If you are as cold natured as I am your Christmas gifts have included just about every cozy item on the market, including outliers like battery-operated, heated socks. Which brings me to my next point – my own body heat is not enough. You can wrap me in flannel and throw fleece over me, and my body temperature in the winter will still hover around freezing point.
That’s why electric throws are such a god-sent. Since the first blanket was made, and that was before written history, the concept was the same – trapping your body heat and minimizing the energy loss.
An electric blanket is a completely different animal. They actually – get this – GENERATE HEAT! What a novel concept!
Well, a “novel” is perhaps too strong of a word, since the electric blanket has been around for over a century now. The first one came from a physician named Sydney Russell in 1912, but it wasn’t until the last decade or two that all the security issues were solved, making the heated blankets a true gift to all the fellow cold sleepers out there.
Why Use an Electric Blanket?
Let’s be blunt and start with a very basic reason – money
When using an electric blanket, you don’t have to turn up the thermostat at night in the winter. The house may feel like a meat locker if we get up in the middle of the night, but the heat doesn’t have to blow 24/7.
So, we stay warmer and save money on winter fuel.
We sleep better
Again with sleep, but it is IMPORTANT! People with normal circulation and ability to generate their own body heat just don’t understand the importance of a warm bed in the winter.
With an electric blanket, you can actually stretch out during the night. That’s something you don’t heard often if you’re cold sleeper.
If the space is cold, we usually get into bed, curl into a fetal position and try to move as little as possible.
You can’t understand if you’re not a cold sleeper – you’ve never spent the night curled up like a roly-poly because there is only one warm spot on the bed. Heaven forbid that you should let an elbow or foot stray into the arctic regions, because you’ll be jolted awake. Your whole body is now chilled and you can’t go back to sleep.
But with an electric blanket, you can stretch out on an entire beach. The whole surface of the bed is warm! To all the “cold-feet” people: THERE IS HOPE!
Electric Blanket Safety
Are electric blankets safe? When I was a kid, we were warned to e very careful not to fold the blanket or get a kink in the wires. That certainly made for a very stressful night, as we tried not to move and “wad up” the blanket.
The times have changed and the safety issues are mostly resolved. Just to be on the safe side, below is a checklist of features to go over to find the best electric throw or blanket for your needs, primarily regarding safety.
Here is what to look for:
- UL listing: Underwriters Laboratories sets the standards for the safety of electrical appliances in the U.S. They actually have a pretty comprehensive set of requirements, and any electric bedding has to pass the UL964 tests and adhere to the ASTM standards.
- Durability: You actually CAN wash and dry an electric blanket. Look for a fabric that doesn’t shed or get pills on it. This will eventually make the fabric so thin as to be useless. Choose a flexible fabric that is comfortable against your skin. A good electric blanket will last for about 5 years with regular laundering.
- Pets: If you sleep with a pet, choose your electric blanket carefully. A low voltage blanket may be preferable if your pet chews on linens, claws furniture, or has accidents on the bed. In these cases, and electric mattress pad may be preferable, since it will be covered with a sheet and somewhat protected.
- Don’t: buy a used electric blanket. You have no idea whether or not it has a broken wire in it.
- Don’t: use an electric throw or blanket if you can see exposed wires or scorch marks.
- Don’t: let small children and infants use electric blankets.
Comfort of Your Electric Blanket
If your heated electric throw is not comfortable or easy to use, it will stay in the closet. Here are some things to consider when you to choose a cozy, comfortable one.
- Can the user see the controls? Sometimes, the user can’t see the controls at night without their glasses, and they can’t change the temperature. You may need lighted controls to make this easier.
- Can the user easily operate the controls? Hard to turn dials or tiny push button controls can be hard for some people to operate.
- Ranges of heat settings make it easier find your personal comfort level.
- With an automatic shut-off, you don’t have to worry about remembering to turn off the blanket. Most automatic blankets will warm for 10 hours after you turn them on, and then shut off.
- Blanket weight makes a difference. Some people want an electric blanket so they don’t have to pile on covers in the winter. If weight matters, you might consider a lightweight electric blanket combined with a heated mattress pad.
- If there are two people sleeping in the bed, look for a blanket with dual controls.
- Will the user sleep with a pet? An incontinent pet, or a user who might spill liquids on the bed, might require the use of a low voltage blanket. You can also get stain-proof blankets and mattress pads.
- If you feel like your heated blanket is not warm enough, add a comforter or duvet on top (if you can take the weight.) Some of the heat from your blanket will radiate upward, and can be contained with a cover.
What’s the difference between a throw and a blanket?
To put it simply, a blanket will be bigger – they come in the same size as regular blanket, whilst a throw will be more of a sofa accessory.
Throws are something to curl up on your sofa as it snows outside, with a nice cup of steaming cocoa and playlist of “The Office” or your favorite book ready to waste your day in the best possible way.
Guest Post by Bob Ozment