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:
You can verify how the data was collected by looking at my video documentation of run 2 and run 3:
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?