Cozying Up With Electric Blankets

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There’s something instinctively soothing about being warm. At night, once I’m nestled into my warm cocoon of bed sheets, there’s no getting me out of bed. The occasional mandatory midnight trips to the kitchen for water or to let the dog out are painfully long, and by the time I climb back into bed, the sheets on my side of the bed have grown cold.

Why choose electric blankets?

Did you know that you can save 10% a year on your heating/cooling bills by turning back your thermostat 10-15 degrees for eight hours every day? I looked for some ideas to keep warm that didn’t involve my thermostat or increasing my electricity bill.  An electric throw or blanket ended up being a great cost-saving solution, since the average electricity consumption is only 40 to-100 watts – only about 4¢ per night (compared to 1,500 watts used by the average space heater!)

What kind of electric blanket suits you?

Buying a blanket is really not that big a decision if you’re buying just a $20 Snuggie®. However, if you plan to spend upwards of $100 to  $200 for a good quality electric blanket, you should at least know what features are available on the market. Here are some things to consider when shopping for an electric blanket:

  • Where are you going to use this blanket? Is it just going to be a sofa throw or did you want to use it as a blanket on your bed? Do you like having the heat coming from the blanket or would you prefer a heated mattress pad?
  • How much time do you have for it to warm up? Some electric blankets can take over half an hour to warm up. You might want to consider an electric blanket with Fast Heat Technology.
  • How does it fit your sleeping style? Can you sleep with a heavier electric blanket or does it have to be light-weight? If the electric blanket is going to be used under your current comforter, you might want one that has a durable, washable cover.
  • Do you want to be able to adjust the level of heat? Some electric blankets have multiple levels of heat while others have just an on/off switch. More expensive electric blankets also have temperature sensors to ensure even heating.
  • Do you need the blanket to be on all night? If you’re just looking to get the heat started in the bed when you climb in and don’t need it on all night, you might want to shop for an electric blanket with a timer to automatically shut  the blanket off.
  • Do you have skin sensitivities? Because the electric blanket will likely be in contact with your skin, choose one that has fabric that feels good on your skin – cotton, polyester, fleece and so on. My favorite? Microplush.

Keeping it safe

Electric blankets have safety standards so it’s important to make sure the one you’re buying meets the criteria. But beyond government imposed guidelines, here are some other safety tips to consider:

  • Most electric blankets for adults probably aren’t safe for young children or babies due to the size of the blanket as well as accessibility of electrical wires.
  • Never plug in an electric blanket if it’s damp. There are thin wires that run through a blanket that can result in electrocution when damp.
  • If you have an electric blanket over 10 years old or one that’s looking frayed, consider replacing it to avoid electrical shocks.

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