The initial cost of a dryer is often a bit overwhelming, but when you factor in the other expenses involved when running and installing a dryer, the overall price seems to soar. Despite this, the vast majority of first-world homes have these appliances.
The overall cost of a dryer greatly depends on if it is a gas, electric, or heat pump dryer. Not only should basic installation costs be accounted for, but other tasks, such as running gas lines or installing 240 V outlets, must be factored in.
Gas dryers that require a full, professional installation will cost almost double that of an electric dryer over their 13-year lifetime.
How Much Does It Cost to Purchase the Dryer?
When comparing the price of electric and gas dryers in a range of 7.0 to 7.4 cubic feet (the average capacity of standard dryers), the ranges and averages in price differ noticeably.
I compared three different brands for each type of dryer. I chose Samsung, Whirlpool, and LG Electronics for electric dryers and Samsung, Maytag, and LG Electronics for gas dryers.
I did not take outliers if the price was affected by additional features (steaming, sanitizing, etc.)
My findings for electric dryers show a range of $578-$798 and an average of $695.
For gas dryers, the range was $728-$898 and the average was $798.
On average, gas dryers are more expensive and have a narrower range in prices than electric dryers do.
Cost of Dryer Installation
There are many components involved when having to install a dryer, whether it is a gas or an electric dryer.
When a professional plumber is called to do the job for you, their rates are often within the range of $50-$100 per hour.
Since most dryer installations take about two hours, the average price to expect would be about $150.
Even if a professional plumber installs your dryer, there are other components that will need to be purchased beforehand.
Whether you are installing a gas or an electric dryer, you may also have to buy a power cord separately. A power cord for your dryer will cost around $25.
If you want to do this yourself rather than hire a professional, you can save some money, provided that you have the tools and materials necessary.
These tools and materials are listed in the table below.
|1¾ “ pliers||View|
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If you already own most of these tools or materials, the DIY dryer installation process is likely to be cheaper than hiring a professional.
However, if you need to purchase all of these tools and materials, the cost of installation will likely be around $150.
This is the same as the average cost for a professional installation.
For this reason, if you don’t have most of these tools, it would save you a lot of trouble just to pay a professional.
You would also have to consider if DIY installation is allowed and if the additional cost of getting the work signed off does not cause the total cost of the project to exceed the cost of hiring a professional.
This base cost of installation, with the possible additions of a power cord and a gas line, isn’t terribly expensive.
However, this is assuming your home is already fitted with ducts for a dryer.
Ducting is very necessary for both electric and gas dryers since it expels hot, moist air as well as lint that would otherwise gather in your home.
Gas dryer ducts also expel dangerous combustion byproducts, such as carbon monoxide.
When you hire a professional to install dryer ducting in your home, the cost can be between $140 and $275 with the average being about $200.
This average is higher than the installation cost of the dryer itself. This makes sense when you think about the invasiveness of running ducts through various closed-off parts of the house and punching a hole in the envelope.
It is also going to take longer than installing the dryer itself, but the professional will also be skilled, so you are paying for skilled labor.
Now, if you were to decide to do this on your own, the cost would likely be between $150 and $250. This comes to an average of, once again, $200.
In most places, installing your own ducting is legal as long as you check local guidelines about the required permits and inspections.
If permits and inspections are necessary in your place of residence, it is important to apply for a permit and fulfill the necessary inspection procedures.
For permits, the minimum cost, at least in most Wisconsin municipalities, is $65. For inspections, there is a $100 minimum.
I will factor both of these costs into my calculations.
It seems that, at least for dryer installation and associated projects, it is often worth it to pay a professional for the installation.
Laying Gas Lines or LP Tank
Another expensive project that can be associated with installing a dryer, specifically a gas one, is providing gas infrastructure on your property to allow for a gas dryer to run.
This is a project that requires hiring a professional because it deals with a highly-flammable gas as well as small-scale excavation of your property to lay the gas lines. DIY installation is not possible for these reasons so permit and inspection costs do not have to be factored in.
For natural gas, you are also hooking it up to municipal supplies, and they are not likely to allow people to just tap into these whenever and wherever.
Because of the complexity of this task, the hourly rates of pay are higher, from $45 to $200. Additionally, the homeowner must pay for the entire length of the gas line. Gas lines are usually priced at about $10 to $20 per foot.
All-in-all, the cost of laying new gas lines can run from $260 to $800, with the average being around $650.
These costs don’t even cover the installation of a propane tank on your property if that is the supply you choose and you don’t already have one.
To bury a 500-gallon propane tank, the cost will be about $2,350. This includes the $1,700 cost of the tank itself as well as the labor cost of around $650. Then you’d have to fill it, which is an outlay cost as opposed to a pay-as-you-use-it cost.
This makes the installation of gas lines as well as a propane tank is the most expensive portion of installing a gas dryer.
Installing a 240 V Outlet
Although it is definitely true that the process of installing a gas dryer can involve very expensive projects, electric dryers are not without their own potential for additional expenses either.
While a gas dryer uses a standard 120 V outlet, which should already be available somewhere in your laundry room or wherever you are installing your dryer, an electric dryer must have a 240 V outlet and a circuit that can handle at least 30 A.
If a 240 V outlet is not available in this area, one must be installed.
When you hire an electrician to install a 240 V outlet, this will most likely cost you between $40 and $120 per hour. The average of this would be $80, which would likely be the full cost since the job is likely to take about an hour.
It may not be advisable (or even legal) to do this project yourself since there is a definite risk of electrocution, but it is possible. Depending on local guidelines, a permit and inspection may be required. This would be an extra $165 minimum.
