Dryers

Doing the laundry may never be fun, but clothes-washing chores are becoming less onerous for homeowners, thanks to an ever-growing number of technologies that enhance performance, control, and efficiency. Dryers, in particular, now come with fancy features such as steam cleaning, sanitizing, wrinkle prevention, and notifications via smartphone apps. The good news for your customers who use propane is that almost every electric dryer model can be ordered in a gas version.

In gas dryers, electricity powers the drum, fan, lights, and controls, but propane or natural gas generates the heat. “The only difference internally is that there is a gas burner in place of the electric heating element,” says Matthew Burkholder, sales manager for Martin Appliance in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.

There are many reasons your customers might choose a gas dryer over an electric one. If you are installing a gas source, it’s a good opportunity to offer them slightly faster drying cycles. Depending on gas and electric rates, the savings for gas dryers is 15–20 cents per load, Burkholder says. People in areas with frequent power outages may also opt for gas dryers to lighten the load on backup generators. And, he adds, “some people just like the control of buying propane when it is the least expensive and saving money versus electric.”

The LG smart Wi-Fi-enabled dryer with TurboSteam.

Regardless of fuel source, speed, flexibility, and ease of use are all things consumers care about. Wi-Fi-enabled dryers have been around for several years. The dryer’s app can’t unload the dryer when the cycle is finished, but it can notify absent owners, who can tell someone at home to take out and fold the clothes. They can also use the app to check energy use and control the dryer with voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Those features are part of the LG Styler with SmartThinQ, which the company launched last fall. LG says this is the only model to be certified asthma- and allergy-friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It also reduces wrinkles and odors to refresh garments in 20 minutes flat, which the company claims is the fastest cycle on the market. Samsung has upped its game too with a gas Steam Sanitize+ dryer that eliminates 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria. And it has 12 preset drying cycles to handle all kinds of fabrics and treatment.

Samsung’s gas Steam Sanitize+ dryer has 12 preset drying cycles to handle all kinds of fabrics and treatment.

Whirlpool’s 7.4-cubic-foot Smart Front Load Dryer touchscreen lets users customize up to 36 drying cycles. Like the Nest thermostat, it keeps track of the settings used most often and suggests customized presets based on family routines. What’s more, there’s an attachable dryer rack for tumble-free drying of bulky or delicate items.

Your customers should know that gas dryers are $50–100 more expensive than electric models, and an inexpensive conversion kit is required for propane units. But if the home has a standard 110-/115-volt electrical outlet and a capped-off gas line nearby, it’s set up for a gas dryer and there is no need for the special 240-volt receptacle required for an electric dryer.

When you’re using propane in other parts of the house, pointing your customers toward a gas clothes dryer is a nice way to help them save time and money down the road. Or maximize propane’s capabilities further by partnering the dryer with a propane tankless water heater and clothes washer. That way, you can provide a laundry room with peak convenience, performance, and efficiency.

Top photo: Whirlpool’s 7.4-cubic-foot Smart Front Load Dryer can be set for tumbling and steam for up to 150 minutes after the cycle ends or until the door is opened to prevent wrinkles. It also has an EcoBoost option that uses less heat over an extended cycle time.

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Cheryl Weber