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Electric Blanket: What is it? Is it safe or not?

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Introduction

An electric blanket can be a welcome relief from chilly winter nights and the inflow of shivers they bring for people who live in colder climates. George C. Crowley created the contemporary electric blanket in the early 1900s, and with the aid of new technologies, it has continued to advance and change throughout the past century.

Although electrical blankets may be useful, they have also been the subject of controversy over the years, and then raising questions like; are electric blankets safe? Because of these debates, consumers are unsure whether electric blankets are safe.

We’ll look at the possible dangers, who needs to stay away from them, and how to use one properly in this article.

What is an electric blanket?

Electric Blanket

Image Credit: nytimes.com

An electric blanket is a blanket with built-in electrical heating wires, throws, duvets, under blankets, and over blankets are a few types.

One that is placed above the mattress and beneath the bottom bed sheet is electric under a blanket, the term “electric blanket” is the typical name for this type in the UK and other Commonwealth nations; in the United States and Canada, where it is less widespread, it is referred to as an “electric heated mattress pad.” The most popular variety in the United States is an electric over blanket, known as an “electric blanket” in the US and Canada, and is placed over the top of a bed sheet.

An electric blanket has a control unit that typically pulses current at varying intervals to change the blanket’s heat output. There are frequently separate controls for each side of the bed on blankets that are made for two people. The electric blanket can either be used to warm the bed up before usage or to keep the person in it warm while they are in bed.

What is an electric blanket used for?

Electric blankets can serve as enormous heating pads to relieve aches, pains, and even symptoms brought on by medical diseases like fibromyalgia in addition to keeping you warm during cold weather.

Factors to keep in mind when buying a new electric blanket

Here are some of the factors you should consider before purchasing that electric blanket.

– Fabrics that wick away moisture keep you dry and warm

Make sure your blanket is composed of natural fibers like silk, wool, or cotton, which wick moisture away from the body, to keep warm and comfortable without overheating. These textiles much outperform their synthetic equivalents.

– For people who suffer from allergies, there are electric blanket solutions available

Put a cover on your electric blanket so you may wash it if you frequently have sniffles, watery eyes, and sneezes. This is the quickest and simplest method for getting rid of allergies.

– An electric blanket is secure because it requires less upkeep

If you prefer a warm, cozy bed, you might think about getting an electric blanket with an automatic shut-off mechanism that activates after it reaches a predetermined temperature. One must select an auto shut-off electric blanket because the majority of contemporary electric blankets offer this feature.

Some remote controls feature ten settings, one of which pre-heats the device after a predetermined amount of time.

– Every blanket is unique in the degree of warmth it offers

The elements of an electric blanket affect how warm it is, so make sure you purchase an electric blanket that is appropriate for you and suits your needs.

Electric Blanket’s Pros

Every winter, the rising cost of heating makes headlines, and more and more individuals are switching to electric blankets to save their energy costs. But why is that so? Many people may not be aware of some of the advantages of electric blankets, so in this section, we will explore a few of them.

1. The cost of electric blankets is lower than central heating

Electric blankets can be a fashionable addition to your house and incredibly cozy as a central heating alternative. The expense of keeping warm with a new electric blanket is a tenth of what it would be with central heating.

If you get a heated throw large enough to cover two or more people or a fitted under blanket that fits onto your mattress, these will only consume the energy necessary to keep you warm rather than the entire room warm.

Increase your savings by investing in a plush, thick electric blanket. It’s worth it to spend a little extra on a well-made, cozy electric blanket because a good-quality material maintains heat better.

Because of this, your electric blanket will warm up more quickly and keep you cozier without using much power. With the energy savings you’ll achieve, an electric blanket will eventually pay for itself.

2. Can help with aches, pains, sciatica, and arthritis

Your body’s heat receptors block the pain signals that are delivered to your brain when you apply heat to an injury, the site of arthritis or sciatica pain, or any other sore area. As a result, any pain you may have immediately disappeared.

Additionally, it promotes better blood flow throughout your body, which keeps you more flexible. Your entire body is kept wonderfully warm by electric blankets, resulting in a feeling of relaxation and contentment as well as preventing morning stiffness (if used overnight).

An electric blanket can help you stop nighttime pain from becoming more severe if you have a chronic, painful ailment like sciatica or arthritis. It can also help you get back to sleeping soundly.

3. Electric blankets improve sleep quality

You may be aware that there are various stages of sleep—five to be exact—and that our bodies naturally move through these stages as the night progresses. You may be pulled from a deep sleep by a quick temperature shift without waking up, which means that you won’t feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning.

Your body will naturally proceed through the stages of sleep if you use an electric blanket to keep it at a cozy, even temperature. You might find that you have more energy and are more productive in the morning after you start utilizing an electric blanket all night long.

4. Induce sleep in your body

Your body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, determines when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Numerous factors, such as the amount of light or darkness, one’s nutrition and level of physical activity, as well as the temperature, might affect it.

