Now that cooler weather has arrived, you can revel in warm sweaters, cozy socks and comfy blankets. Is your new electric blanket safe to use? Follow these simple safety guidelines to ensure your electric blanket doesn’t create a fire hazard.
- Choose an electric blanket that conforms to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards. This safety certification organization has been testing products and establishing standards for over 100 years.
- Lay the heated area of the electric blanket flat rather than folded or balled up so the heat doesn’t become too intense.
- Place the blanket on top of you, not under you, to prevent damaging the blanket’s internal coils. Keep other items such as books, pillows and stuffed animals off of the blanket so heat has a way to escape.
- Keep pets away from electric blankets, especially while in use. A sharp claw or tooth could puncture the cord insulation or damage the wires.
- Turn off the electric blanket when no one is using it. Most models have no internal temperature control, so they will not automatically turn off if they overheat.
- Loosely wrap the control cords around the blanket when folding it up for storage.
- Turn off and unplug the electric blanket immediately if you see smoke or smell something burning. Blanket discoloration could indicate melting or burning internal elements.
- Call the manufacturer for advice if your electric blanket starts operating improperly, such as if one area of the blanket becomes overheated or you see a scorch mark on the blanket. If you can’t resolve the improper operation, discontinue using the product.
- Don’t use electric blankets on infants or toddlers, people with disabilities, or anyone who can’t operate the heating controls themselves.
- Don't use an electric blanket all night unless it is specifically rated for safe overnight use.
- Don’t run the power cord between the mattress and the box spring when using the electric blanket in bed. This could damage or heat up the cord and potentially cause a fire.
- Don’t twist or pinch the control cords since this could damage them. This is also means you shouldn’t use electric blankets with adjustable hospital beds, sofa sleepers, or Murphy beds where the cords could become pinched in the bed-folding mechanisms.
- Don’t use an electric blanket on a waterbed.
- Don’t use an electric blanket and a heated mattress pad at the same time. The combined warmth could cause overheating and possibly start a fire.
- Don’t wash your electric blanket. The twisting and tugging motions of a washing machine are almost certain to damage the internal coils.
- Don’t iron your electric blanket. This could melt the cord insulation.
- Don’t dry clean your electric blanket. Solvents used in dry cleaning could damage the cord insulation.
It may seem like using an electric blanket comes with many do’s and don’ts, but most of them are fairly common sense. Use your electric blanket safely and you’ll enjoy added warmth and coziness this winter.
For help with other electrical issues in your home, please contact Mr. Electric® today. Did you know Mr. Electric is part of Neighborly, a community of home service brands, that can help you with needs from plumbing to painting, from landscaping to home cleaning. For example, check out Mr. Rooter Plumbing tips on how to avoid frozen pipes during the cold, electric blanket season weather!