An in-depth guide on the uses and safety of electric blankets
Nothing is better than snuggling up under a blanket in the winter months, or even just when you’re feeling a little chilly. What is even better is not having to wait for this natural process and instead of getting warm instantly with an electric blanket.
While electric blankets are useful, the real question we will explore is if they are safe. In this article, you will learn more about what an electric blanket is and the history behind it, the pros and cons of owning an electric blanket, common electric blanket settings, safety concerns, and some tips on how to use electric blankets safely. In the end, you will learn if electric blankets are safe to use in your home and on your bed.
What is an Electric Blanket?
Traditional blankets are used to form a barrier between you and the cold air around you. When covering up with them, you are effectively trapping your body heat with you so that it can’t dissipate into the air around you and instead keep you warm. Heat doesn’t transfer well through blankets, so they are a good way to keep your body warm naturally.
However, sometimes this natural process may take too long, or may not be enough. As you age, it becomes harder and harder for your body to regulate its temperature, which can lead to cold chills or frigid nights.
An electric blanket is a blanket that is made with integrated electrical heating wires. When plugged into an electrical outlet, an electric blanket produces heat in order to keep the user warm. Click here for a selection of the best electric blankets in the UK!
The history of these blankets dates back to the early 1900s when the first one was made. While we are calling into question the safety of today’s electric blankets, there is no doubt that early electric blankets were dangerous.
This was largely because inventors had much less of an understanding of electricity and electricity safety than we do today.
The electric blanket was patented by S.I. Russell, who is also credited with its invention. They rose in popularity and notoriety when they began to use electric blankets in the 20s inside of tuberculosis sanitariums.
There was no cure for this deadly disease until the 1940s. One popular means of treatment for tuberculosis was fresh air, so many sanitariums had their tuberculosis patients sleep outside. The blankets did a wonderful job of keeping the patients warm while outside.
As the years went on, technology improved, and the thermostat control was added to the blanket’s design. This control automatically turned off or on depending on the temperature in the room. It wasn’t until 1984 that a thermostat-free electric blanket was invented.
Electric blankets are now commonly used inside of individual households to keep people warm on cold nights!
Pros and Cons of Owning an Electric Blanket
With any purchase, there are pros and cons. So, let’s start by identifying the positive aspects of owning an electric blanket. Firstly, electric blankets are a great investment for cold-natured people. If you find yourself chilly all the time, an electric blanket will certainly improve your quality of life.
Another positive aspect of electric blankets is the variety you have to choose from. We now have a variety of heating blanket options including under-blankets, duvets, throws and over-blankets.
You also won’t find yourself having to add layer upon layer of blankets in order to stay warm. Instead, you can warm your whole body with the use of just one blanket.You can choose your heating strength on most heated blankets, as well.
Not only can electric blankets keep you warm, but they can also help soothe aches and pains from chronic illnesses and general muscle fatigue. Think of an electric blanket as a giant heating pad. The warmth will help sooth aching muscles and provide comfort throughout the night.
Electric blankets are also low-voltage, and many have ways to preserve energy while they are used. So, not only will it keep you warm, it can also help you save on your electricity bill at the end of the month.
So, for the downsides of the electric blanket.
Electric blankets can be rather expensive. A lot of work goes into wiring up an electric blanket for use. At the end of the day, it can be considered an electronic. Electric throws are usually pretty affordable. However, full-sized blankets can be pretty expensive, costing upwards of $80 for a decent one!
If you’re a pet lover with a pet who likes to chew or claw on anything soft, electric blankets may not work for you. This is because of the intricate wiring that can be damaged with these actions.
Another possible concern is that you cannot simply wash most electric blankets as you would any other blanket. This is, again, because of the wiring inside of the blanket. If you do wash the blanket, it has to be gentle and likely done by hand. However, some electric blankets may have removable cloth covers which you can wash, dry, and recover the wiring with. You should look into how your blanket can be cleaned before purchasing it!
Electric blankets, lastly, are not recommended for children, incapacitated people, or people who may be sensitive to heat. While these groups can use electric blankets, the risk of injury could increase if the blanket isn’t used properly.
Electric Blanket Settings
Electric blankets usually have pretty similar settings. They are usually three varying heat settings: low, medium and high. You can set the blanket to the temperature you’d like.
Some electric blankets may have more specific controls that allow you to set the particular degree setting you’d like. Others have assigned temperatures to numbers on their own scale, usually with 10 being the hottest and 1 being the lowest.
Most electric blankets turn off on their own after they have been on for a while. This is a safety feature to assure overheating does not occur. However, other electric blankets may be set to a timer to reheat the user after a certain amount of time has passed.
Safety Concerns When Using an Electric Blanket
Because of the huge development in technology over the past several decades, there aren’t a ton of safety concerns when it comes to using an electric blanket.
Most electric blankets, heating pads, and other heating devices now turn off depending on the temperature of the room or will turn off after a certain amount of time. This assures that the fabric covering the heating wires does not overheat and lead to fire or electrical problems.
There is always a small chance of issues with anything electronic, but these developments have made electric blankets safe enough for home use. The only real safety concerns come when the blanket is being used improperly.
These blankets can also produce safety concerns if they are worn out. This is because connections of the wires within the blanket can become worn out and could malfunction. You should replace your electric blanket if it is no longer working properly.
How to Properly use an Electric Blanket
While the design, as already mentioned, of electric blankets leaves little room for error, there are a few things you can do to reduce safety concerns while using an electric blanket.
First, make sure that the blanket is spread out evenly. Because the heating wires are spread out evenly inside of the blanket, if parts of the blanket are stacked or bunched together, this could cause extra heat in one area.
Secondly, make sure that your outlets are safe. If you have outlets that tend to spark when you plug things into them, find another outlet to plug your blanket into.
Make sure that your blanket is far away from any objects that melt or damage when exposed to heat. This could be plastic or wood, for example. For best use, use an electric blanket on your bed or while lounging on a cloth chair or couch.
Lastly, make sure you unplug your blanket when you aren’t using it, especially if you have pets or children. Pets and children or even you could accidentally turn your blanket on by accident and leave it in an unsafe place.
These steps will reduce the room for error and keep you safe while using your electric blanket.
So, What is the Conclusion
In conclusion, it is safe to say that, thanks to the advancement of technology in the field of electronic devices, electric blankets are safe to use. Not only are they safe, but they can actually help you save some money on heating costs if you use them properly.
Overall, an electric blanket can help improve your quality of life, especially if you suffer from chronic coldness, or if you have pain that is remedied by warmth! So, if you feel your life could be improved with the introduction of an electric blanket, invest in one. Make sure you do your research to pick the electric blanket that will work best for you and your lifestyle.