The quest for a dryer

Who knew drying my underwear was going to be such an undertaking!

My laundry sob story of late elicited a response from my parents and Brother DIY — they’re coming to Chicago in 10 days to save me from ever having to do my laundry outside my walls again. Yipee! I can almost smell the dryer sheets.

But sharing a structure with 20 other people is complicating my life slightly. Beyond the obvious things like noise and 3 flights of stairs to get to my front door, certain decisions are reserved for the Condo Board. Namely whether I can put a hole in the wall for a dryer vent.

It appears I will have to make cookies as a bribe. Or agree to be the association president in the upcoming elections (I was already propositioned this evening).

Tonight I called the association president (my neighbor downstairs) to ask what other folks have done in their units. He wasn’t super helpful, but since I’d already scoped out the building and not found one single dryer vent, I believed him when he told me everyone had ventless dryers running off 110.

So once again I turned to Google to see if I was missing something obvious about magical ventless dryers. After an hour of searching, I’ve concluded that I had it right the first time — now it’s just a matter of figuring out what trade-off I want to pursue.

The current plan is to tap into my gas line behind the range, run it behind the cupboards, through the bathroom (in the crevice in the bathtub wall), and into the “laundry” closet. Then we have to put in an outlet for the washer and a hole in the wall for a vent.

The problem with this is that it’s going to tear things up a fair amount, still require a licensed handyman of sorts to install the gas line, materials costs, blah, blah, blah. But I would have a powerful dryer that would do the job in less than 30 minutes.

The alternative is a combo washer/dryer, which runs off 110 and dries through condensing the water vapor and sending it out through the water pipes. The drawback is that it takes a long time to dry, and you can only do one load at a time.

There are a couple LG ones on the market — a 15-lb and a 22-lb. They’re pricey ($1500-1800, depending on size), but considering I wouldn’t have to do much jiggering with my place to get it to work, it probably would come out cheaper in the end.


There’s a perfect solution out there, but isn’t on the market in the U.S. yet. It’s a heat pump dryer, which passes the hot, humid air from the tumbler through a heat pump where the cold side condenses the water vapor into a drain pipe. So not only does the dryer avoid needing a vent, but it also conserves much of its heat within the dryer — allegedly leading to shorter drying times than traditional dryers.

The fact of the matter is that I do about 6-8 loads a month. Hardly an overwhelming laundry problem! But to mom’s point, I should have this figured out if I ever want to sell my place, and why not enjoy it now?

Advice welcome.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Inez Wells said,

    Thank for making this valuable information available to the public.

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