Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dryer balls save no energy

I stopped by Elkjøp in Sandvika and met this sign on my way to the cash register.


"Save energy, 25%, save money". This caught my interest, since I am always looking for ways to save energy. My first thought was that this is too good to be true. At the cash register I asked if they had some sort of proof that Dryer balls actually work, if not I would consider this being fraud. He told me to wait, and then left. After 10 minutes I had to go. I saw several customers buying Dryer balls at kr 199,- ($ 28) while waiting. Walking home I got really mad, and decided to get to the bottom of this. The day after I was back and bought my set of Dryer balls. The next morning I put it to the test.


In my test I used our normal family load of some towels, pants, T-shirts, underwear and socks. After washing and spin drying it, I used a digital scale to record the exact weight of the clothes. Then I threw them all in the dryer and set it on "cupboard dry". When the dryer stopped I measured the weight again. The difference is exactly the water removed, or how much drier the clothes are. The other part was to find the energy used. A plug in energy meter ( http://www.clasohlson.no/ 36-2897 ) on the power cord of the dryer makes this task very easy. So I recorded the kWh used, and also room temperature, humidity, and the time for the dryer to finish. This I did first with no Dryer balls and then with Dryer balls. And then I repeated all this one more time for a total of 4 runs.


By dividing the energy used by the liter of water removed from the clothes, we get a number that can easy be compared. My four runs show results between 1.29 and 1.35 kWh needed to remove one liter of water. The average for the use of Dryer balls was 1.31 kWh/l and without was 1.32kWh/l. This is less than 1% difference, and a very clear conclusion that DRYER BALLS SAVE NO ENERGY.


On the http://www.dryerballs.com/ they say that : "The 25% saving in electricity every time you use the dryerballs® in your drying machine is another terrific reason why dryerballs® is a winner for you and the environment, saving you money and substantially reducing energy consumption." The company backs this with a test report: "dryerballs® have been scientifically tested to ISO standards at an independent, fabric care laboratory". Robin Green at http://www.green-energy-efficient-homes.com/dryer-balls-review.html have managed to get hold of what is supposed to be this test report. You can read his review of it. In my opinion, it clearly indicates that there has never been any case with a possible 25% energy saving.


I have also tried to contact Dryer balls on all three info E-mail address I have found. The E-mails all get back with a "recipient failed permanently" message.



I give to you all the details in the tests I have performed. You will find the full recording of my test data here:


http://www.itec.no/svein/dryertest.pdf
You can verify how the data was collected by looking at my video documentation of run 2 and run 3:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7711913355735063353
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3689334162010114221

In March 2009 I will spend some time publishing my testresults, and contacting companies still selling Dryer balls. This product needs to be taken off the shelves!





I will visit Elkjøp again. They have a 30 day money back warranty, so I know I will get my money back. The challenge will be to have them remove it from the shelves.


Whereever you have bought your Dryer balls, take them back. Refer to this blog and ask for a full refund. If they do not give you a refund, go shop somewhere else.



In April the Norwegian Consumer TV Report program "FBI" got interested in dryer balls and made this TV program based on my test (Norwegian): http://www1.nrk.no/nett-tv/indeks/166310

and this article (also in Norwegian) http://www.nrk.no/programmer/tv/fbi/1.6548305 The conclusion was that Elkjøp now is giving everyone a full refund with or without a receipt. But they are still selling the product...


Summary in Norwegian:

Mars 2009: Elkjøp i Sandvika selger Dryer balls som jeg har testet meget nøye. De sparer overhode ikke noe strøm. Har du kjøpt noen så bør du gå tilbake og kreve kjøpe hevet basert på villedende reklame. Henvis til denne bloggen. Firmaet Enklere liv selger nå også " Tørkeballer - sparer deg og miljøet ". Etter det jeg kan se av bildet i deres helsides annonser i Budstkka og Aftenposten, så er dette samme produkt som Elkjøp selger.



