Written by Carollyn Farrar, Marketing Program Manager, NW Natural
Humans began wearing clothing made from animal fur and skins about 170,000 years ago, right after the second-to-last Ice Age ended. As people migrated north out of Africa and into colder climates, adding layers of clothing made the trip a lot more comfortable.
It was not until 1800 that a hand-cranked dryer was invented in France.
Early in the 20th century, an inventor from North Dakota was tired of hanging wet clothes that froze on the outside line. He built a shed with a stove and began to hang clothing to dry.Called "ventilators," early large metal drums with ventilation holes were powered by hand cranks, and dried clothing over open fires.Smokey, with soot, sometimes clothing caught fire.
After many rejections and about 30 years of refining, North Dakota inventor, J. Ross Moore, worked with Hamilton Manufacturing Company and began selling electric clothes dryers, called the "June Day” in 1938.
In 1955, Whirlpool launched a natural gas dryer with the claim that it took half the time to dry clothes as electric dryers.Doing the laundry is still a time-consuming chore, particularly if small children or teenagers reside in the home.
Still true today, natural gas dryers heat up faster than electric, saving time, energy and money.And with faster heat-up and shorter drying time, fabric life is extended because drying with natural gas is much gentler. Because loads dry much faster, when a natural gas dryer shuts off, the remaining heat dissipates quickly, reducing the amount of wrinkling. Moisture sensors in gas dryers prevent over-drying and lessen static cling.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) completed a study in the fall of 2017. The study identified 92.6 percent of residential Oregon clothes dryers are electric and aging at about 12 years old. Because the life expectancy of an electric dryer runs about 10 to 15 years, repairs or a new purchase may be likely soon.
Though the cost of an average electric dryer repair is $60 to $100 before parts and labor, the savings from one repair could offset the cost to install a natural gas dryer. Today, most big box stores and appliance retailers stock natural gas dryers.
Look for the Electrolux and Maytag natural gas dryers in the 2018 NW Natural Street of Dreams homes. Builders of these luxury homes recognize the many benefits of natural gas appliances.
NEEA RBSA 2017
The History of Clothes Dryers