There’s nothing better than climbing into a warm bed on a frigid Kansas winter night. During the cold weather, many people choose to use electric blankets to stay cozy while reducing energy costs. But, do you know if electric blankets are safe to use? They typically are, but you should remember these dos and don’ts before and during use to reduce the risk of problems.
What is an Electric Blanket?
Electric blankets are blankets with a heating element inserted into the fabric that gets warm when plugged into an electrical outlet. Electric blankets come in two different forms. The first is like a mattress pad that lies under the bottom bed sheet. The second is an electric over blanket which lies on top of the person like a regular blanket.
The Dos and Don’ts of Electric Blanket Safety
- Read and follow the instructions before using the blanket.
- Visually examine your blanket regularly for any signs of damage.
- Use the blanket only for the purpose the manufacturer intended, i.e:
- over-blankets must only be positioned above the sleeper.
- under-blankets must only be positioned under the sleeper.
- Check how to properly wash the blanket.
- Even if the blanket is brand new, check it for any signs of damage before use.
- Keep the blanket flat while in use. A heating blanket that’s bunched up on the bed can trap too much heat.
- Consider a heating blanket with an auto-shutoff function.
- Consider the type of bed you have. Never use an electric blanket on a waterbed.
- Use a hot water bottle at the same time as using your electric blanket
- Touch the blanket with wet hands or feet
- Allow pets on the blanket. Cats and dogs can tear the blanket which may expose the electric wiring of the blanket and create shock and fire hazards. If your pets get in your bed, consider purchasing a low-voltage electric blanket instead.
- Insert or use pins to hold the blanket in place on the bed
- Use the spin-cycle. The internal coils in your blanket could get twisted or damaged.
- Use an electric blanket on the bed of an infant or a person who may have trouble getting the blanket off of them.
- Place anything on top of the blanket, including yourself. Sitting on the electric blanket while it’s on can trap heat, creating a fire risk.
- Plug an electric blanket into an extension cord. It should be plugged directly into an outlet instead. If you live in the Wichita, KS, area, Graf Electric can install additional receptacles so you have access where you need it.
Visually Check Your Electric Blanket Before Use
Before using your electric blanket during the winer, visually check that the blanket is safe for use. This will prevent shock and fire hazards.
Your blanket should be replaced with a new one if:
- Fabric is worn, frayed or has holes
- Burn marks are visible on the blanket
- Wires are poking through the blanket
- There is damage to the power cord
- The control is making a buzzing sound or giving off a smell
- The connector fitted to the blanket is damaged or overheating
How to Store Your Electric Blanket
When your blanket is not in use, it should be stored per the manufacturer’s instructions.
It can be left on the bed all year round, or folded and put away in a cool, dry closet.
How to Safely Dispose Of An Electric Blanket.
If your blanket is more than ten years old, you should consider throwing it away to prevent fires or shocks.
Electric blankets being disposed of should be taken to a recycling facility which accepts electric and electronic appliances. Check online for your nearest recycling center. In Wichita area check the Sedgwick County Recycling Guide for local options.