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How to avoid overloading your dryer

Your dryer consumes more energy per-use than any of your other appliances. So to be more energy efficient, you might think the best thing to do is cram as much laundry into it every time you use it.

Sadly, not. Overloading your dryer actually has the opposite effect. Here’s what you’ll notice if you do:

  • More lint: If you’re drying more clothes, you’ll get more lint. It builds up in the lint trap, reducing air flow so your laundry takes longer to dry. Too much lint can also cause a fire hazard.

  • Damaged dryer: An overloaded dryer has to work extra hard to get everything dry. This overheats the motor and strains the other components. Sooner or later, something will fail.

  • Bigger energy bills: If your dryer has to work harder and longer to get your laundry dry, it’ll use a lot more electricity than a properly loaded dryer.

How to tell if you’ve overloaded your dryer

There are a few ways your dryer will let you know if you’ve overloaded it:

  • Before you dry: If the drum doesn’t turn when you press the start button, then you’ve definitely overloaded it.

  • While you dry: An overloaded dryer will shake and strain (or squeak!) while it’s running

  • After you dry: You should empty your lint trap every time you use your dryer. If it’s packed full of lint at the end of each use, then you know you’re putting too much laundry in.

What’s the right amount of laundry?

Obviously, your dryer is not going to be efficient running tiny loads either, so what’s the right amount?

  • A small load is about a quarter full.

  • A medium load is about half full.

  • A large load is about three quarters full.

Three quarters full is the most you should ever load your dryer. Make sure that the clothes in there can all freely move around and of course, whenever possible, try to hang dry your laundry instead.

The impact of switching from

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* This tool is for illustrative purposes. BC Hydro cannot guarantee the exact cost amounts, actual savings, or the rates for energy sources referenced in the application. This is meant to supplement, not to replace, individual research when considering the purchase of household appliances or lighting.