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Gas Dryer | Does It Need a Gas Line? (Not Always)

If you don’t have a gas line, it’s easy to immediately limit your options to electric, particularly when it comes to larger appliances like dryers. Gas dryers have many benefits, so you might be happy to hear that no gas line doesn’t mean you can’t have a gas dryer.

Even large propane tanks require gas lines to be run between the tank (located a certain distance from the house) and the house. You can run a gas dryer on a portable propane tank under certain conditions, but there are pros and cons to this choice.

While most gas dryers are typically connected to a permanent gas line for fuel, it is possible to run a gas dryer off of a portable propane tank. However, the proper equipment and conversion kit must be used, the tank must be large enough, and local codes and regulations must be complied with.

Conditionally Run Dryer off Portable Propane Tank

As you cannot run your gas dryer without gas, you will need to start by converting the dryer to run off of propane. Typically, this is done to allow a hook-up to a large propane tank. However, it can also allow you to connect the dryer to a portable gas tank.

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For this setup to be viable, there are three main conditions that need to be met:

  1. You will need to check your local codes to see if it is allowable.
  2. You will need to use a conversion kit to connect the tank to your dryer.
  3. You will need a large enough tank.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

1. Must Be Allowable by Local Codes

It is very important to consult with your local building department and a qualified professional when installing a gas dryer or converting it to run on propane. It is particularly important if you plan to run it from a portable propane tank, as this is a much less common setup.

The reason you must consult these sources and authorities is to ensure that your installation meets all the safety and compliance requirements set by the International Residential Code (IRC) and any other local codes and regulations.

Check with your local building department. They will be able to provide you with information on the specific codes and regulations that apply to your area, including any permits or inspections that are required. 

A licensed plumber or gas technician will have the knowledge and experience to properly install and convert your gas dryer to propane. They will also be able to ensure that the installation meets all the safety and compliance requirements set out by the IRC and any other local codes and regulations. 

A qualified professional can also provide you with the necessary documentation, such as the inspection and testing report, compliance certificate, and warranty card, if applicable.

It’s important to comply with these regulations to prevent any potential safety hazards like gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, or fire that may occur due to improper installation or conversion, not to mention the fines and insurance penalties that can be incurred.

2. You Must Use a Gas Regulator

All gas dryers on the market run off natural gas. Luckily, you can convert most gas dryers to use propane with a simple conversion kit. These, however, don’t always come with the dryer, and you will need to purchase one.

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Propane is stored as a liquid in tanks and is dispensed as a gas. The pressure of the propane gas coming out of the tank is higher than that of natural gas. To ensure your dryer gets the correct pressure of gas, you will need the gas regulator.

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If you don’t use a regulator with your gas dryer, the propane can flow into your dryer at a pressure that is too high for the dryer to handle. This can result in the burner flame being too large, which can cause overheating, poor combustion, and even a fire or explosion.

A gas regulator reduces the pressure of the propane gas to a safe and consistent level that is suitable for your dryer, preventing these potential hazards. The regulator also acts as a safety valve and will shut off the flow of gas if the pressure exceeds the safe limit. 

Even though gas dryers use the same fittings, different dryers have different specifications, such as the type of gas connection, the type of gas valve, and the BTU (British Thermal Units) rating. Unfortunately, this means you will need to purchase a conversion kit specific to your make and model of dryer

The regulator you get in your conversion kit will work for all propane tanks, even a portable one. You will simply need to purchase pipe connectors to connect the portable tank to your gas inlet on your dryer.

3. The Tank Must Be Large Enough

The amount of propane gas that a dryer uses per load will depend on several factors, including the size of the dryer, the efficiency of the appliance, and the length of the drying cycle. 

On average, a standard gas dryer will use between 20,000 and 22,000 BTUs per hour, which equates to approximately 1 pound of gas per hour.

Given that a typical load of laundry takes around 45 minutes to dry, this would mean that a gas dryer would use 0.75 pounds of gas per load. 

The average American does 5 loads of laundry a week. So, if you were to only have enough propane gas to dry 5 loads of laundry, you would need a tank that can hold at least 3.75 pounds of propane. 

In general, it is always a good idea to have a larger propane tank than the minimum required, as this will provide a more convenient and reliable source of fuel for your gas dryer.

An average 20-pound gas tank would last you approximately 5 weeks. However, this is just an estimate, and the actual amount of gas used will depend on the specific details of your dryer and the drying cycle.

An average 20-pound gas tank would last you approximately 5 weeks

Pros of Using a Portable Propane Tank

  • Flexibility and portability: You can use the dryer anywhere there’s a propane tank, making it ideal for rooms/areas without a gas line or for those who live in areas without a natural gas supply.
  • Energy efficiency: Propane is more energy efficient than natural gas and has a high energy content, which means that it releases a lot of heat when it burns. This means that your clothes will dry more quickly, which can save you time and money on your energy bills.
  • Environmentally friendly: Propane releases less carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other harmful pollutants than natural gas, which makes it a cleaner burning fuel.
  • Safer: Propane tank explosions are less likely to occur, and if they do, the impact is less severe since propane tanks are not connected to widespread gas lines. 

Cons of Using a Portable Propane Tank

  • Cost: Portable propane tanks are typically more expensive than natural gas, and the cost of refilling them can add up over time.
  • Convenience: Propane tanks require regular refilling, which can be inconvenient and may require you to make an extra trip to the supplier.
  • Safety: Even though they are considered safer than natural gas, they still pose some risks. They must be properly stored and maintained to prevent leaks or explosions.
  • Limited Capacity: Portable propane tanks have limited storage capacity and may run out. Making it inconvenient if you don’t have a backup and you were in the middle of a dry cycle.
  • Weather Dependence: Portable propane tanks may not work as well in extreme temperatures and may freeze or become less effective in cold weather.


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