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How To Use An Electric Blanket? A Detailed Guide
If you are the type of person that always feels cold in winters, then you might want to consider investing in an electric blanket.
An electric blanket looks and feels like a regular blanket with fleece or Sherpa material on the outside. However, what sets it apart is a thin electric coil that runs inside its many layers.
This coil can be plugged into a standard electric outlet, and as the current flows through it, the blanket warms up to a comfortable temperature. You can adjust the blanket’s temperature between a toasty 65 F to a super warm 125 F. This helps you stay cozy and snug inside the blanket, no matter how freezing the ambient conditions might be.
Electric blankets can help reduce your energy bills since you won’t need a separate central heater or room heater when using them. And we all know how high our bills can be when we use central heating. Electric blankets consume less power, which keeps the bills in check.
In this guide, we will discuss everything there is to know about an electric blanket and, most importantly, how to use it safely for optimal heat.
What is an Electric Blanket?
An electric blanket is typically made of soft polyester fibers or fleece. It has an electric coil running throughout it. When an electric current is passed through it, the blanket warms up so you can snuggle under or over it and be cozy and warm despite freezing temperatures.
Most electric blankets come with 4, 5, (even 10!) temperature setting controls. They are also very safe and come with an auto-shut-off that switches off the heating after 4 or 5 hours.
High-quality electric blankets are also tested extensively and undergo ETL certification as well. They also come with an overheating protection feature to preventing users from getting too warm.
An advantage of using an electric blanket is that you need not use a central heater or room heater when you use the blanket. This will help you save a lot of money on electric bills since the electric blanket draws a lot less power compared to central heating.
How to Select an Electric Blanket
Size and dimensions
Electric blankets come in various sizes. The standard size for covering one person comfortably is 60 x 50 inches. You can also get larger blankets to cover two or more people.
Choose a high-quality blanket
Always go in for the top-rated blankets and never settle for second-hand or used ones. You want your blanket to last you several winters, so buying from a reputed brand is important.
It is also a good idea to replace an electric blanket every 8 to 10 years because frequent use, washing, etc., can render the material thin, frayed, and rough. Many blankets also lose their insulation, which can end up requiring more power for keeping them warm.
Ensure highest safety
Look for brands that subject their blankets to ETL testing and certification. Also, make sure that the blanket includes a special thermostat and “auto-shutoff” control. The latter switches the blanket off after a specified number of hours. This way you can be assured of the highest safety and protection from overheating and fire hazards as well.
Make sure the cord length is optimal
Many blankets come with short cords which can be a hassle if you do not have an electric outlet situated close to your bed/couch. Longer cords can also be useful if you plan on taking the blanket outdoors.
Always select a blanket that comes with a detachable cord and controller so you can toss it in the machine and wash it with ease.
How to Use an Electric Blanket
Step 1: Read the instructions
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions prior to using the blanket. There may be some brand-specific tips that the manufacturer might want you to follow, particularly when it comes to using it for the first time and also before washing it.
Step 2: Plug it in
Spread the blanket over the bed or sofa, wherever you intend to use it. Make sure that the controls are safely away from your face.
Next, plug the cord into the blanket and the outlet end into a standard electric wall outlet.
Step 3: Select the temperature setting
Use the remote control/controller to adjust the temperature of the blanket. Most blankets can be adjusted up to 5 or 10 temperature settings.
Step 4: Wait for a few minutes
Most blankets take up to 5 minutes to warm up, so be patient.
Step 5: Snuggle time!
Once the blanket is warm, you can snuggle under it or over it. If your blanket has an auto-off feature, then it will switch itself off after several hours. The thermostat control will also prevent you from getting too hot under it.
How to Wash an Electric Blanket?
To wash an electric blanket, use the following steps:
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions regarding washing. Follow these instructions carefully.
- Shake out the blanket and use a gentle dusting/patting motion to remove debris, dust, and hair.
- Remove the coil and electric parts – most blankets come with removable electric parts.
- Place the blanket in the washer.
- Use the gentlest cycle of the washer and preferably warm water. Some blankets can be washed at a water temperature of about 85 F.
- Use a shorter washing cycle.
- Dry the blanket in the shade and not in the dryer.
FAQs on Electric Blankets
Q: Are electric blankets safe?
A: Yes, electric blankets are completely safe to use, provided they have thermostat control and auto-off features. However, like all electric items, they do have the potential to malfunction. In this case, they could overheat.
Q: Can you adjust the position of the chaise on a corner sofa bed?
A: Some corner sofa beds come with a chaise that is already set on the left or right side. However, most designs have a chaise that can easily be moved to the side that you prefer.
Q: It is best not to use electric blankets for infants and elderly or immobile patients. They are also not recommended for people with diabetes, neuropathy, and other medical conditions.Does placement of my electric blanket matter?
A: You can use the electric blanket any way you like: as a spread on the bed or sofa or for snuggling under! You can also use two blankets – one on the top, the other on the bottom – for extra warmth.
Q: Which side of the electric blanket should be on the top?
A: Most manufacturers clearly mark which side of the blanket should be on top. Mostly, it is the label side that goes on the top because that is where the electrical coils are and these should not be covered or sandwiched between your body and the fleece of the blanket. They should ideally be on the top to minimize fire hazards.
Q: What are some contraindications for using electric blankets?
A: It is important not to use electric blankets for infants, elderly patients, people with limited or no mobility, and especially for patients susceptible to neuropathy.
Q: Do electric blankets consume a lot of power?
A: Compared to room heaters or space heaters which draw power at the rate of 15 cents per hour, an electric blanket costs a lot less – only about 8 to 9 cents per hour. They come with thermostat regulation and also heat uniformly. Plus, their insulation layer keeps the heat trapped inside to prevent them from cooling down too fast. All these features can greatly lower your electric bills, and more so when compared to the power consumption of central heaters.
Q: Can wet electric blankets cause electric shock?
A: Yes. It is important not to plug in the electric blanket when it is wet, as it can increase electric shock hazards. Always dry the blanket completely prior to use.
Q: Can you use an electric blanket on camping trips?
A: Yes, if you are camping under freezing conditions, you can safely use an electric blanket to stay warm and dry. Of course, you’d need an electric outlet and its cord should be long enough to reach that outlet.
You could also use the blanket with a generator. Make sure that your blanket won’t get wet or else it could be a fire or electric shock hazard.
Never use the blanket under a sleeping bag as that could cause overheating and sweating.
Q: Can you use an electric blanket with a memory foam mattress?
A: Yes, you can use an electric blanket with a memory foam mattress without worrying about safety issues.
Q: Can people with pacemakers use an electric blanket?
A: Yes, electric blankets won’t interfere with the functioning of a pacemaker. In fact, some of the accessories allowed for safe use for patients fitted with a pacemaker are portable space heaters, electric blankets, and electric heating pads.
Q: Can pregnant women use an electric blanket?
A: Yes, pregnant women can safely use an electric blanket provided it is not set at a very high temperature. Make sure you keep the temperature comfortably warm to prevent overheating. The main thing to ensure is that the blanket should not raise your body temperature or cause any burns.
Using an electric blanket is a safe and money-saving way to keep warm on chilly nights. They cost a lot less than room heaters and can keep you toasty warm all night long.
With safety features like thermostat temperature regulation and auto-shutoff, these blankets are very safe and comfortable to use.
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