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How does a tumbler dryer work?

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Quick Answer

A tumbler dryer is a clothes dryer where hot air is blown across damp clothes that are spinning in a rotating drum to collect moisture. Depending on the type of dryer, the warm and moist air is either vented to the outdoors or put through a heat exchanger to be reused.

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How does a tumbler dryer work?
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Full Answer

Parts of a tumbler dryer

There are five main components of a tumbler dryer that work together.

  • Drum: This is the main container for wet clothes. It is usually larger than the accompanying washing machine to improve drying consistency.
  • Sensor/timer: To determine how long the dryer must run for, a sensor may monitor the moisture content in the drum, or a timer will stop the machine after a predesignated time.
  • Heating element: Hot air can hold more moisture than cold air. The heating element at the back of the drum heats up the incoming air before it is blown across the clothes.
  • Water drain: Excess water is drained through the bottom of the drum. The water is either delivered to a small container that needs to be removed and emptied or to an external location through a hose.
  • Filter: Stray fibres and lint can impede the drying process. They are captured in the air filter, typically located in the door. The filter should be cleaned after every use.
These basic elements are used in every tumbler dryer. However, some dryers have extra features to reduce the environmental impact and improve efficiency. A heat exchanger can be used to extract heat from the moist and warm air leaving and then transfer that heat to incoming air to reduce the need of the heating element.

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