Electric Blanket Safety

Cooler weather is here! You can enjoy warm sweaters, fuzzy socks and  . . . your electric blanket. But, is it safe to use?  Follow these simple electric blanket safety “dos and don’ts” to ensure you don’t create an unsafe situation in your home.

Electric Blanket Safety: DO!

  • Select an electric blanket that follows the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards. They have been testing products and establishing standards for more than 100 years.
  • Place the blanket over you, not under you, so you do not damage the blanket’s internal coils. Keep items away from the blanket that confine heat to escape such as books, technology and stuffed animals.
  • Lay the heated area of the electric blanket flat instead of folding or balling it up so the heat doesn’t become too hot.
  • Keep pets off electric blankets, especially while on. A sharp claw or animal’s tooth could puncture the cord insulation or damage the wires.
  • Only loosely wrap the control cords around the blanket when preparing for storage.
  • Immediately turn off and unplug the blanket if you see smoke or smell something burning. Notice any blanket discoloration which could indicate melting or burning inside elements.
  • Keep the electric blanket turned off when no one is using it. Most models have no temperature control, so they will not automatically turn off if they overheat.
  • Call the manufacturer with any questions – especially if your blanket starts operating improperly. Examples include: one area of the blanket becomes overheated, or you see a burn mark on the blanket. If you can’t resolve the problem, discontinue using the blanket.

Image of a folded electric blanket

Electric Blanket Safety: DON’T!

  • Don’t use electric blankets on babies or young children, people with disabilities, or anyone who cannot operate the blanket’s heating controls independently.
  • Don’t use an electric blanket all night unless it is designed for safe overnight use.
  • Don’t run the power cord under the mattress when using the electric blanket in bed. It could damage or heat up the cord so hot that it causes a fire.
  • Don’t twist or bend the control cords since this could damage them. This also means you shouldn’t use electric blankets with adjustable hospital beds or sofa sleepers where the cords could become pinched in the bed-folding mechanisms.
  • Don’t use an electric blanket if you are sleeping on a waterbed.
  • Don’t combine an electric blanket and a heated mattress pad. Using them together could cause overheating and start a fire.
  • Don’t wash an electric blanket. The motions of the washing machine will most likely cause damage to the internal coils.
  • Don’t iron the blanket because it could melt the cord insulation.
  • Don’t send out your electric blanket for dry cleaning. Solvents used in the dry cleaning process could damage the cord insulation.

This may seem like using an electric blanket comes more rules than they are worth, but most of them are fairly common sense. If you use your electric blanket safely you’ll enjoy the added warmth and coziness they bring during a cold winter.

If you have concerns about electrical safety in your home, then call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.