Comparing energy use of old and new highly energy-efficient appliances
To replace or not to replace
Knowing exactly when to replace an appliance, especially one that is still working, can be difficult.
Unlike other domestic appliances, the average energy consumption of tumble dryers increased between 1990 and the mid-2000s .
Average energy consumption of tumble dryers compared to other appliances, 1990 – 2011
Since the introduction of EU legislation setting minimum efficiency thresholds, energy-efficiency improvements are being made. Further efficiency gains should be seen in the future as manufacturers aspire to produce models that qualify for the higher energy label classes.
Actual energy consumption can vary considerably from model to model. Which? calculated the annual energy costs for 68 tumble dryers and found that across these models, running cost varied between £39 and £131 per year. With such big differences in annual costs, it pays to invest in a highly energy-efficient model.
Monitoring the energy usage of your current appliance
You may find it useful to monitor the actual energy consumption of your tumble dryer. This can be done using a plug-in energy-usage meter. This is plugged into the socket and the appliance is plugged into the meter. Monitoring electricity usage for a month, or even a week, allows you to gain an idea of the annual consumption.
Bear in mind, you may use your tumble dryer more frequently at certain times of the year. So ensure you perform the test during a time that represents your typical usage.
The new EU Energy Label shows the average hourly electricity use of appliances, so you can easily find out how your tumble fares compared to a new model before committing to a purchase.
 Domestic energy consumption in the UK in 2012, DECC Factsheet, July 2012
 Which?, http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/laundry-and-cleaning/guides/tumble-dryer-energy-costs/, accessed December 2012