When your body temperature fluctuates a lot while you’re in bed, your circadian rhythm is thrown off, making it difficult to fall asleep and may be causing you to wake up earlier than usual.

With the help of an electric blanket, you may stay warm and comfortable throughout the entire night, maintaining a regular sleep pattern regardless of the weather.

5. Scientific research shows that electric blankets can improve your mood

Your body expends a lot of energy trying to stay warm. Your body sends pleasing signals to your brain when you are warm, thanks to an electric blanket since it doesn’t have to expend as much energy to maintain the appropriate body temperature.

As a result, you feel happier and more at ease. For this reason, warm baths, steaming cups of cocoa, and cozy electric blankets all help you feel so much better on a chilly night.

The feel-good factor will only increase if you purchase a heated blanket that is plush and soft. Getting a soft electric blanket will lift your spirits when you’re feeling down because our brains are wired to enjoy touching and cuddling up to soft things (scientists believe that we evolved in this way to motivate us to pick up and protect our babies).

Electric Blanket’s Cons

Even as it has a lot of benefits, electric blankets also have their disadvantages, in this section, we will talk about some of them.

1. They are not for all beds

Only certain mattresses are designed to accommodate electric blankets. Electric blankets should not be used on sofas or couches, therefore sofa beds are not an option. The danger of bundled electrical wires or flammable materials included in some types of beds is of concern.

Waterbeds and motorized beds are examples of this (water and electricity do not mix). Additionally, bunk beds should not be used since the cord can extend to the upper bed and constitute a fire hazard.

2. There is a risk of fire hazards

The risk of fire is an electric blanket’s biggest drawback. Electric blankets are no different from other electrical appliances in that they pose a fire risk. Many blankets have automatic shut-off features after a predetermined amount of time to lessen the risk of overheating or fire if the blanket is kept on for an extended time.

Newer blankets are rigorously tested for safety and fire prevention because manufacturers aim to reduce risks. Older electric blankets may lack built-in safety shut-off mechanisms.

More so, a user might not be aware of frayed or broken wire, meaning that the risk of a fire can arise if the blanket is unintentionally left on for a protracted period.

3. There could be wiring concerns

A wired coil that is sewed into the fabric of the blanket provides heating. With regular usage and wear, these wires may break. The blanket may not heat up due to a short in or a broken wire, which can result in a fire hazard.

The blanket can be plugged in all night long even if there is no fire risk and never generates any heat, if this occurs, you’ll have to throw away the blanket and buy a new one, which may cost money that you might not have anticipated.

4. No pets or children are allowed to use an electric blanket

Do not use the electric blanket if you share your bed with a furry companion or a cuddling youngster. Pets may unintentionally rip the blanket apart with their teeth or paws. The blanket won’t function properly if there are exposed wires or wire insulation that has been perforated.

It’s dangerous to use electric blankets on babies and young children because, without your knowledge, they could burn their delicate skin if they become too hot too rapidly. The elderly, those with diabetes, and older children who sleep deeply should all stay away from electric blankets since their skin can burn if it is exposed to heat for an extended period.

5. You can not wash an electric blanket

The majority of people spend six to eight hours each night in bed, so to get rid of dust mites, germs, sweat, and dead skin cells, sheets and blankets must be washed frequently. The majority of electric blankets can’t be cleaned.

Some electric blankets have removable, machine-washable fabric covers, like duvet covers. However, because of the wiring, electric blankets themselves cannot go through a wash cycle. The one potentially unpleasant (and odorous) drawback that you might wish to avoid is this one.

Electric Blanket Precautions

Before getting and using one, these are some electric blanket precautions to take note of:

  • Never use a worn-out blanket: Throwing away blankets that are ten years old or older is the best option. The internal components could be degrading as a result of their age and use, regardless of their state and whether or not you can see any wear. More recent blankets use rheostats and are less likely to wear through. By measuring both the temperature of the blanket and the user’s body, the rheostat regulates heat.
  • Avoid keeping anything on the blanket: Unless the electric blanket is intended to be laid on, this also applies to you. The electric coils of an electric blanket could be harmed by sitting on them.
  • Use the spin cycle sparingly: The interior coils in your blanket could become bent or broken as a result of the twisting, pulling, and turning action of the spin cycle. Find out more online about washing electric blankets online – and never dry clean one.
  • Keep pets away from your blanket: The electric wiring of the blanket may become exposed due to cat or dog claws, posing a risk of fire and shock to both you and your pet. If you are unable to keep your pet away, think about acquiring a heating pad for your cat or dog or a low-voltage blanket for yourself.
  • Avoid running cords underneath your mattress: While it may be tempting to conceal cords under the mattress, doing so can cause friction that could harm the connection or trap heat.

Safety Tips for Using an Electric Blanket

There is a fire risk with any electric gadget. Making sure to turn on your electric blanket just before going to bed is the greatest approach to lessen the chance of a fire. Additional guidelines include:

  • Electric blankets should not be used all night.
  • Electric blankets have the potential to disrupt the body’s nightly temperature cycles, which would disrupt sleep.
  • They shouldn’t be utilized with dual adapters.
  • Never sit on them when they’re running.
  • When using the blankets, avoid folding them.
  • Avoid letting your baby use the electric blankets.
  • Be careful not to put your electric blanket in a washing machine. Although some manufacturers claim that putting it in a washer is safe, there is a chance that the electric system could be harmed.

