Sometimes it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep if the temperature in your bedroom is too cold. However, setting the thermostat to a cooler setting while you sleep can help save money on your winter heating bills. An electric blanket can help bridge the gap, allowing you to lower the thermostat without sacrificing sleeping comfort.
Because electric blankets generate heat, they need to be used with caution, just like any heating appliance. There are risks, especially if your electric blanket is damaged or misused. If you follow a few simple safety measures, you can save money, stay warm, and enjoy a safe and comfortable night’s sleep.
How An Electric Blanket Works
There are several different types of electric blankets.
An underblanket is designed to above the mattress and below the bottom bed sheet. It warms the bed from the bottom up.
Another type of electric blanket is the overblanket. This type of electric blanket is usually placed above the top sheet, but underneath other blankets.
While there are many different brands and models, all electric blankets work the same. Like a heating pad, electric blankets feature a heating element, often a coiled wire or carbon fiber, inserted into the blanket’s fabric. When plugged in and switched on, this heating element uses electricity to generate heat.
Inspecting Your Electric Blanket for Safety
Because the integrated heating element is designed to be flexible, it is also susceptible to damage and wear through regular use. Make sure you handle your electric blanket gently to prevent accidental damage. Follow all manufacturer’s care instructions.
Even if you follow directions and handle your blanket with care, damage to the element in your blanket is still possible. Inspect your blanket carefully before every use. If you detect any tears, exposed wires or elements, burn marks, or any other signs of damage, discard your blanket. Using a damaged blanket is a fire hazard and increases the risk of electric shock.
Never fold your electric blanket as this can cause damage to the internal heating element. Roll your blanket loosely and never stack heavy objects on top of your blanket.
Many homeowners wonder if it is safe to use an electric blanket for the entire night. A well-maintained electric blanket is unlikely to cause problems with proper use. However, overnight use is not recommended.
Many high end electric blankets feature timers. A timer allows you to safely fall asleep under your electric blanket. Then once you are comfortably warm, the timer automatically switches off the blanket’s heating element.
If your blanket does not feature an automatic switch-off timer, consider using your blanket to warm your bed before you retire. Then switch off your blanket before crawling into bed. This eliminates the risk of your blanket dangerously malfunctioning while you are asleep.
Other Safety Measures
- Here several more tips for using your electric blanket safely.
- Do not use your electric blanket if you are intoxicated.
- Electric blankets pose different risks for children, infants, and the disabled and should be used with extreme caution.
- Never run the electric cord between the mattress and box springs. This could cause the cord to overheat or become damaged by friction.
- Keep pets away from your electric blanket. It could be easily damaged by teeth or claws.
- Do not use an electric blanket on a waterbed.
- Never dry clean or iron your electric blanket.
- Always turn off your electric blanket when not in use.
Staying Warm All Winter
Electric blankets can be an effective way to stay warm during the cold winter months. When used with an efficient and effective HVAC unit, it is one tool to help you cut your heating costs. If you are looking for other methods to lower your home heating bills, contact your local HVAC technician.