Originally Posted by samclem
Our clothes dryer is an older electric model. ... Still, there's now a gas line running through the room and I sometimes think it might be worth swapping installing a gas dryer.
Pros: Lower fuel costs
- Expenditure for new machine
- Safety. I'd bet electric dryers catch fire less often. Plus, with combustion there's a carbon monoxide risk.
- Reliability: There are more parts in a gas dryer, and they probably break down more frequently.
Interesting. The idea of a gas flame in a dryer (which I knew were a big source of home fires) always scared me.
When we moved to our current house ~ 16 years ago, there was a gas hook-up for the dryer, and no electric there. We kept our old washer & electric dryer (just a few years old), so I'd have to buy new and think about that scary flame. So...
I ran 220 from the not-very-far-away breaker box (plenty of spare circuits available), tested for voltage drops under load when I was done, and we've been electric ever since. Replaced the heater coil once, the belt and bushings once, and that's been it. I have done the math in my head, forget the actual numbers, but it always seems the few hours a week it is actually running and sucking all that power doesn't add up to all that much, but it's not a small number either. And I do figure we will get one of those high rpm front loaders (or Staber top-loader, bin-type) eventually, which will cut dry time. Surprisingly, the washer, with all those moving parts has been absolutely zero maintenance ( OK, I have had to clear the hose screen of some grit from our well a couple times, installed a filter in-line and no problems since). That amazes me - three kids so that washer has seen a lot of use.
However... when I replaced the heater coil in the dryer, I test-ran it with the covers open and I was really surprised to see those things light up bright cherry red like the old toaster coils! Any lint touching that would combust immediately. I don't feel that much safer with electric over gas after seeing that. But you are right - electric = simple, I think I'll stick with it. Fewer kids in the house now, so less washing anyway.
But it re-enforced what I said in a recent thread, don't run the dryer (gas or electric) while you are out or going to bed, just too dangerous.
But - back to the OP - I know I harp on raising taxes on energy if we want to push conservation, but there is another way. The govt could simply say "no new/expansion of power plants". Maybe an exception for renewable (but no subsidy). That would drive prices up if demand increased, and would drive conservation in the same 'thousand ways' as a tax on energy.