Can a Clothes Dryer be Both Gas and Electric?


Clothes dryers come in all forms, from simplistic clunkers to advanced tech, from gas to electric.

But can clothes dryers be both gas and electric? The simple answer is no, they cannot. Dryers either use electric heating elements or gas burner flames to produce the air required to dry clothes. There is no such thing as a “switch” to toggle from gas to electric and vice versa as the mechanics involving either are very different.


How do gas and electric dryers work?

All dryers use heat, air and motion to catalyze the process of drying clothes by utilizing electricity.

But the main difference between a gas and electric dryer is the fact that electric heaters only use electricity whereas gas heaters use both electricity and gas.

Electric heaters use coils through which the electricity flows producing resistance and thus, heat. On the other hand, gas dryers use propane or natural gas which creates a fire to produce heat. Both processes involve the heat produced increasing the temperature of the air surrounding it making it act like a blower. The air is drawn in from vents from the outside and distributed throughout the dryer.

The heated air then increases the temperature of the moisture in the clothes and draws the water out, leaving dried clothes behind. It is the drum in which the clothes are inserted that allow air circulation and prevent the clothes from just remaining as piles at the bottom of the appliance. 

Furthermore, electric driers require at least a 240-volt (usually) electric outlet while gas dryers require a gas hook-up.

Both also types have safety features like thermostats and thermal fuses to prevent the temperature from getting too high and causing damage to the machinery or a fire. The vents are also used to draw the heated air out of the dryer to maintain the quality of the dryer and prevent fuses. Ventless dryers pass the air through a heat exchanger instead. 

Newer dryers are even available with steam dry features that use water to produce steam and dry the clothes in a similar manner. New technologies are being produced everyday to improve the efficiency of this staple appliance. 


When should you pick gas dryers?

In the case you have a gas hook-up and at least a standard 110/150-volt electric outlet – a standard electric outlet – you can choose to pick a gas dryer. Gas dryer are also more energy efficient that electric dryers since the load of its function is divided between the two sources of gas. They also work much faster due to the fact that the heat is produced directly as opposed to needing to be used.

It must be noted that even though it saves energy, it takes approximately five years to make up for the offsetting of the typically higher up-front cost of a gas dryer. It can also be hazardous in that if not maintained properly they can cause leaking and poisoning or fires.

Such problems can be avoided if one can invest in ensuring proper installation such as installing carbon monoxide detectors or maintain the appliance properly by ensuring good wiring, keeping the vents clean and regularly removing the lint from the vents and other parts of the appliances.

Generally, total operational for gas dryers and lower that electric dryers due to less electric consumption and lower costs of gas. Although, dryers overall do use a lot of electricity so this difference is not much in the grander scheme.


When should you pick electric dryers?

Electric dryers usually require four-pronged 240 volt electric outlets to function and cannot be plugged into the regular 110-120 volt outlets. There are multiple different types and different models to choose from allowing a range of technological and mechanical options.

The up-front costs of electric dryers is always lower compared to gas dryers but since electricity traditionally costs more, the operational cost, and thus the overall cost is always higher. Its heavy use of electricity also means that it isn’t as energy-efficient and takes longer – ventless clothes dryers take even longer.

One of the greatest benefits of an electric dryer is the fact that electric dryers tare cheaper and easier to maintain.; In fact, more often than not, you is able to repair and fix their dryer themselves such as changing belts and filters.

This also means that there are very few hazards that require large or expensive interventions. There is a lower investment into facilities to prevent such hazards. 


Should one opt for conversion?

A common question is whether one can convert gas clothes dryers to electric clothes dryers and whether it is safe to do so.

While conversion from gas to electric dryer is possible, it is never recommended.

The first reason for this is the high costs that must be endured in the process. Conversion is not easy and requires a lot of equipment and work, including removal and replacement of even the most basic parts such as tubes, fuses, etc.

Most importantly, a whole circuit change may be required since electric heaters can only function on 240 volts as opposed to 110 volts.

This is not just complicated but also time consuming. When the cost of these replacements and time associated with them are added up and compared to simply buying a new dryer, the cost of the latter is significantly less.

Furthermore, the hazards associated with such a conversion can be dangerous and the process can result in the dryer being rendered useless. Hazards can arise while replacing the gas pipeline or changing the outlets available, cleaning or fixing wiring.

If the different elements of the appliance are not put in place appropriate there are chances of more hazards arsing or the dryer eventually not working at all. This means that selling the gas dryer and using the money to purchase a new electric dryer is cheaper. 

In conclusion, it must be noted that while gas dryers do use both gas and electric outlets, dryers (functionally) cannot be considered to be both electric and gas.