The outlet is likely to only cost $15.
With the costs of permit and inspection, though, the cost rises to $180 for DIY installation.
Although the outlet may only cost $15, the tools needed for the complicated installation are much more expensive. Tools and materials needed include nonconductive ladders (with a minimum cost of about $100), drop cloths, greenfield, and more.
With the estimated added cost of tools and materials (~$400), the cost of DIY installation of 240 V outlet rises to $580.
In this case, it would save money and time to rely on a professional to install a 240 V outlet.
An additional cost to consider is the possibility of an additional circuit needing to be installed in your breaker box if you do not have an open dedicated circuit.
Depending on your locality, this may or may not be legal to do yourself. Be sure to check your local guidelines.
If it does turn out to be legal, a permit and inspection are most likely required. The minimum cost of this would be $165.
For an additional circuit, the DIY cost comes out to be about $70 and the professional cost would be about $230.
The cost of professional installation would include necessary paperwork as well as supplies.
However, if another circuit cannot be installed in your breaker box, an entirely new breaker box may need to be installed.
Much like the installation of a new circuit, the legality of installing a new breaker box will depend on your local guidelines. Be sure to check these and apply and pay for the necessary permits.
For DIY breaker box installation, the cost will come out to be about $450 for the box and needed tools and supplies.
Professional installation of a new breaker box, including supplies, will likely come out to about $1,100.
Cost to Run the Dryers
The average family washes and dries eight loads of laundry per week. This is the number I will use for future calculations.
Eight loads of laundry per week means about 36 loads per month.
The electricity usage of a gas dryer comes out to be about 31 kW per month.
On average, the cost of electricity in the US is about 18 cents per kWh.
This means that for a month of 36 loads of laundry and 31 kW of energy, the total electricity cost will come to $5.58.
Compared to electric dryers, gas dryers surely use less electricity. However, to determine whether a gas dryer will really save you money, prices for gas must be included since gas dryers cannot function without both electricity and gas.
On average, a gas dryer will use between 0.20 and 0.25 therms per load. Using the midpoint, 0.225 therms, times the price per therm of gas (this number will vary by locality, but in the Midwest, one therm of gas costs $1.04) you get about 23 cents per load.
In one month, or 36 loads, the cost will come to $8.42.
The monthly cost of electricity is easy to disregard, but for a better understanding of dryer electricity costs, the cost of running a dryer for its entire lifetime can be examined.
On average, a gas dryer lasts about 13 years.
If the monthly electricity usage of a gas dryer is about 31 kW monthly, this equals 372 kW yearly.
For thirteen years, the energy usage comes out to 4,836 kW. The gas usage in 13 years comes out to about 1,264 therms.
The electricity costs for 13 years of running a dryer about 8 times a week come out to $870.48. The grand total comes out to $2,184.62 for both electricity and natural gas costs.
Regardless of dryer type, a dryer is used about 8 times a week. This holds true for a comparison between gas and electric dryers since the dryers chosen are approximately the same size.
The electricity usage for an electric dryer comes out to about 50 kW per month.
Using the US average electricity cost of 18 cents per kWh, the monthly cost of using an electric dryer comes out to be $9.
Although gas and electric dryers have fundamentally different clothes-drying processes, their average lifespans are pretty much the same: 13 years (however, in a survey we conducted, many people reported that their dryers lasted well over 12 years).
Electricity usage of 50 kW per month comes out to 600 kW yearly.
In 13 years, an electric dryer is likely to use around 7800 kW.
The cost to run an electric dryer through its entire lifespan would be around $1,404.
Although the differences between the electricity usage of a gas dryer versus an electric dryer seem minuscule when compared on a monthly scale, on the scale of a lifetime, the difference is very clear.
Gas vs Electric Dryer Cost: Table of Comparison
|Average purchase price||$798||$695|
|Cost of simple DIY installation||$205||$175|
|Cost of full DIY installation||$3,570||$1,570|
|Cost of simple professional installation||$205||$175|
|Cost of full professional installation||$3,405||$1,555|
|Monthly running cost||$14||$9|
|Lifetime running cost||$2,184.62||$1,404|
How Does a Heat Pump Dryer Compare?
Now we know how gas and electric dryers compare as far as the costs that occur through installation and 13 years of running.
However, a smaller, different kind of dryer, the heat pump dryer, can be included in these comparisons. It is the alternative when you want to go ventless, which is something many people are considering.
For better comparison, I will be using gas and electric dryers of 6.0 cubic feet in capacity or smaller since heat pumps are rarely larger than this (this is something worth noting).
Heat pump dryers do not use a ventilation system, so that cost is cut out. They can never be run on gas, which eliminates the potential cost of gas lines and tank. They do, however, require 240 V outlets.
A heat pump of 6.0 cubic feet in capacity uses about 54 kW per month.
A gas dryer of the same size uses about 20 kW per month.
An electric dryer of the same size uses about 115 kW per month.
The final piece of information needed to compare these three dryers is the lifespan of a heat pump dryer.
On average, a heat pump dryer lasts about 10 years.
|Average purchase price||$564||$659||$1,229|
|Cost of simple DIY installation||$205||$175||$175|
|Cost of full DIY installation||$3,570||$1,570||$1,040|
|Cost of simple professional installation||$205||$175||$175|
|Cost of full professional installation||$3,405||$1,555||$1,355|
|Monthly running cost||$14||$20.70||$9.72|
|Lifetime running cost||$2,184||$3,229.20||$1,166.40|