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In short, you can but you shouldn’t. Modern electric heated blankets are safe to use when sleeping but it’s not a good practice in general. Here’s why.
Modern electric blankets from reputable brands are safe and packed with features (such as auto shut-off timers) that enable you to sleep using them. And there are a lot of people who do it. Blankets that are not powered by electricity or battery-powered cordless heated blankets are even safer.
However, the practice of sleeping under a heated blanket as such isn’t that good an idea. For one, while sleeping, you’re prone to overheating as you aren’t able to control the heat manually. You’re also susceptible to failures, which, albeit rare, can still happen.
The best idea is to heat your bed with a blanket before going to bed, then relying on other methods to heat the bed without and electric blanket and keep yourself warm through the night.
Leaving an Electric Heated Blanket On All Night
One of the most prevalent concerns about electric blankets is whether it’s possible to leave them on overnight. Although a new, well-maintained electric blanket is unlikely to cause proper usage issues, it is not recommended to keep electric blankets on all night.
Instead, it’s helpful to use electric blankets to warm up your bed before you get in and turn them off before falling asleep. The most advanced models have timers that give you the luxury of falling asleep in a bed that’s still warming up. But you can also use a manual model to turn it off, heat the bed just enough, and then turn it off before you fall asleep.
When using an electric blanket to heat your bed, try warming the sheet-covered mattress with no blankets on. Then, pull up the covers and lay down the electric blanket as the top sheet. The covers will trap the heat in the mattress so that the whole bed will feel comfortable when you get in. And after you turn the heat off, you can feel the warmth for up to an hour, allowing you plenty of time to fall asleep.
The big question is, “are electric blankets safe to sleep with?” While the fire risk has decreased, with just 0.04 percent of total home fires annually being related to electric blankets. That’s still possible because the heated electric wiring is easily damaged if mistreated. This can cause overheating, sparks, and fires.
Insurance companies see electric blankets as a threat anyway. They have safety tips on their websites and campaign for no overnight use.
There are other questions, as well. It is important to remember that the heat will disturb your sleep if the blanket gets too warm.
Electric Heated Blanket Safety
Most electric blankets look similar. They are woven with electric wires that produce heat. The wires are sensitive to damage, which makes them fragile. The first step to properly look after an electric blanket is to treat them with respect.
Even though they have a soft nature, be careful, and check your covers before you plug them in. To be on the safe side, check the blanket for any evidence of harm and discard it if need be. It’s typically not worth the risk of buying a used electric blanket. Don’t fold these blankets because the folds can cause the wires to split.
You can print out the paperwork that comes with every new electric blanket before beginning to use it. These are just suggestions. Do not keep electric blankets longer than recommended. Repair them for excellent maintenance.
Please do not put any blankets or quilts on top of an electric blanket as they are intended to be the sole and top sheet. They will break down and come apart when unused. There are concerns about the safety of electric blankets that can result in fire or burns if they are misused.
Consider purchasing new electric blankets if you like sleeping with them because they have fire and burn safety switches in them.
According to Columbia University, the majority (99% percent) of electric blanket fires are caused by older models. That’s only because they are not equipped with temperature controls to help prevent them from getting too hot.
It would be an unnecessary and potentially dangerous danger to keep your electric blanket on all night. This contributes to heat and dehydration. There are some doubts regarding the protection of extended-term exposure to electromagnetic waves emitted by the blanket.
Takeaway: tiny wires running through the blanket can be vulnerable to damage. These can overheat quickly and cause sparks and fire, which is why it’s necessary to turn them off before bedtime and before leaving home. Do not leave an electric blanket switched on while unattended.
These are the general safety measures you should take when using an electric heated blanket:
- Expect to see a seal stating that the blanket has been checked by a nationally accredited independent testing body, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Under no conditions can you buy a secondhand electric blanket.
- Ignore blankets with signs of prolonged wear such as frayed electrical cord or wear and tear on covers.
- Though modern heating blankets are considered safe, you should treat them correctly.
- When not in use, you should switch off the blanket.
- Don’t use two or more electric blankets at a time.
- Don’t use a heating pad and an electric blanket at the same time.
- Keep the bottom portion of the blanket up to the light. If you see damaged or displaced heating wires, don’t use the blanket on top of the faulty part.
- To prevent accidentally starting your blanket, do not plug it into a wall outlet powered by a light switch.
- It would be best if you did not lie or sit on top of an electric blanket.
- Often shield the edges of an electric blanket from being tucked under the covers.
- It would be best if you did not use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket.
- The electric blanket should not be turned on when it is wet.
- It is not acceptable to use an electric blanket with an adjustable bed or waterbed.
- Handle electric blankets carefully so that they are not harmed.
- Don’t roll, fold, or ball up your electric blanket.
- To sleep comfortably at night, note to turn off your blanket before going to bed.
- Don’t fill an electric blanket with bulky things to prevent short circuits.
- Don’t take an electric blanket to the dry cleaners.
Even though the risk is minimal, you still shouldn’t sleep with an electric blanket on because even the smallest risk is too high when it concerns your health.
Most electric blankets shouldn’t be put into a tumble dryer even if they are machine-washable. The description usually indicates this. At best, you can do it on the lowest setting.
The risk is 0.04%. Moreover, 99% of the fires are caused by old electric blankets.
No, electric blankets use very little electricity compared to a space heater, or even an electric kettle used to heat water for a hot water bottle. Modern heated blankets are very energy-efficient.
The answer varies per model. Most modern heated blankets are machine-washable.
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