How do electric blankets work?
“I was so excited when I got my electric blanket for Christmas. I had been dreaming about cuddling up in bed with a warm blanket all winter long!
But what’s the point if it doesn’t work? It can’t just be me, right?”
The truth is that there are plenty of people out there who have no idea how an electric blanket works or why they’re using one, to begin with.
You might be thinking you’re doing something wrong but trust me, you’re not alone. Rest easy and read on to find out more about this intriguing product and how it can make your life much warmer and cozier during those cold winter months ahead.
What is an electric blanket?
An electric blanket is a type of bedding accessory that connects to your main electrical supply and warms up for use. It’s typically made out of synthetic fibers or cotton, but you’ll find some brands do produce them from wool as well.
Electric blankets are not the same thing as an electric heating pads which we will be discussing in another blog post.
These blankets are very different from the traditional quilts or comforters you’re used to seeing; they have a thin wire running through them which is what allows them to heat up when plugged in, and sometimes contain additional wiring around the edges as well for safety purposes.
Mechanism – How does an electric blanket work?
The blanket itself is attached to a control box that features dials or buttons for you to adjust the heat.
For your electric blanket’s wiring to work, it needs two things – an electrical current and some sort of heating element which can generate warmth when in contact with this power supply. The wire itself will carry electricity from the control box to the heating coils, which are either metal or ceramic and heat up when direct contact is made.
Types of electric blankets
For your blanket to work properly, it should be plugged directly into a wall outlet rather than through an extension cord as this might trip the circuit breaker due to increased demand for electricity. The only exception to this is if you’re using an extension cord for your other appliances and are well aware of the total amperage draw.
You can choose from two types of electric blankets – fitted or flat which both vary in size as well. For example, a single-sized version will fit on any standard twin bed while larger sizes like king or queen are designed to fit these mattresses specifically. It’s important to check your mattress measurements before purchasing anything as well so that you can be certain it will work on top of your bedding in the first place.
Fitted electric blankets – this is a blanket with pockets sewn into four corners that allow you to slide them over any mattress and tuck them in so they won’t slip off, causing a potential hazard.
Flat electric blankets – this is the more popular choice for most people as it does not require any additional installation or fuss on your part. Simply attach the control box to one of your bed’s four posts and you’ll be ready to go!
Advantages and Disadvantages of electric blankets
These appliances have a few notable benefits which make them such an appealing choice in the first place. For example, they are very safe and do not pose any threat to your health or safety due to their low-voltage rating (typically 12 volts).
Electric blankets can be used during all four seasons as well since they can warm up to an average of 93 degrees Fahrenheit, which should be more than enough for use in any weather conditions.
There are also different auto-shutoff features available on some models so that you can rest easy knowing it won’t burn out if left unattended.
The only downside is that electric blankets do tend to keep your bedding much hotter than you’d expect, so this is something to keep in mind when using them.
People with small children should be especially cautious about leaving a plugged-in blanket where their kids can reach it unassisted as they might try to climb underneath or play with the control box itself.
In most cases, however, electric blankets are perfectly safe to use and quite popular among many individuals.
How Much Electricity Does an Electric Blanket Use?
Some people might be wondering how much electricity exactly an electric blanket uses to power up.
For your blanket to function properly, it should draw a maximum of approximately 300 watts per hour which will vary depending on the size and thickness of your fabric. The control box itself only draws about 120 volts or less at its peak demand point.
Safety Measures and Precautions to take while using an electric blanket
Electric blankets are a great way to keep warm during the winter months, but you must take certain precautions so as not to avoid tripping your circuit breaker or make yourself sick.
If possible, plug them directly into an outlet instead of through an extension cord to prevent any potential hazards. You should also unplug them when you’re not using them to avoid automatically starting up at a random time.
If your blanket feels hot underneath, do NOT attempt to remove the fabric as this can cause burns or other injuries. Instead, turn it off and wait until it cools down before going near it again.
Lastly, never leave an electric blanket plugged in while you’re away from home or asleep in bed as this can result in a short circuit of sorts which might lead to an electrical fire.
- Overheating in an electric blanket
One of the most common issues that people seem to have with electric blankets is overheating. This usually occurs if you’ve placed it on top of your bedding for too long before getting into bed, so make sure to never let it get over 93 degrees Fahrenheit or anything more than 115 at its peak demand point in order not to burn yourself.
- Cancer changes in electric blanket
There are some concerns that electric blankets may pose a health risk due to their low-voltage rating, but researchers have yet to find any conclusive evidence as of today. Electric blankets use very little electricity and cause no significant temperature changes within your body which minimize the risk for most types of cancer associated with electrical currents or electromagnetic radiation.
The only exception to this is if you have a pacemaker installed or happen to be pregnant (and near your first trimester), as there’s still some degree of risk involved with prolonged exposure.
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