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  • Man sleeping in bed

    The Low-Down on Electric Blankets

July 2019

Electric under-blankets, over-blankets and heated throws are a popular choice for those who feel the cold at night. If you’re in the market for an electric blanket, read on.

On a cold winter’s night, nothing beats the feeling of sliding into a cosy bed that has been warmed up with an electric blanket. It’s one of life’s little luxuries – and the good news is that it can actually be a more economical way to stay warm in winter than other forms of heating.

Choosing your electric blanket

To ensure that you get the best performance from your electric blanket, there are some things you could look out for before you buy:

  • Choose one that will fit snugly to your bed – fitted electric blankets are generally more efficient and comfortable than those with string ties.
  • Choose one with an overheat protection sensor – it will safely switch itself off if it gets too hot.
  • Compare the energy usage of different electric blankets – some are more energy efficient than others1. This includes programmable blankets that automatically switch off after a certain time or if a pre-set temperature is reached - meaning you can control both the intensity and duration of the heat.
  • Thicker, fleece electric blankets may be more comfortable for you.
  • To ensure that your electric blanket meets Australia’s rigorous safety standards, only buy those that conform to the Australian Standard 3350.2.17:2000.

How to use an electric blanket

Once you’ve brought your blanket home and have fitted it to your bed, here are some tips for using it each night:

  • Switch your electric blanket on before you start your bedtime routine – it should take about 30 minutes to heat up your bed, although the time it takes can be affected by things like the ambient air temperature and the type of doona or blanket you have on your bed.
  • If your doona is well-insulated, then you can probably turn your electric blanket off once you’re in bed – the warmth that has been generated should last all night long.

At the end of winter, carefully roll up your electric blanket so you don’t damage any of the heating pads or wires. Store it away over summer so it’s ready to come out and work its magic again next year.

How to save energy costs with an electric blanket

While the cost of running an electric blanket is low, you can further reduce the cost by:

  • Using the timer (if yours has one) to switch off the blanket a few minutes after you’re in bed
  • Using a lower heat setting.
  • Turning the power off at the outlet when the blanket isn’t in use.
  • Switching off any other heating in your bedroom.

Electric blanket vs heater

There are many ways you can reduce your energy bill in winter – an electric blanket is certainly one of them.

Generally, you should find that an electric blanket will save you money on your energy bill when compared to a heater. Depending on the type of heater or heating system you have in your house, the cost of heating up your whole bedroom is going to be much more than the cost of powering up an electric blanket for half an hour or so before bedtime.

Given all the variables, it’s hard to provide an exact comparison of electric blankets and heaters. On average, they cost less than approximately 5 cents per hour to run, while some space heaters can cost much more2.

The final word

An electric blanket can be a cost-effective and comfortable way to stay warm at night. By following a few simple guidelines, you can choose an efficient, safe blanket and use it all winter long.

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