An electric blanket or mattress pad could save you up to 3% on your heating bill — for each degree you lower your thermostat overnight. And you won’t feel cold.
But don’t plug in an old electric blanket that you haven’t used in years. Chances are, it’s no longer safe.
Besides, newer models have better warming technology and built-in safety features, and they come in up-to-date fabrics, textures and colors.
Most new electric blankets come with temperature sensors that automatically warm the coldest parts of your body, and they prevent the blanket from overheating. Electric blankets and mattress pads are less bulky than they were in the past, and their wires are hidden.
As you shop for a new electric blanket or mattress pad, rule out any products that are not rated as safe by a trusted product safety testing organization, like UL.
As well, make sure your new electric blanket has these features:
Overheat protection. When electric blankets bunch up during the night, the heat at the center of the ball has no way to escape. Overheat protection automatically switches the blanket off.
Low voltage. A blanket with 18 volts in both the controller and blanket eliminates the chance of electrical shock in case the heater’s wires become exposed or get wet. UL calls this low voltage “non-hazardous,” according to the Electric Blanket Institute.
Automatic shutoff. Choose a model with a 10-hour shutoff feature. That’s insurance against forgetfulness.
Clear instructions. Your blanket — and every electrical product you buy — should come with clear, detailed safety instructions. If it doesn’t, choose an alternative brand.
Here are a few safety tips to follow once you get your cozy new bedding home:
- Check your electric blanket for defects or damage before plugging it in.
- Don’t leave it plugged in overnight unless it is specifically designed for extended use. Instead, turn your blanket or pad on about 20 minutes before bed and turn it off when you get in.
- Electric blankets can burn the sensitive skin of the elderly and infants, so never leave the devices unattended with the heat on.