How Does a Gas Dryer Work?

Every time washing clothes finishes, we need to dry them. Some prefer an electric dryer while others prefer using a gas dryer. In this post, we are going to explain how exactly a gas dryer works?

gas dryer - how it works
Gas dryer

In general, a dryer has a rotating drum, and a heating element plus a blower to circulate hot air. The rotating drum works in a way that it’s tumbling the clothing to evenly remove moisture from the clothes. Besides the electric motor, to rotate a clothes drum, inside a gas dryer we also have a blower electric motor. The highest energy consumer is the heater. Usually, we have electric and gas dryers. Inside the gas dryer, heat is produced by an open flame inside the burning chamber. This is the most obvious difference between electric and gas dryers. By using natural gas, or propane, we have an energy-saving clothes dryer. Yes, a gas dryer still needs electricity to operate (rotate clothes drum and rotate a blower). However, the consumption of electric energy is significantly reduced compared to the electric dryers.

A gas dryer uses a burner assembly, and using natural gas or propane, reduces costs. When you start the dryer, the igniter heats up, and gas is released which is then lit by the glowing hot igniter. The burning jet of gas keeps hot air that circulates through the clothing drum.

All the electronics inside keep the operation of the clothes dryer to dry your clothes.

NOTE: These are the basics of how a gas dryer works. We have explained only the basics of gas dryers and the differences between electric and gas dryer designs.

In this YouTube video, you can see a detailed explanation of a gas dryer design and how it actually operates.

How a Gas Clothes Dryer Produces Heat?

No matter if it is an electric or a gas dryer, it needs heat to operate. In this example, we are talking about a gas dryer. We are going to explain how a gas dryer works, and why it is more energy-efficient than an electric dryer.

Gas dryer heat element
Heat element

Natural gas or propane gas dryers depend upon a pilot light. A pilot light ignites the gas, creating heat. The hot air circulates through the metal plates into the clothing drum.

While gas is used to create heat, all gas dryers also require electricity to power other components of the dryer. Electricity is needed for clothe drum motor, a blower motor, and an electric programmer.

A gas dryer uses a burner assembly which is comprised of a control valve, a gas jet, an igniter, and a sensor.

Once you start a dryer, the igniter heats up, when the sensor detects the heat, it signals the solenoid on the control valve to open and release the gas which is then lit by the glowing hot igniter. The igniter turns off but the gas jet remains open.

The burning jet of gas keeps the sensor warm which keeps the gas valve open, until the thermostat signals the control valve to stop the flow of gas.

How a Clothes Dryer Circulates Air?

Proper air circulation is essential to efficient clothes drying. The amount of time it takes clothes to dry is largely related to the flow of air through the clothes drum. Optimal airflow gives you the best results. Hot air is drawn into the dryer through openings and it is distributed evenly into the drum. Hot air draws the moisture from the clothing.

The whole time of drying hot air is continuously drawn in during the drying cycle in all vented dryers. As the moisture-laden air is forced out of the dryer into a duct that should be vented to the outside of the home.

How Clothes Dryer Tumbles Clothes?

tumbling clothes
Tumbles clothes

The dryer drum is designed similar to the washing drum, specially made to move and tumble the clothes. Without the tumbling motion, the clothes would lie in a huge pile, making air circulation nearly impossible. Mostly dryer drums are turned by a simple pulley system powered by an electric motor. This electric motor hasn’t such a big power demand.

By tumbling clothes a dryer is more efficient and clothe is dried evenly.

The electric motor turns the drum and also turns a fan (the blower). The airflow from the blower passes over a heating element (through a gas jet in a gas dryer).

The air then passes through the drum and out the back of the dryer through ducts to the vent, typically located outdoors.


A gas dryer works similarly to an electric dryer with a major difference with the heating element. While an electric dryer uses electricity to heat air, a gas dryer uses propane or natural gas. The heating element is the highest energy consumer, and by using natural gas instead of electricity you can save a significant amount on monthly basis.