How is my HE drier more efficient if I have to run a load multiple times to actually dry clothes?

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I used to have a drier from the late 90s which dried my clothing in one go. The one I have now takes 3 or 4 goes. Apparently the new one is more efficient but I don’t understand how that can be.

Wouldn’t it take up more energy due to the extra cycles?

edit- I would really appreciate it if someone explained how the drier is more efficient than my old one instead of questioning my laundering habits. I clear the lint trap and load small loads. I even switch the settings to “most dry”. I’m not the issue here. This “high efficiency” drier is.

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There aren’t really HE dryers. There are HE washer dryer sets that mostly have the gains in the washing machines higher speed spin cycle. And humidity sensor in the dryer to cut off when its mostly dry.

Why does your dryer take 3-4 cycles?

Most likely you are overloading your washer (so many people do this, it’s common, load sizes don’t really make intuitive sense) and so afterward overloading your dryer. Read the manual, don’t overload. One set of wet clothes from the washer into the dryer.

Or your dryer is borked because the lint trap or vent is clogged, or humidity sensor is borked, or heat coil is borked or similar.

Here’s an ELI5 like you asked for:

The not-efficient dryer uses 30 energy each cycle.
The efficient dryer uses 5 energy each cycle.
Even if you have to run the efficient dryer two or three times, it’s still using less energy.

(Note: I made up example numbers to make the explanation clear. I don’t know how many energy your specific dryer uses.)

I am not sure what is wrong with your dryer making it take multiple cycles. This can be caused by a lot of different things. Clothes dryers are essentially simple devices, they have a fan and a heater. Air is heated up and forced through the clothes making them dry.

The first effort to make them more efficient was to add a thermostat and hydrostat to monitor and control the drying process better. So the dryer will actually cut off when the clothes are dry rather then on a fixed timer. And you can dry clothes on lower temperatures, which even though it takes longer is more efficient because it uses less power for the heating element.

The next effort was the condenser dryers. Instead of just exhausting the humid warm air into the ambient air, preferably outside, these condenser dryers cool down the air using ambient air causing the water in them to condense before heating the air again for reuse. This means you need less power to get the same temperature and all the waste heat ends up inside the house rather then is piped outside. But due to the more humid internal air in these devices they do take longer to dry your clothes and may also leave the clothes a bit humid so you might need to air dry them for a few minutes. You also need to dispose of the condensed water either by manually emptying a canister or by using a pipe to the drain.

Even the condenser dryers are not that efficient. They are often made as part of high efficiency washing machines but they can not be marketed as high efficiency on their own. But there is a type of dryer which are high efficiency. They use a heat pump, similar to the one in an AC unit or fridge, to heat and cool the air for the drying cycle. These are on the market but are quite expensive. So they are mostly just sold in places in Europa with high energy prices. But the current energy prices around the world does make them seam like a worthy investment in other parts of the world as well.

I had the same issue until my boyfriend googled it and we learned that it dries the clothes using the steam the dryer/wet clothes produces. So when the timer goes off it still feels damp, but then I’ll take it out and throw it on the bed and in 2 seconds it’s dry to the touch. I used to run the dryer a bunch of times thinking it should feel dry after the timer goes off, but 2 seconds out of the dryer and they’re perfectly dry. Would have never known if we didn’t look it up and it was really frustrating for a while