Hands up who has been using their electric blanket already this winter? With the colder nights approaching many of us are turning to our electric blankets at bedtime or even electric throws to keep us extra cosy and warm whilst relaxing on the sofa.
Electric blankets may keep us all warm and cosy, but have you ever considered if the one you have is safe to use? It’s been reported electric blankets cause over 5000 fires a year in the home. Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow, to make sure your electric blanket does not cause any danger to anyone, or fire hazard.
Electric blanket do’s
- Replace your electric blanket at least every 10 years
- Make sure your electric blanket conforms to British or European standards and has a safety certification mark
- When in use, lay your electric blanket out flat. This allows the heat to be evenly spread and not too intense in one area if all scrunched up.
- Keep all items off the blanket so the heat does not get trapped to one area. This includes any teddy’s, books, pillows and cushions.
- Make sure your pets are not allowed near your electric blankets. Sharp teeth and claws could easily damage the blanket or electrical wires.
- Ensure you turn off your electrical blanket when it’s not in use, to stop it from overheating. Some have a temperature control and timer, which can be really useful.
- When storing your electric blanket and folding it, wrap the loose wires around it, so they do not get tangled.
- If you ever see discolouration to your blanket or smell burning, turn off and unplug your electric blankets straight away.
- If you are ever unsure or need advice, contact the manufacturer of the electric blanket. Stop using the blanket and buy a replacement, if you are concerned at all.
Electric blanket don’ts
- Don’t get your electric blanket wet. If you do, never turn it on to dry it.
- Do not use an electric blanket on anyone who cannot control the temperature or turn it on and off themselves.
- Don’t have your electric blanket on throughout the night, without checking if it specifically says it can be used all night long.
- Don’t trap the power leads in the mattress or any other object. This could cause the cord to overheat, which could result in a fire. Keep the power cord loose and out the way of any hazards.
- Don’t put your electric blanket into the washing machine to be cleaned. The washing motion will most certainly damage the wires and internal cords. Solvents used in dry cleaning could also damage the cord insulation. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your blanket.
- Don’t iron your electric blanket. The heat from the iron could melt the internal cords.
Most of the electric blanket advice is pretty simple, but make sure you never risk your safety. If your blanket show any of the following danger signs, then discontinue use and buy a replacement.
Electric Blanket Danger Signs
- Scorch marks or discolouration
- Frayed wires
- Damaged fabric
- Exposed elements
- Damp patches
- Loose connections
- Damaged plug
- Signs of smoke
- Burning smell when in use
- Any crackling or noises heard when turned on