The average clothes dryer, gas or electric, has an average life span of about 18 years. Over this period of time, you can expect to spend about $1,530 on energy to operate it, states the California Energy Commission’s website. On average, your dryer will cost you about $85 to run per year, and more depending on your usage.
Gas vs. Electric
Gas and electric dryers work virtually the same. Their main difference is how they heat. A gas clothes dryer uses gas to fuel a flame that heats a metal heat-supplying coil, whereas the metal coil is energized solely by electricity on an electric dryer. Both dryers use nearly the same amount of electricity to power their drums and tumble clothes; the main difference is the amount of electricity used for heat. You’ll spend about half as much per laundry load operating a gas dryer than you’ll spend on an electric one: 15 to 20 cents versus 30 to 40 cents, respectively, notes the California Energy Commission’s website.
Estimated Monthly Cost Differences
While gas and electricity costs can vary based on the region of the United States (U.S.) where you live and your power suppliers, you can estimate the average cost to use a gas and electric dryer for general price comparison purposes. For a single 45 minute drying cycle and assuming it cost 15 cents per kilowatt (kwh) of electricity and $1.25 per gas therm, you can expect to spend about 31 cents to operate a gas dryer, and 50 cents to run an electric dryer. Since the average household dries about 30 laundry loads per month, you’ll pay $9.30 per month for a gas dryer and $15 for an electric for an estimated difference of just less than $6 or about 62 percent less per month.
A gas dryer requires that you have a gas hook-up already in your laundry room. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to get one installed, which can be costly if your home isn’t already configured for gas and have a gas line. However, a gas dryer requires only a standard 120-volt electrical outlet to run. Conversely, an electric dryer requires a special electrical outlet. It uses about 240-volts of power--twice as much as a gas dryer. In certain cases, you might need to upgrade your standard outlet to one that can accommodate an electric dryer, otherwise you risk electrical shock.