The electric blanket is a product that has come into the limelight in recent years. To many, it is a product that has saved them from countless nights of grief fighting with the cold.
To others, it is a dangerous blanket with wires that will catch on fire while you sleep. Let’s take a look at who’s actually right.
How Do Electric Blankets Work; The Science of Electric Blankets
According to Wikipedia, electric blankets are basically just a blanket infused with electrical heating wires.
The wires are inserted inside the blanket’s fabric, and a current runs through it, causing the blanket to give off heat.
Normally, electric blankets are accompanied by a remote, where you’ll control the temperature and conditions of your blanket to fit your preferences. This remote controls the amount of current that flows through the blanket, and therefore, the amount of heat given off.
This remote, also known as the temperature control unit, is usually seen in the middle of the blanket and electric outlet.
The science is very simple, but what you probably want to know is how to use it.
How to Operate an Electric Blanket
Electric blankets are actually easy to install and use, with manufacturers of the product providing simple and hassle-free processes to make the device work. It’s as simple as using a blow-dryer— follow a few steps, and you’ll get what you want.
All you have to do is plug in your blanket to an outlet, wait for your blanket to heat up, and easily adjust its temperature just the way you like it through your remote.
Here is a step-to-step guide on how to use electric blankets:
On the first use:
- Before your first use of the electric blanket, make sure it’s unfolded and laid flat.
- Please turn it on by plugging it into an electrical source.
- It is recommended that you put your electric blanket’s temperature to the maximum settings (using the supplied remote) for 2-3 hours before your usual bedtime. Then, once you are ready to sleep, reduce the heat level to your desired level when sleeping.
- Plugin the electric blanket to an electrical source.
- Adjust the heat setting on the remote to your desired level.
- Allow your blanket to preheat 15 minutes before bedtime.
- Set your electric blanket’s heat level on low or turn it off when you’re sleeping.
- Let the electric blanket cool before storing it.
- Roll or fold it loosely and put it back into the bag that you originally purchased it with.
- Avoid placing it beside sharp objects that can cut the fabric.
Safe Usage Guide
For the most part, electric blankets are known to be very safe. However, there are some safety issues that you should know about.
Women who are pregnant should avoid turning the temperature up too high or using the blanket for an extended period as this may cause you to overheat and harm the fetus.
People with diabetes should be extra careful when using the blanket as high glucose levels caused by diabetes can sometimes damage your nerves. If this happens, you may be unaware of how hot the blanket actually is. As a result, this may cause you to get burned unintentionally.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, electric blankets may negatively impact men’s fertility as testicles may become too warm from using the blankets, resulting in decreased sperm counts for men.
Like all electronics, a bad cord can cause a fire, so users should avoid using the blanket if the cord is damaged.
Lastly, you should refrain from using a blanket that is too old as the New York Fire Department has found that 99% of electric blanket fires are caused by blankets over 10 years old.
Tips for safe usage
- You should avoid rolling up the blanket as this may cause the coil to become damaged.
- Avoid washing the blanket as this may also damage the cable.
- Only use electric blanket brands that have passed testing by a reputable agency.
- Do not put other blankets on top of the electric blanket, so it doesn’t overheat.
- Please turn off the electric blanket when you’re not using it.
While electric blankets, like all other electronic devices, carry a certain amount of safety risk, with proper usage, these blankets have proven to be a very safe item to use at home.
Electric blankets are a straightforward product to use. They generate heat using electrical conduction and are infused into one’s blanket.
While they do pose certain safety risks, if not used properly, users who adhere to the safety should not need to worry. Therefore, if you look for a cheaper, less energy-consuming alternative to heaters, an electric blanket may be just what you’re looking for.