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Gas vs Electric Dryers

On April 26, 1962, I helped install a Belco 30 lb. Athletic Washer & Dryer in Sedgefield Middle School in Charlotte, NC. We replaced their 24 year old washer in 1986. The dryer was not replaced until February 1, 2004.

When I mentioned this fact to the principal, he did not seem too impressed. He stated, “This dryer has already proven its reliability… I’m more impressed knowing the fellow that carried the dryer in, is the same fellow that carried it out!” This dryer was in operation 41 Years 280 days. Why did this dryer last so long? Because it was a gas heated dryer and not electrically heated!

Gas dryers operate on 110 Volts/1 phase/20 Amp Service and plug into a regular wall socket. Electric dryers require 208 Volts/3 Phase/100 Amp Draw or 480 Volts/3 Phase/50 Amp Draw. Electric dryers use three times more energy to operate than gas models.

Electric dryers take 5+ Min. longer to dry than gas models. This makes the motor, fan, basket, drive bearings, V-belts, etc. turn more RPM, operate more hours and require repairs more frequently than gas models. Electric ovens have far more parts to wear out and replace, such as a 100 Amp contactor ($288), a transformer ($450) and six heating elements @$106 each … all of which are replaced periodically.

The extra expense of these parts, spur some schools to purchase a new dryer instead of making repairs. Gas ovens have a gas valve and two burner tubes which normally last the life of the dryer. Because gas dryers dry faster, have fewer parts and require less service, they have a 5-10 year longer life span than most electric dryers.

Over 80% of commercial dryers sold in the US are gas dryers. Schools that do not have natural gas, should use bottle gas (LP). A propane tank must be installed outside the building. Our 50 lb gas dryer burns about 100,000 Btu per hour for $1.10, compared to $3.41 per hour for an electric dryer. This is a savings of $2.31 per hour. A school dryer operating just 5 hours a day for 200 days equals 1000 hours a year. Multiply this by the 25 year life span of a dryer. This totals 25,000 Hrs @ $2.31 and equals a $57,750.00 savings for a gas heated dryer! When additional service calls & parts are added to the energy costs, electric dryers cost 3-4 times more to operate than the energy efficient, more reliable gas dryer.

Formula: One Kilowatt Hour (KWh) of Electricity : 0.1165 cents.

  • One Therm (100,000 BTU) converts to 29.3 KWh @ $0.1165 : $3.41 per Hour
  • One Therm (100,000 BTU) of Natural Gas . = -1.10 per Hour
  • Note: One Therm of Liquid Propane (Bottle Gas): $2.53 per Hr
  • Total Energy Savings for a Natural Gas Dryer . . . . . $2.31 per Hour

Note: Prices for gas & electricity are from US Dept. of Energy report 4/11/11. Total 25 Year savings was calculated with no adjustments for future price increases.  This savings does not include extra service calls & repair parts maintaining an electric dryer.


FACT: Natural Gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel with a smaller carbon footprint than most energy sources.

FACT: 90% of the energy produced through natural gas is delivered for use with natural gas appliances.

FACT: 30% of the primary energy involved in producing electricity is delivered for use with electrical appliances.

“Bottom Line” . . A Gas Dryer is a lean green money-saving machine!!!

– William N. Beall

How Long Will Belco Washers & Dryers Last?

Over the past 40 years, I’ve been asked about the life span of our Belco Athletic Washers and Dryers. For years we advertised, “The average life of our laundry equipment is 20+ years; however, it is not uncommon to find some washers & dryers over 30 years old.”

In 2004, we serviced a dryer at Sedgefield Middle School in Charlotte, that I personally helped carry into the school in 1962. I found it hard to believe this dryer lasted so long. The coach joked if we condemned his dryer, he could get a new one. The dryer was installed on 4/26/62 and was replaced on 2/1/04. Officially, this dryer was in operation 41 years 280 days and held the record as our oldest Belco machine… until recently.

Coach “E Z” Smith of Concord High School retired his 1967 Belco Washer in 2003, but declined our offer to sell him a new dryer. “No Sir!” exclaimed Coach Smith, “Our old dryer ain’t very pretty, but works just fine.” On 8/8/09, Coach Smith’s 1967 dryer turned 42 years old. He can now claim the record for having the oldest Belco machine still in operation. When the record was broken, we offered Coach Smith a brand new dryer for free. He declined stating, “Thanks for the offer, but I’ve never had a game uniform ruined in my old Belco dryer and I think we’ll keep it for right now.”

On 8/08/15 his dryer celebrated its 48th birthday and is still going strong!… and our offer still stands.

If routine preventive maintenance were performed on all Belco washers & dryers, most machines would last 30-40 years. Unfortunately, most School Maintenance Departments are understaffed and overworked. A school electrician explained, “We no longer have time for preventive maintenance…all we have time to do is put out fires!” We have made many improvements to our washers and dryers over the years. I feel our equipment is better built today and should last even longer than previous models.

Before you decide to retire your washer or dryer, please call us. We will provide an honest evaluation of your equipment. Perhaps it will be only a small expense to repair, instead of paying thousands to replace. When Belco technicians service your laundry equipment, they make the necessary repairs and always provide the much needed preventive maintenance. This extra effort will add many years of life to your machines. We take pride in the longevity and proven reliability of our equipment. For service, please call 704.543.6061

– William N. Beall

Belco Dryers Protect Your Athletic Gear & Uniforms

Our laundry machines have controls designed specifically to protect costly athletic uniforms & gear.  More game uniforms are ruined by commercial laundry equipment than on athletic playing fields!   Over 70 Pro Teams have purchased Belco equipment… even the Pros can’t afford to keep replacing ruined game uniforms.

Belco Athletic Laundry Equipment is the “Basis of Design” on most school laundry bids.  Unfortunately, we have lost bids based solely on price.  It is important to note that all laundry equipment is NOT the same.  You might find a lower price, but you  won’t find a better “Athletic Laundry” for your center than BELCO.  Other brands are simply no match.

belcodryercontrol-300x173Only Belco Athletic Dryers have specialized athletic controls clearly marked:  Game Uniforms  – 100o Practice Uniforms  – 140o and Towels  – 180o .  The lowest temperature setting on standard commercial dryers is 140-150 degrees, which is too hot and will destroy expensive game uniforms.  BELCO dryers use very low heat but compensate with more airflow.  Increasing the airflow safely speeds drying – not heat!

You should be very careful when laundry dealers claim that their equipment is equal to Belco’s.

– William N. Beall

ALL Laundry Equipment is NOT the Same

You won’t find a better “Athletic Laundry” for your schools than Belco. Other brands are simply no match.

You should be very careful when laundry dealers claim that their equipment is equal to Belco!

Belco Athletic Dryers are like no other in the world!  Other brands do not meet our specs.