Take Extra Cautions With Electric Blanket in This Scenarios

When utilizing an electric blanket, there are some groups of more vulnerable people:

– Pregnant women

A person’s core body temperature might rise as a result of using an electric blanket, as was stated already. Pregnant women, especially those in their first trimester, should be extra cautious because of this. A higher risk of miscarriage could result from the added heat, which could harm the developing child.

Instead of using the blanket to cover themselves, pregnant women may choose to plug it on to warm the bed and turn it off when they are ready to sleep.

– Children and the elderly

Young children, especially those under the age of three, may not understand how to use the device safely or may not have the physical capacity to change it on their own if they become too hot. In contrast, older people may experience additional health problems that could limit their capacity to react appropriately in an emergency or raise their risk of abusing the product.

– People with diabetes

Diabetic neuropathy is a problem that certain diabetics may encounter. Diabetic neuropathy happens when high blood sugar damages the body’s nerves, most frequently in the legs and feet.

However, this nerve injury may impair their capacity to detect temperature changes. They may not be able to detect when the blanket is getting too hot, which makes them more susceptible to overheating and burning.

– People who have pets

Pets are at risk of overheating because, like infants and young children, they can’t manage the product. You’re better off providing your pet a standard blanket on chilly evenings so they can readily remove it if necessary rather than an electric blanket because doing so could be just as fatal as putting them in a hot car.

Are Electric Blankets Safe?

You should still handle these appliances like any others in your home that are electric and heat up, despite contemporary safety enhancements. Overheating, burns, and fires should be prevented with proper use and storage.

You must also consider your age and physical condition. If you fall into one of the following categories, think about utilizing a space heater instead: the elderly, those who have diabetes, pregnant women, young children, and those with pets.

On a chilly winter night, heating pads and electric blankets can be a useful tool for warming yourself, but be sure to follow the suggested precautions to ensure your safety.

Some “Electric Blanket” Related FAQs

Q. What is an electric blanket?

Ans: A bed covering with an integrated heating element is known as an electric blanket, which enables a sleeper to retain their preferred temperature even in a chilly environment.

Q. How does an electric blanket work?

Ans: Mechanism. Electric blankets, like heating pads, have insulated wires or heating elements incorporated into the fabric, which heat up when the blanket is plugged in. The amount of current flowing into the blanket’s heat elements is controlled by the temperature control unit, which is situated between it and the output.

Q. Is it ok to sleep on an electric blanket overnight?

Ans: Electric blankets are intended to make a bed warm and inviting, but they should not be used overnight because they have the potential to overheat if used incorrectly or for an extended period. They are safe for short-term use.

Q. How much electricity is electric blankets consuming?

Ans: Uswitch testing shows that these devices warm a double bed with 100 watts of energy before switching to a sleep mode or being switched off. A 100W electric blanket would consume 0.7kWh per week when used for seven hours.

Q. What alternative exists to an electric blanket?

Ans: Because all of the power is kept outside of the bed, where it belongs, BedJet is a safer option than electric blankets. The BedJet exceeds even the greatest electric blanket in every category, so safety and performance are two crucial considerations.

Q. What is the lifespan of electric blankets?

Ans: Electric A licensed electrician should test blankets every two years and replace them every ten years. Always look for burn scars, water damage, mold, or exposed wires on your blanket. Do not use your blanket if any of them are visible; instead, get a new one.

Q. Do electric blankets shut off on their own?

Ans: The majority of electric blankets on the market have auto shut-off, which means they will stop working after two to ten hours. Make sure the blanket has a third-party safety certification, such as UL, before making a purchase. To ensure everyone’s safety, always be sure to adhere to all care and use directions.

Q. Are electric blankets a risk for cancer?

Ans: Even though contemporary electric blankets are designed to emit fewer electromagnetic fields or EMFs, there has been debate and investigation into whether or not these products are carcinogenic.

In 2015, researchers looked into the possibility of a connection between heated blankets and thyroid cancer. They concluded that there is little chance that these gadgets would seriously increase the risk of cancer in people.

A second study looked into whether there might be a connection between these products and breast cancer, but they could not find any solid proof that the devices raise the risk of breast cancer in women.

Q. Can electric blankets cause poor blood circulation?

Ans: You can be less sensitive to heat if your blood circulation is weak. For the same reasons stated before, patients with diabetes and neuropathy should speak with their doctor before utilizing an electric blanket or heating pad.

Q. What distinguishes an electric throw from an electric blanket?

Ans: Throws are designed to cover one person of average size while they engage in activities like watching television, reading a book, or napping. The main application for heated blankets is bedding. You have the option of using your heated blanket alone or topped with a duvet or comforter, depending on the nightly winter temperatures in your home.


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