Washers and dryers can come either as separate machines that are set up apart from each other or as a dual unit with two different functions, one with the washer function and one with the dryer function. Both condenser dryers and vented, or tumble dryers, can be either, but it is more common for condenser dryers to be part of a dual-unit system. Condenser dryers are more popular in Europe, where space is an issue.
Dryers use a combination of air and heat to draw moisture from clothes placed inside. Both vented dryers and condenser dryers use heating elements that can be powered by gas or electricity to generate heat. The heat helps dry the clothes as water vapour evaporates into the air. How the air is channelled through the dryer depends on what type of dryer it is.
Tumble or vented dryers use a ventilation system that connects to the outdoors of the building where the dryer is used. A fan inside draws air into the dryer, cycles in, then pumps it out through the vent system and into the outside air. This allows a continual cycle of air to pass through the dryer, dry air replacing wet air so moisture can be quickly drawn out. This method is quick and very common.
In many places where space is tight, condenser dryers are used instead of vented dryers. These dryers draw in air only once and use that same air repeatedly. When the air becomes full of moisture, it is then dried out again using an evaporator. The excess water is channelled down a drain or recycled, and the air is filled with water again.
Long Vent Runs
Condenser dryers are typically best in apartments, town houses, or small buildings where access to the outdoors is limited. If the dryer is located far away from an outer wall, then a long vent must be run to the nearest wall. The longer it is, the more expensive the dryer will be. Sometimes, using an outer wall is not an option. In this case, the air-saving condenser dryer is a better choice.
If other factors, such as distance to an outer wall, are equal, then condenser dryers are more expensive. The evaporator and condenser systems that they use add to the cost already present because of the heater and fan system. Prices range from unit to unit, but in general condenser dryers tend to be slightly more expensive. They also use more electricity to run their extra components, which can add to the cost over time.