Are Electric Blankets Safe? Precautions and Safety Tips
For a warm night's sleep when the temperature drops, electric blankets are a popular choice. However, electric blankets have some risks you need to be aware of.
When you're asleep in a cold bedroom, it can be hard to fall asleep, but reducing the thermostat at night can save you money. Using a battery heated blanket can provide homeowners with a cozy bedtime routine and save them money and energy.
If you live in a colder climate, a battery powered heated blanket can help you beat the cold and save on your heating bills. It's electric, so it heats up. It gives you warmth when you're cold. You'd think this would be the perfect solution to combat the cold weather and save on heating.
When it comes to the cost of running a battery operated heated blanket, 200 watts could be used by a battery powered heated blanket. If the electric blanket is left turned on for 10 straight hours, it will use up to 2 kilowatt hours. Depending on where you live, it'd cost 15 to 30 cents.
An electric blanket usually has between 100 and 150 watts. A battery heated blanket doesn’t consume a lot of energy if you use it properly. A 150-watt battery heated blanket used for 6 hours a night for 4 months will use 108 kWh.
Are Electric Blankets a Safety Concern?
As long as you use them correctly and follow the manufacturer guidelines, electric blankets aren't dangerous. Incorrect use, however, can make electric blankets dangerous.
There are three main dangers associated with battery operated heated blanket:
- A person or a house catching fire and being burned
- Second-degree burns due to extended use and exposure
Electric blankets are dangerous to sleep with because if they catch fire while you are asleep, you could get seriously hurt or even die. A blanket with constant heat - up to 120 degrees - could also cause second-degree burns if you're exposed too long.
Moreover, electrical blankets can cause heat stroke, which can cause death. Experiencing the blanket's heat for hours on end can cause dehydration, causing a person's ability to keep cool to be impaired. This could cause a life-threatening spike in body temperature.
If you're sensitive, unable to communicate, or have diminished capacity, don't use an electric blanket. Also, pregnant women should be careful since they shouldn't raise their body temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
The use of electric blankets is not just associated with long-term health consequences but also with real-time risks. If you use an electric blanket and a heated mattress pad, you could overheat.
Modern electric blankets come with plastic covers over the wires, so they're safe for kids who bed-wet. Nevertheless, long-term storage of electric blankets over the summer can cause the wiring to degenerate, so make sure you check it for damage before using it, even if you just bought it. In addition, the elderly may have other health issues that pose a risk of misusing the product or impairing their ability to respond.
Electric blankets have gotten a lot of attention lately. But are they safe to sleep with? Even though there is a decrease in fire risks, only .04 % of home fires are caused by electric blankets, but still, they do cause fire incidents in the home. You have to be careful when handling the wires that heat the blanket, and they can crimp easily. Mishandling of wires can result in fires, sparks, and overheating.
How to Avoid Potential Safety Risks?
- You don't want the water touching or splashing on the battery operated heated blanket, as it can damage the wiring.
- Don't wrap the blanket up when not in use, as it can short-circuit the wiring.
- Babies, old people, and people with disabilities shouldn't use electric blanketsbecause they can't use the controls. The risk of overheating is there.
- The wires inside the blanket can be damaged if you tinker with them.
- If you have a foldable bed, don't use a battery powered heated blanketbecause the wiring can fray or tear.
- Electric blanketscan get destroyed if they're washed.
- If your blanket has cuts or tears, or exposed wiring, don't use it.
- Be careful with your battery operated heated blanketif it's overheating or not responding. It’s better not to use it if it overheats or doesn't respond to controls.
- Don't use an old, worn-out blanket.
How to Use an Electric Blanket Safely?
The risks of electric blankets are the same as anything that generates heat. It's important to follow safety practices when using these blankets in your bed. To keep you and your family warm this winter, check out our tips for using electric blankets safely.
Use it on an average typical bed
It's best to put these blankets on a normal bed because they need to stay flat. Waterbeds and adjustable beds can damage the blanket, so avoid them.
- Put it at the top
Electric blankets are designed to be the top layer; don't add extra blankets or quilts on top. Putting them underneath can cause them to overheat.
- Keeping your blanket safely stored
Once you've used your battery heated blanket, unplug it and let it cool down. Fold it gently to avoid damaging the wires. Make sure it's out of kids' and pets' reach.
- Check the blanket
Check your blanket annually and be sure your electric blanket is in good shape. Make sure the blanket doesn't have creases, kinks, or broken heating wires by laying it flat on your bed. Also, make sure the cords for the controller plugs aren't frayed. You shouldn't use the blanket again if you find any damage to it. That's why you should unplug and cut the power cord on the blanket to make sure it's never used again.
Remember, you should replace the electric blankets every 10 years and get them tested by a licensed electrician every 2 years.
Adding to the safety tips for electric blankets is:
- Use one that shuts off automatically after a while. Electric blanketsshouldn't be left on all night.
- Use blankets certified by Underwriters Laboratories or Electrical Testing Laboratories
- Make sure the blanket is low-voltage
- Get it unplugged when not in use
- Preventing the blanket from getting wet. Do not use a hot water bottle or drink fluids while wearing an electric blanket. Drinking water or spilling a water bottle will mix water and electricity.
- What to watch for when there are danger signals: Burnt-out plugs or sockets, blowing fuses without a reason, lights that flicker.
- After using the blanket, let it cool down.
- When you notice the blanket isn't working right, throw it out.
- Keep the heat level within the manufacturer's specs.
- Make sure you use an electric blanket that's new and up-to-date. Old blankets should be thrown away and replaced.
- Don't forget to read the manual.
Electric Blankets and Diabetes
High blood glucose levels can cause neuropathy or nerve damage in people with diabetes. In this case, they can't feel the actual heat level of an electric blanket, resulting in overheating or burning. It's for this reason that doctors don't always recommend electric blankets or heating pads.
An alternative strategy is to heat the bed with an electric blanket before someone enters it, then turn it off or take it off when it's time for bed.
Electric Blankets and Blood Circulation
It might not be safe to use an electric blanket if you have circulation issues.
People with nerve damage and poor blood circulation shouldn't use an electrical blanket because their health problems make it hard for them to identify when the blanket becomes extremely hot, so they're more likely to get burned.
Circulation problems may make a person less sensitive to heat. It's because the skin plays such an important role in thermoregulation, the body's temperature-control system. As a result, people might not realize that an electric blanket is getting too hot and end up burning themselves. Consult a doctor if you're worried about using these products.
Electric Blankets and Pregnancy
Non-ionizing radiation may make electric blankets unsafe during pregnancy. Radiation exposure may increase the risk of miscarriage. Miscarriages were twice as common in the high exposure group as in the low exposure group, according to a study.
Environment affects fetuses in the womb. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that pregnant women not use electric blankets because they can cause complications.
Though modern safety advances have made these devices safer, you should still treat them like any other electric device in your home. Overheating, burns, and fires should be avoided with proper use and storage. Take your age and health into account too. Using these items is most dangerous for the elderly, diabetics, pregnant women, young kids, and pets, so if you're one of these people, use a space heater instead.
When it's cold outside, heating pads and electric blankets can be great for keeping you warm, but make sure you follow the recommended guidelines to keep yourself safe.