April 2009: NRK Forbrukerinspektørene blir interessert i saken og sender "Tørkeballer fungerer ikke!" Se på nett-tv http://www1.nrk.no/nett-tv/indeks/166310 eller les artikkelen på http://www.nrk.no/programmer/tv/fbi/1.6548305 . Lefdal og Elkjøp selger ikke lengre tørkeballer på nettet. Mange andre aktører har imidlertid kastet seg inn i et forsøk på å tjene noen penger. Ikke rart, når man kan kjøpe dryer balls i Kina for $0,66 (ved kjøp av 1000 stk + frakt) så man kan jo si at marginene gode. Imidlertid ser det ut til at salget går tregt, da prisene stuper. I utlandet får du nå nesten kastet dryer balls etter deg.

August 2009: Elkjøp selger igjen tørkeballer på nettet. De skryter fortsatt av opptil 25% energi besparelse. Andre steder har dempet ned dette med energi besparelse, og selger de mest som erstatning til tøymyknere. Det er helt klart markedskreftene som regjerer. Sløve konsumenter som ikke gidder klage på produkter som ikke virker gjør at Elkjøp kan profitere videre på tørkeballer.

Juni 2010: Det er ikke til å tro. I en liten slagskurv i hvitvare avdelingen selger de fortsatt trøkeballer. Innpakningen på dem så litt slitt ut. Mon tro om det er her de selger videre tørkeballer som kunder har returnert?

Februar 2013: Elkjøp fortsetter å svindle forbrukeren med tørkeballer. Nå  i grønn farge. Klart et tilfelle av hva man kaller å grønnvaske et produkt.

13 comments:

Russ said...

Love it there are too many so called 'green' things around that are only shyster work.

The blogs on very many sites are written by people who have no idea of the topic at all and try to get people excited about fantasy.

Please keep it up.

Best Regards,
Russ Bailey

Anonymous said...

Jeg forstå ikke helt hvordan du har foretatt testen og hvordan du kan konkludere at dryerballs ikke reduserer tørketiden. Kan man i det hele tatt foreta en valid test hjemme på den måten du gjør det? Men uansett. Jeg har selv kjøpt dryerballs, og kan ikke stille opp med noen vitenskapelige beviser, men i praksis merker jeg stor forskjell på tørketiden. Jeg har små barn i huset og vasker og tørker mange maskiner med klær hver uke. Når jeg vasker og tørker flere maskiner etter hverandre pleide det å være sånn at vaskemaskinen ble ferdig før tørketrommelen, så jeg måtte vente på at den ble ferdig for å komme videre. Etter at jeg fikk dryerballs er det omvendt – nå er tørketrommelen ferdig før vaskemaskinen! Jeg fornemmer at det er tale om 15-20 minutter forskjell, og med en tørketid på ca. 90 minutter er det 15-20% kortere tid. Jeg kan ikke forstå annet enn at dryerballs reduserer tørketiden og forstår ikke helt resultatet av testen din. Jeg er nå i hvert fall glad for mine dryerballs!

Småbarnsmor

Svein* said...

Hei Småbarnsmor,

Det er aldri hyggelig å måtte innrømme at man har blitt lurt, så jeg kan skjønne at du er litt opprømt.

Det går utmerket godt an å gjøre en test hjemme. Hvis du er interessert i å få fakta på bordet, så er jeg sikker på at du kan gjøre en test selv. Du skal sammenligne tørketid med og uten Dryer balls. Da er det viktig at det kun er ballene som er forskjellen når du tester, alt annet må være så likt som mulig. Velg en passe mengde med test tøy, vask og sentrifuger denne. Kjør deretter i tørketromelen og noter ned tiden den bruker(antar du har elektronisk tørketrommel). Så gjør du det samme med Dryer balls. Dette burde være nok til å gi deg en indikasjon på om det er 0% spart energi eller 25% spart energi som er riktig. Skal du ha det mer presist så må du hente kjøkkenvekten og veie alle klærne før du legger i tørketrommelen og etter du tar dem ut. Forskjellen er hvor mye tørrere de har blitt, så må du sammenligne det med tiden brukt. Tid brukt og energi brukt henger nok godt sammen, men skal du være helt sikker må du bruke en energimåler. Hvis du kontakter meg på mail, så skal jeg gjerne hjelpe deg hvis du er interessert. Du kan også få låne en energimåler.

