I use an electrical dryer pretty often to dry my clothes and it kept bothering me that it does consume a lot of energy which is not that efficient in combination with using the air conditioning as well.
That is why I was searching for methods how to modify my electric dryer to use free hot air and save as much energy as I can. I have found one method which creates a dryer hood with a fitting for hot air intake hose. When you attach the hood and connect the dryer to a hot air source by using a dryer hose, you can use the hot air as free energy to dry your clothes.
As source of warm air you can use the attic if you have one, a warm room, solar heater or even the outdoor air. It’s important that the source needs to be drafty or at least to be opened to a source of replacement air like the outside.
This method saves energy on drying as well as air conditioning costs. The materials that you need are: 4 foot roll of Astro-foil which can be found on Amazon like this one, scissors, duct tape, scrap metal or a cardboard, a dryer vent hose like this one and a screwdriver. The total cost was around $30, not that much if you think how much money you can save with this. Here are the steps that I have used to modify my electric dryer.
1. Inspect your dryer
You will need to unplug it and remove the exhaust vent hose. After this look for the slotted vents that are usually located in the back.
2. Making the hood
Now you will need to size the shape of the hood. Cut a large shape of Astro foil then trim and shape it.
3. Tape the material to the dryer
In this step you will need to apply the material to the dryer but avoid covering the intake vent air slots. Tape the edges of the dryer as well.
4. Use duct tape
Here you will need to tape both the inside and the outside edges of the dryer. You will need to apply the material to the back of the dryer up to the vent slots. This way you will need to shape and trim the material exactly to fit around the shape of the air intake vents.
5. Make a new hole vent
In order to form a hole vent you can use a cardboard or if you have any other stiff material around you use that. You will need to make it big enough in order to slit through the duct hose. The new hole vent needs to be fixed to the top of the dryer.
For my dryer I used a 6 inch diameter scrap sheet metal vent duct. I use its edges to tuck them between the dryer and the back panel.
6. Use the hood up the middle
In this step you will need to create an overlap by slitting up the middle of the hood. This way the hood will be large at the top and small at the bottom.
For the bottom you will need to use scrap cardboard in order to create a sturdy form. This way you will get the smaller bottom shape hood. If you do not have a cardboard you can use ½ inch thick foam insulation. You will need to tape the material used to the dryer.
7. Continue shaping and taping the hood
Here you will need to tape as much possible the outside of each edge and seam as well as where the hood joins the dryer. I have also folded the edges of the hood between the back panel and the dryer. You will need to finish by wrapping the material around the duct tape, just make sure that the vent hose fits perfectly inside the duct tape.
8. Testing time
After all the taping and finishing touches have ended you will need to test your little project. At this point you will need to re-attach the original exhaust hose. Simply plug in the dryer and turn it on in order to test the air flow.
9. Last step
I chose my source of air to come from the attic therefore I have run the end of my hose here. I choose the attic because it is drafty and usually it’s very hot in the summer. Now one end needs to be up and the other end attach it into the dryer hood.
I have tested it on a hot day to dry my clothes so I simply chose the option “Air” on settings. This way the dryer did not consume any electricity to make heat.
For my house I needed two lengths of 6 inch diameter hose to fit the sheet metal vent and also reach the attic. The length of the hose you want to make will depend on what source of air you choose.
What I made here is for an electrical dryer only so do not test this if you have a gas dryers. I highly recommend to only use this method if you have an electrical dryer.
Do you know other efficient methods to save energy? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.