When properly used and maintained, an electric blanket is a comforting way to get through New Zealand’s chilly winter months. However, if safety precautions are not followed when using one of these warm blankets, you could be at risk of injury or a fire.
An electric blanket should only be used to warm the bed. To avoid overheating (which can be life threatening, especially for the very young, ill or elderly), it should be turned off before you get into bed. In addition, keep the blanket turned off when you’re not in the room. Most electric blankets do not have automatic shut-offs when reaching a potentially dangerous high temperature, so could cause a burn or a fire hazard.
Checking Your Electric Blanket for Damage
Before using your blanket, be sure to check for damage to the heating elements. To do so, lay the blanket flat and turn it on for 15 minutes at the highest setting. Watch it closely, then turn it off. Feel for hot spots by running your hand over the blanket. Hot spots mean that the heating element’s kinked or damaged, which could lead to electric shock or fire. Look for any kinks, fraying cords, worn or exposed wires and scorch marks as well. If any type of danger is found, safely dispose of the electric blanket.
A Proper Fit Means a Safe Fit!
A properly fit electric blanket lays flat on the bed without creasing, thereby avoiding damage to the heating elements. Be sure to avoid using pins or other sharp objects to attach the blanket. Keep the cord and control switch clear of the bed so that they don’t get damaged.
Get a Replacement Regularly
Old electric blankets are more likely to be dangerous; in fact, blankets that are ten years or older account for 99% of all electric blanket fires. Replace old blankets every few years, even if they still appear to be working. Don’t ever use a blanket that is damaged. To ensure you stay safe while using an electric blanket, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommended safety precautions.
Some Extra Safety Tips to Keep In Mind
- Check that your electric blanket can be washed before doing so; never use a wet electric blanket
- Don’t fold up or ball up the blanket when it’s operating because this concentrates the heat unevenly, thereby increasing the risk of burns
- Avoid laying on top of the blanket as this can cause electrical wire damage
- Never dry clean a heating blanket because the chemicals used in the process can damage heating insulation and increase fire risk
- Consider using non-electric alternatives to keep you warm like using flannel sheets, wearing socks or adding extra blankets
Save on Energy Costs this Winter!
Looking for ways to save on energy costs this winter? If so, Switchme’s free, online power comparison calculator can easily show you what your options are regarding New Zealand energy providers. Contact us today for more details!