warranties made their products to withstand the test of time. 
  • Provide regular maintenance on the dryer you purchase to run in top shape for as long as possible. 

If you research the brand and provide regular maintenance, you will get the most longevity from whatever product you buy. 

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