Combo Washer Dryer

ventless dryer


A combo washer dryer (also known more simply as a washer-dryer in the UK) is a combination in a single cabinet of a washing machine and a clothes dryer. It should not be confused with a ‘stackable’ combination of a separate washing machine and a separate clothes dryer.

While combo washer dryers are not as effective and efficient as full-sized, fully functional, separate washer and dryer machines, they are useful in smaller urban properties as they only need half the amount of space and most don’t require an external air vent (water vapor is condensed from moist air and flushed out the drain hose). Additionally, combination washer dryers allow clothes to be washed and dried ‘in one go,’ saving time and effort from the user. Many units are also designed to be portable so they can be attached to a sink instead of requiring a separate water line.

In the late 18th century, the first type of dryer technology was introduced with a simple, hand-operated machine called a mangle wringer. This machine consisted of rollers and cranks so that the operator would insert the garments on one side and crank it through the tightly-compressed rollers, wringing much of the water and soap from the garments. During the 18th century, wringers and manglers were a separate machine from the washing machine. It was not until the mid-19th century when the first wringer/washer combo was patented and developed, with the wringer sitting atop the washing drum. This invention allowed for convenience and ease of use. Because the wringer sat on top of the washing drum, the water wrung from the garments would fall straight into the tub to be reused for the next batch of garments.

Another simple yet ingenious innovation in the history of dryers came about before the turn of 19th century. Designed by a French man named Poncho in 1799, this early dryer was was referred to as the ventilator, because it allowed the clothes to vent out and dry completely. The ventilator was a metal drum that had holes along its sides. The drum was usually hand-turned over an open fire, allowing the clothes to dry much faster than simply wringing and air-drying. Essentially, this ventilator design was the main idea behind most dryer machine designs up to the late-19th century, when attention started to turn toward using stoves to dry the clothes.

Finally, in the 20th century, the invention of electrical drying machines made these ventilator-type machines obsolete. Aside from the early wringer/washer machine of the mid-19th century, washing and drying machines were not combined until the fully electronic versions of the machines were better perfected in the latter half of the 20th century. Shortly after the very first completely automatic clothes washer was developed by General Electric in 1947, the same company also invented the first washer dryer combination unit in 1954.

Because most combo units are ventless they employ a different drying system than ordinary stand-alone (vented) dryers. Instead of venting hot air outside, like a conventional dryer would, the combo unit makes use of condensation similarly to condenser dryers. Hot air enters the drum from either the front or the rear and evaporates some of the moisture from the tumbling clothing. This warm, damp air is then drawn through a condensing chamber. Typically in separate-condenser dryers, cool air is used to cool down the process air from the inside drum and to condense the vapor. In combined washer dryer units, however, cold water is used instead. The water flows in the opposite direction to the air, allowing the air to cool and to release its moisture, which is pumped out along with the water used to cool the air.

These machines normally take longer than regular dryers, because the combo unit has a smaller drum, so there is less volume to allow air circulation and the drum itself must be dried immediately after a wash cycle . This water-fed drying system is not particularly environmentally friendly, as water is required for both the washing and drying phases of the program. In 2013 Beko produced a washer dryer using ‘Air Cool’ technology. Rather than using water to cool the condenser, this process uses air drawn from outside the machine via a vent in the front panel. ‘Air Cool’ technology allegedly saves the user from wasting up to 95 bath-tub-fulls of water per year.


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