How does a combination washer & dryer work?

Written by herbert harris
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How does a combination washer & dryer work?
A combination washer-dryer unit. (washing machine image by andrey polichenko from Fotolia.com)

The combination washer-dryer provides solutions to those who have limited space and desire to do laundry at home. Combination washer-dryer units can fit in almost any area and require only about half the space of individual units. Many models are constructed so that there is no requirement for venting, making "combo" units highly attractive for apartment-dwellers.

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How a Combination Washer-Dryer Works

The combination washer-dryer unit, also known as an "all in one washer dryer" or "washer-dryer combo," is a single unit designed to perform both washing and drying functions. These units operate by using a condensing system to remove moisture from the air in the drum. The air leaving the drum, which is warm in addition to being moist, circulates through a plastic chamber where it encounters a mist of cool water. This causes the moisture in the air to condense into water droplets and collect in the bottom of the condensing chamber. It then egresses via the same drain as the wash water. The resulting warm, dry air continues through the closed system back to the drum to remove more moisture from the clothes.

Advantages of a Combination Washer-Dryer

The design and operation of the condensing system saves energy in two distinct ways. Little heat is lost as the air passes through the condensing chamber, requiring very little energy to raise the air temperature back to the optimum drying level. Additionally, washer-dryer combination units do not evacuate any air to the outside. Conventional units that do exhaust air to the outside require air intake from the outside which must then be either heated or cooled to room temperature, using additional energy to do so.

More Advantages

Aside from their compact size, washer-dryer combination units are designed to operate on 110 volt AC electrical sockets. This means they can be located in any room that has regular wall outlets and available plumbing. Kitchens and bathrooms are suitable in addition to closets that back up to a bathroom. Washer-dryer combination units also use far less waterless than half--than required by conventional machines.

Disadvantages

As a result of their smaller size, washer-dryer combination units have a lower capacity than standard-sized washer-dryer sets. The dryer is not capable of handling a full load of wet clothes. This requires washing smaller loads or removing part of the load prior to drying. You actually do two wash loads and two dryer loads for the equivalent of a single load in a full-sized washer and dryer. These multiple loads cause reduced efficiency in the use of water and power.

Considerations

If you have space limitations, a washer-dryer combination unit can be beneficial. A combo unit can function without venting or additional electrical circuits required by standard washer-dryer sets. There are just a few manufacturers of combo units so choices are limited.

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