Heat Pump Dryer: 7 Disadvantages

Heat Pump Dryer: 7 Disadvantages

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The heat pump and more widely the refrigeration circuit is a system that we find everywhere in our daily lives and especially at home. Heating by heat pump, refrigerator, thermodynamic balloon, and more and more the heat pump is imposed in our dryers.

In this article we will discuss 7 disadvantages of this type of heat pump dryer! Of course the heat pump dryer has its advantages, but sometimes it's useful to take the flip side of a subject to understand how it works.

1st disadvantage: the price of the heat pump dryer

The first variable that often comes to mind is the price of the machine. With a whole heat pump system inside, it is easy to imagine that it is more expensive than the resistances of traditional condensation dryers (or even evacuation dryers if there are any left).

The price of a heat pump dryer is about 30 to 40% higher than a standard condensing dryer. This means that to get a quality machine, it will be difficult to spend less than 500€.

However, this parameter should be set against the energy savings made by the heat pump. With a theoretical COP (coefficient of performance) of 3, you will pay about three times less electricity to run your dryer. And let's say that to be realistic, you will pay 2 times less (because several variables come into play that we will see later)

Where a conventional condensing dryer consumes an average of 500 kWh of electricity per year, you will only have to pay 250 kWh with this heat pump dryer. At 0.18cts € per kWh, at the time of writing this article, this represents a saving of some 45€. After 3 years you should have paid back the difference in purchase price compared to standard equipment.

2nd disadvantage: Longer drying cycles

A conventional condensing dryer uses an electric resistance. The heating is very fast. However, a heat pump needs a certain amount of time before it heats up and reaches the drying temperature. It takes a good 30 minutes longer than a condensation dryer with a resistance.

In addition, the heat pump will not raise the temperature so high, compared to a resistance heater. The cycle is therefore naturally longer. This is the concession to make to save money, and have a bit of ecology in his home 😉

3rd disadvantage: the PAC dryer must be installed in a room that is not too cold

In fact, a heat pump is a system that takes its energy from the ambient air in the room. Therefore, in order for everything to work properly and to consume as little energy as possible (maximizing the COP or coefficient of performance), it is in your best interest not to operate the heat pump dryer in a frost-free room but rather in a room with a pleasant temperature of at least 18-20°C. Otherwise, the COP is poor, more electricity is consumed, and the drying process is not carried out properly.

In addition, it is important to avoid sudden changes in room temperature.

In short, it is a small inconvenience: it will suffice to put it in a bathroom, or a laundry room at the right temperature, but not too much in the cellar if it is not heated, or in the garage. Depending on the configuration of your home, this can be annoying.

4th disadvantage: It is better to sort the laundry before putting it in the dryer

Gone are the days of throwing all kinds of clothes into the drum of your dryer. Why? Because mixing different textile fibers can confuse the detection system and cause the program to stop too soon.

You end up with a still wet laundry. Consequence: you will start a new drying cycle if you are lazy (and hang the laundry the old way if you are brave). In the first case, you ruin all the supposed savings due to the heat pump, since you run it twice as long or almost. In the second case (clotheshorse) you feel like you've made a useless purchase and that's unpleasant.

This is often the main reason why many heat pump dryer users complain that their clothes are too damp when they come out and leave negative comments. In fact, it's not easy to get used to a heat pump dryer if you've never had one before, and you have to get used to these new constraints and make them a habit.

5th disadvantage: The heat pump dryer requires a little more maintenance

Yes, you now have a heat pump at home and it is quite fragile if you are not careful. There are 3 things you need to know:

  1. Clean the lint filter after each use: it's a question of hygiene, but sometimes we forget or we don't want to. And if the lint gets stuck in the refrigerator circuit and clogs up an element, it will prevent the good air circulation and therefore the good functioning of the PAC and consequently the good quality drying.
  2. Clean the evaporator filter every two weeks or according to the manufacturer's instructions: otherwise the consequences are the same as above: this requires a little more discipline.
  3. At regular intervals but still long enough (every year for example) check that the refrigerator circuit is not clogged on an element like the condenser or the evaporator. Otherwise it's the same, the drying is not good.

6th disadvantage: Beware of the load on the heat pump tumble dryer

Indeed, it will not be necessary to load the drum too much. If it is given for 8kg, load 8kg as far as possible +/- 10% at sight (you will be used to it). If you load 10kg for example, it is too much. The drum will not be able to stir the laundry properly and it will not dry properly (this is not forgivable with this type of dryer because you don't have an ultra powerful resistance that heats up very well to make up for the mistake).

You should not underload the drum either. The risk is that the detection sensor will not be triggered and the program will be stopped before it is completely dry. Your laundry will then be damp.

7th disadvantage: The heat pump system is still subject to leakage

If your machine takes a beating, or if you skip regular maintenance as required by the manufacturer for a while, then it could cost you time and money.

If a refrigerant leak occurs, unless you are a refrigeration specialist, it will be difficult to detect and repair. You will simply find that the heat pump dryer no longer works. And repairing a refrigerant circuit requires refrigeration skills that are expensive, and could simply ruin any savings over several years.

In conclusion:

The heat pump dryer is a system that offers the advantage of savings on the electricity bill as well as the moral happiness of working for a greener world (although a clothesline and elbow grease would probably be much more so in reality). However, there are two major drawbacks:

a) Drying can take twice as long, or even longer, especially if you don't know how to sort your clothes (or if you don't want to)

b) It will be necessary to pay more attention to the maintenance and to show a minimum of discipline to take care of it. But this is within everyone's reach.

The cost is not really a problem since it will be profitable if we overcome the two disadvantages listed above.