Beklager om det kan oppleves som om det er mye detaljer i min test, men det er nødt til å være nok informasjon til at andre skal kunne gjenta min test og verifisere det jeg har gjort. Kun da kan det ansees som en vitenskapelig test.

Christian said...

Hei!
Hvordan stiller du deg til varmepumper? Vurderer en Fujitsu Arctic versjon. Den er testet på -7grader og ikke +7grader som alle andre. Med et støynivå på 22decibel kan den ikke være så sjenerende heller. Har vært i et par hus med varmepumper, og de er meget fornøyde. Eneste er prisen....

Filipp said...

Thanks for the report! And what about balls' other qualities: how do they soften the fabric? How effective they are?
Thanks.

Chirs said...

It works.

www.gp.se/gp/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=478&a=403353

You can´t measure like you do.
Time-saving!

Svein* said...

Hi Fillip,

My interest is only considering if the product will save any energy. It does not. Adding softner to the dryer does not make sense to me. The clothes are fine to me out of the drier with out adding anything. In this world we need to reduce our over all consumption. Softner and dryer balls are products that we do not need.

Svein*

Svein* said...

Hi Chirs,

I have previouly written to the journalist at GP and asked her to change her article, but gotten no response. It looks like she did one load with and one load without dryer balls. That is not enough to get a trust worthy result. If you look at my test data, I could have come up with a similar result if I only trusted my two first measurements using the time. The humidity sensor of the dryer is not exact enough to be used for precise measurements. It is really sad when journalists try to test something, and just do it half way. There are many Swedish sites that sell dryer balls and use this GP test as a proof that it works. But dryer balls save no energy!

Svein*

Knut said...

Må si meg enig med deg her Svein, dette produktet lover mer enn det kan holde.
Etter min erfaring blir ikke tiden pr tørk redusert, men det som irriterer meg mest er slitasjen på tøyet. Å bruke disse ved hver tørk ødelegger rett og slett tøyet.
Anbefaler alle å gå tilbake til Elkjøp å få pengene tilbake.

Knut

ecoSAFE said...

I have received your email and read your blog entry. I must say that your disbelief in a company's claim and inability to contact them does not prove the claims you are trying to disprove.

In our independent testing, occurring in a 6 month case study, we did indeed find (using scientific method overseen by a PHD scientist) that the dryer balls we tested - specifically True Green brand - DID indeed result in a 10 minute average reduction in dry time. Although variables, such as types of fabric and machine used, may result in differing results - we stand behind our results that the dryer balls DID prove effective in our tests at ecoSAFE.

We are denying your request to remove our study posting from our website. It is valid.

Svein* said...

Dear EcoSafe,

I welcome you to send me your case study. To be truly scientific it must be available, and the tests must be described in such a way that it can be repeated with the same result by someone else.

I did get the test report from Dryer balls. In my blog post there is a link to Robin Green that comments on it.

CB said...

Hi, thanks so much for your great blog. I'm all for scientific proof rather than terrible unsubstantiated claims. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

I came across your dryer ball article because the posters on my cloth diapering board SWEAR by them for cutting down the time for cloth diapers in the dryer, and the elimination of static and use of chemicals to keep the diapers soft.

Of course we are trying to be environmentally cost conscious, and some of us cannot have a clothes line.

However, the dryer balls they use are of pure 100% wool, wool rolled/knitted into balls, and use many of them. We do not believe in using plastics and other synthetic chemicals, so the balls you used in your study don't help me here.

Just a thought to maybe not discount ALL dryer balls--perhaps there is a chance 100% wool ones do work. Perhaps they don't. But it's worth a look-see. We are all paying a bit to buy these balls when not willing to spend the time making them ourselves.

Svein* said...

Dear CB,

I suggest you take a sock and roll it into a ball before starting your dryer. It makes a free dryer ball. Then you do not have to buy a wool dryer ball. Most likely it will be just as useful or useless as any other object you add to your dryer.

Svein*