Electric blankets can provide some much needed warmth and comfort during the long winter months. Nothing beats a personal heat source on your bed, staving off the nighttime chills. Electric blankets can even help you save money by allowing you to keep your thermostat turned down a few notches. However, these blankets can also be a fire hazard, particularly if they are old or damaged. Read on to learn more about how to stay safe if you choose to use an electric blanket this winter.
Bringing Electrical Work to Your Bed
If you do decide to use an electric blanket, make sure you carefully follow all the instructions regarding use, care and storage so you maintain it in good condition. Most electric blankets are designed to be rolled or hung up when not in use, since folding or bunching them can damage the heating wires. Once a blanket becomes damaged or stops working properly, it's time to dispose of it so you don't risk a fire. Blankets that are more than three years old should be checked carefully, and once they hit a decade of service, it's time to retire them even if they still appear to be in good shape.
You also need to inspect the blanket's cord and verify that it isn't worn, frayed or otherwise damaged. It's generally a bad idea to run the cord under the mattress or under a carpet, which can speed up its deterioration, but you also need to prevent children or pets from chewing on it or playing with it. The best option is often to store the blanket out of harm's way during the day when it's not in use.
Weighing the Benefits and Risks
Even a well-functioning electric blanket can be a hazard if you aren't careful with it. Some authorities even recommend using electric blankets to pre-heat the bed, then stowing them before you actually climb in. When you have an active electric blanket on the bed, you need to also make sure you don't leave any heat sensitive materials above or below it.
Additionally, pregnant women and people suffering from certain illnesses need to be careful that they don't allow an electric blanket to overheat their bodies. Excessive heat can harm developing fetuses, as well as people who have diseases like diabetes. Safer options for supplemental heat sources include a hot water bottle tucked under the blanket, or an electric space heater to warm up an otherwise chilly room.
Expert Treatment for Your Electrical Work
For help evaluating the safety of your wiring or any other electrical work, call an expert electrician today.