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How Do Dryers Work?

How do dryers work? We'll explain. Read about how clothes dryers work to better understand how to pick the best one for your home.

Dryers: How Do They Work?

Clothes dryers are found around every home in the United States. No doubt, many more are being made as we speak. The primary reason for this is their reliability and how cheap it is to build them.

Is it a complicated process to understand how dryers work? Let’s find out. After all, a big part of daily life is getting our clothes clean and dry!

Clothes dryers consist of:

  • A tumbler that continuously rotates while holding the clothes
  • A gas or an electric-powered heater that passes the hot air through your clothing as they tumble while evaporating the water in them
  • An exhaust vent that runs out of the dryer so the water may escape in the form of steam

Let us break it down into a bit more detail regarding the inner workings of a clothes dryer.

You may be aware of the fact that the warm and moist air leaves your dryer via the exit made in the back of the machine. But how does the air go into the dryer?

How Clothes Dryer Dry Your Clothing

The following is a step-by-step explanation of how the air passes through your dryer from start to finish:

  1. The air makes its way into the body of the machine via a large hole toward the front end of the dryer.
  2. From here, it gets sucked past the dryer’s heating element to go into the tumbler.
  3. Then it goes into the door where it is directed towards the lint screen.
  4. Next, the air passes through the duct that is situated at the front of the dryer, then into the fan.
  5. Finally, the fan forces the air into the duct that leads it out of the dryer via the exit at the back into your house.

As a matter of interest, did you know that the heating element of a clothes dryer uses a lot of energy to the tune of 4,000 to 6,000 watts?

Is it any wonder seeing that the heating element is responsible for getting your clothes dry. Only after it heated the air sufficiently will it allow the air to make its way to the back of your tumbler?

Once the air completes its cycle within the tumbler, it will pass through to the holes in the door.

When done with the holes in the door area, the air will make its way to the big slot that is situated in the bottom that also leads to the lint screen.

From the lint screen, the air gets drawn to the duct that sits in front of your clothes dryer so it may enter the fan.

What is the Purpose of the Exhaust Duct and Fan?

The fan serves as a centrifugal device as it flings the air toward the outside while spinning and sucking it from the center of the machine to force it out of the duct toward the back of the clothes dryer.

How Does the Tumbler Work Without Gears?

If you get a chance, open your dryer and see if you can spot any gear on the tumbler itself. Not a chance, the tumbler is already one heavy gear or pulley. The motor will drive the tiny pulley and ensure the huge tumbler is set into motion. Therefore, there is no need for any additional gears. You will notice there is a thin belt that is wrapped around the tumbler.

This brings us to the function of the motor and pulleys.

As mentioned already, the motor will drive the small pulley that you will notice just below the black pulley. The belt we spoke about would make its way through the tiny pulley, around the black pulley, and finally around the tumbler.

The purpose of the black pulley is to provide the right amount of tension.

The electric motor serves a fundamental purpose in that it drives both the fan as well as the tumbler. The fan is hooked up to one output while the pulley is hooked up to the other.

Another interesting thing is that the dryer’s tumbler does not have any bearing to assist with the spinning process.

What Supports the Weight of Your Clothing?

We were curious, too! Toward the back of your clothes dryer tumbler, you will come across a flange that is connected to the bushing that enables it to spin. The back end of the tumbler would be bolted to the flange.

The front part of the tumbler does its thing as two plastic pads support it, mounted to the top of the dryer.

Did we make that sound a little less complicated? Well, folks, that would be the inner workings of a clothes dryer that performs its magic to get your clothes dry in time for whatever occasion or event you have lined up.

Resources— How Stuff Works, Electrolux