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Wood-Fired Clothes Dryer
Matt Studer, Bloomville, Ohio, recently sent FARM SHOW photos of how he uses an outdoor wood burning stove to provide heat to an electric clothes dryer.
  “The only electricity I use now is for a 1/10 hp motor that operates a heat exchanger, and the motor that turns the drum,” says Studer. “We made the conversion last January and have used it to dry our clothes since.”
  Here’s how he went about making the conversion.
  “A few years ago I installed an outdoor wood burning stove. I built a 12 by 14-in. plenum out of 24-ga. steel and mounted it on the side of the dryer. Two heat exchanchanger units, connected in series, attach to the plenum. I used standard floor register duct fittings to connect the plenum to the dryer’s air intake duct. I removed the existing heating element but didn’t change anything else on the dryer. I wanted the dryer to run like it would have if the heating element was still providing the heat.”
  The heat exchanger produces 50,000 btu’s at 700 cfm’s with a 180-degree water temperature from the outdoor stove. “It takes a little longer to dry clothes than it did before, but since I’m not running a 220-volt heating element, I’m saving on electric costs,” says Studer. “I figure the cost of electricity will probably continue to go up, so I look for substantial savings for years to come.
  “I installed a pump and wired it to the motor leads so it will run whenever the dryer motor runs. I also installed two ball valves so that no hot water circulates when the dryer isn’t being used.”   
  Studer runs his wood stove all year long, since he also uses it to heat the hot water in his house. He installed a “double pass” heat exchanger next to the hot water heater. “The heat exchanger consists of copper tubes, one inside the other. The inner tube carries water from the hot water heater, and hot water from the stove runs through the outer tube,” says Studer. “Last fall I shut off the electricity to the heating element inside the hot water tank, and I haven’t had to turn it on since.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Matt Studer, 3939 Orr Rd., Bloomville, Ohio 44818 (ph 419 544-6275; kensstandingseamroofs@gmail.com).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #3