My old clothes dryer was a GE and it lasted close to 18 years. So when it came time to get a replacement I was looking for another GE model or one of the big name brands. I stopped by our local big box store and saw models from about $450 up to over $1200 or so. All of the lower priced units were of off model brands.
One on the things that did catch my eye was the size of some of these. Not so much the whole machine itself but the size of the drum inside. Our old dryer was kind of wimpy in that department, and due to that, it seemed to take forever to get things dry. Common sense and logic dictate a bigger drum means better drying…at least with the same amount of clothes. All of the extra room means more airflow and a lot less density. Since we will still be using our basic washer which has not gotten any bigger, this should help immensely in the drying times.
New means $$$$, used only $$
Throwing in a new $800 to $1000 expense into the family budget is nothing to take lightly. If you can afford that, great for you. My bank account would be envious or yours. But for us, we needed to be a bit more conservative in our spending. With that in mind I began the task of searching out a decent used model. Here the choices are a bit slim, but considering it was summer and we could line dry stuff, I was not pressured into any kind of fast time frame. I began my quest using Craigslist. It took a few weeks but I eventually found something that looked promising. It was BIG…a 7.3 cu foot model, a GE brand, Electric (like our old one…running gas would be a new added expense) and the price was great. My kids dig the new glass door too…perhaps it will entice them to do their own laundry?
My “used” unit was still fairly new by appearances and my quick Internet research. (The Internet is a fine tool for these types of tasks, use it to its full advantage.) The folks that were selling it got it from some tenants that moved out and did not have room in their moving truck. Their poor planning and/or possession of too much other stuff was my win.
It took four weeks of diligent effort to sniff out a good deal, and the timing to be first in line with the cash. If time is something you lack, then you may need to pay more and get what is immediately available, or settle for something less than what you want.
Self Serve Pick Up
Another cost saver for us was the fact that I have a truck (I am a professional carpenter) and can transport a clothes dryer. My carpeted raised bed rack still allows for 27” of space to the camper shell. This unit just fit with less than an inch to spare. Some of my clients say that they get free delivery and pick up with appliance purchases…this may be true but that just means that price is already factored into the appliances fixed costs. I took our old unit to the metal recycle yard…for free, and picked up the new unit after work on evening. I had it up and running the next day with some new venting.
Now that we have been using our new “used” dryer, I have been very happy. The time it takes to dry a full load is about ½ of what our old dryer required. During the month we line dried clothes our electric bill saw about a 40% drop in energy used. The only other big power user is our electric range; our hot water is propane. Those few weeks of line drying resulted in the lowest electric use ever, at 282 KWH for the most recent month. I’ll keep an eye on the meter, but I’m hoping for savings of about 20% over our former usage.
Kevin Stevens is a contractor who works with Denver electricians. He writes for Networx.