Closeup on the window of a heat pump dryer with a spin cycle in progress

A heat pump dryer’s excellent energy efficiency, easy installation, and gentle drying make it a great choice for your laundry needs. 

But you may be wondering how long it takes clothes to dry in a heat pump dryer.

This comprehensive guide will explain how a heat pump dryer works and the factors that affect drying time.

We’ll also give you some tips on how to reduce drying time. 

So let’s get started!

How Long Do Heat Pump Dryers Take to Dry Clothes?

It takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to dry a full load of clothes in a heat pump dryer.

However, the exact timeframe depends on the load size, humidity levels, and settings you choose.

To improve drying time, spin the clothes at a higher speed (at least 800 rpm) and select the appropriate cycle.

Factors That Affect a Heat Pump Dryer’s Drying Time

To understand why clothes take longer to dry in a heat pump dryer, you first need to know how the dryer works.

A heat pump dryer has the same working principle as a fridge or an air conditioner, meaning it uses a refrigerant to absorb heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the clothes inside the drum. 

The refrigerant circulates in a closed loop and is compressed to increase its temperature.

The warm air is then passed over the clothes to remove moisture and repeated until the clothes are dry.

Unlike a conventional dryer that uses electricity to generate heat, a heat pump dryer uses ambient air, making it more energy-efficient and gentle on your clothes. 

However, it takes longer to dry a load of laundry, as shown below:

Dryer TypeAverage Drying Time
Heat pump2 hrs and 45 mins
Vented45 to 50 minutes
Condenser2 hrs and 15 mins
Table 1: Drying times for different types of dryers

Moisture from the clothes is then condensed and collected in an in-built tank at the bottom of the dryer.

You must empty it after each cycle to prevent mold and mildew growth and maintain the dryer’s efficiency.

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

While the average drying time for a heat pump dryer is 2 hours and 45 minutes, several factors can affect this, including:

  • Load size
  • The type of clothes you’re drying
  • Settings on the dryer
  • Humidity levels in the room
  • Heat sensors in the dryer

Let’s go more in-depth on these factors in the following sections.

Load Size

This could probably go without saying, but the more significant the load, the longer it will take to dry.

For example, a full, eight kg (17.64 lb) load will take longer to dry than a half load because there are more clothes for the heat to remove moisture from. Thus, if you’re in a hurry, it’s best to dry smaller loads.

The Type of Clothes

Different fabrics have different drying times.

For example, heavier materials (such as towels) will take much longer to dry than lighter fabrics like cotton shirts.

So if you’re drying a mix of heavy and breezy fabrics, it’s best to separate them and dry the more delicate fabrics first.

The Dryer Settings

A heat pump dryer has several settings you can choose from, depending on the type of clothes you’re drying.

The parameters you choose will impact the heat and airflow, therefore, changing the drying time.

Closeup side angle view of the top front of two condenser dryers side-by-side

For instance, if you’re drying delicate clothes, you’ll want to choose a lower heat setting to prevent damage. The downside is that it’ll take longer to dry them. 

On the other hand, if you’re drying towels or jeans, you can choose a higher heat setting to speed up the process. Just be careful not to overdo it or risk damaging your clothes.

Humidity Levels in the Room

Humidity levels change depending on the amount of water vapor in the air. Therefore, it’s easy to see that the higher the humidity levels are, the longer it takes for your clothes to dry.

Additionally, the dryer will take longer to heat up in a humid environment.

If you live in a humid area, consider getting a dehumidifier for your laundry room—it will remove the excess moisture from the air and help speed up the drying process.

The Heat Sensors in the Dryer

Most heat pump dryers have heat sensors that automatically lower the temperatures when they get too high in the drum.

This feature is excellent because it helps prevent your dryer from damaging your clothes and ensures an even, gentle drying process.

While this is a great safety feature, it lengthens drying time.

When the temperatures in the drum drop, the drying process slows down. It can also take longer to re-heat the air, further extending the cycle.

How To Reduce Heat Pump Dryer Drying Time

Waiting for your favorite cotton shirt or pair of jeans to dry can be frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry or have a lot of laundry to do. 

While you can’t do much about the drying time of a heat pump dryer, there are several steps you can take to reduce it, including:

Use the High Heat Setting

Using a high heat setting will shorten the drying process, as the higher the temperature is, the more quickly the dryer will remove moisture from your clothes.

However, high temperatures can be risky for delicate fabrics. 

If you’re drying a mix of clothes, it’s best to dry the heavier fabrics first on high heat, then lower the setting for the lighter fabrics.

Avoid Overloading the Dryer

Interior view of a heat pump dryer

An overloaded dryer will take longer to dry your clothes, as there’s more fabric for the heat to penetrate.

It can also lead to uneven drying, as some clothes will be closer to the heat source than others. 

Additionally, overloading can strain the dryer and lead to damage. Therefore, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much you can safely dry in one cycle.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Good ventilation is essential for a heat pump dryer to work properly.

Without proper air circulation, your dryer will struggle to dry your clothes entirely or in a timely manner.

Additionally, high humidity levels can impact the drying time. 

Therefore, always ensure your laundry room is adequately ventilated, and consider using a dehumidifier if necessary.

Clean the Lint Filter

Lastly, you always want to make sure you clean your lint filter for a more efficient drying process.

When your lint filter is clogged, the air has to work harder to circulate, which lengthens the cycle time. 

Additionally, lint buildup can be a fire hazard.

Clean the lint filter after each use to ensure optimal performance. Remove the filter as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and use a vacuum or brush to remove any lint.

A worker in white T-shirt and blue dungarees carrying out maintenance on a condenser or a heat pump dryer.

Benefits of Heat Pump Dryers

Heat pump dryers offer several benefits compared to their traditional vented counterparts.

Here are the main benefits:

  • Energy efficiency: They use a heat exchanger to recycle and reuse hot air, significantly reducing energy consumption. As a result, they are more environmentally friendly and cost-effective over the long term.
  • Low operating costs: While heat pump dryers have a higher upfront cost compared to traditional dryers, they guarantee lower operating costs in the long run. The energy savings can offset the initial investment, making them a cost-effective choice over time.
  • Gentler on clothes: Heat pump dryers operate at lower temperatures than conventional dryers, making them gentler on fabrics. The reduced heat helps prevent over-drying and minimizes wear and tear on clothing.
  • Improved safety: These dryers don’t require an external vent, which eliminates the risk of lint buildup in ducts. This also eliminates the need for regular vent cleaning.
  • Installation versatility: Heat pump dryers can be installed in different locations within a home because they don’t require access to external ventilation. This flexibility in installation makes them suitable for apartments, closets, or other spaces where traditional vented dryers might be challenging to install. 
  • Quiet operation: Heat pump dryers are often quieter during operation than to traditional dryers. This is beneficial for households where minimizing noise is a priority, especially during nighttime or when the dryer is located near living spaces.

Final Thoughts

While heat pump dryers are more expensive than traditional dryers, they’re more energy-efficient and gentle on clothes.

However, their drying time is longer than other types of dryers, taking an average of two hours and 45 minutes to dry a load of laundry. 

To improve efficiency and speed up the drying process, use the high heat setting for heavier fabrics, ensure proper ventilation, and clean the lint filter after each use.

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