When those nights are turning chillier, thoughts are turning to keeping warmer particularly at night when the central heating might be switched off.
Electric blankets have long been popular option for having a warm toasty bed to sleep in at night. Used correctly, they are safer than hot water bottles which carry a scolding risk particularly if the lids are not secured correctly.
However, it is important to take appropriate safety precautions as electric blankets, should they be used incorrectly can cause injury or worse. Like any other electrical appliance, care should be taken in it’s use and a proper inspection should take place before switching it on.
Unfortunately electric blankets are responsible for 5000 electrical fires a year in UK homes. These are easily prevented by checking for warning signs that the blanket is dangerous.
If there is any doubt over the safety of the electric blanket then it should not be used. It is far easier to replace your electric blanket than your home and family!
Look out for these warning signs that your electric blanket may be dangerous. If you spot any of these warning signs, do not use it and either replace it or call a qualified electrician to come and check it over.
Fraying fabric, Scorch marks, exposed elements, Creasing or folding, Soiling, Damp patches, Tie tapes damaged or missing, Worn flex, and Loose connections.
Remember electric blankets should not be folded when not in use as this can damage the delicate elements and wires inside them. Normally electric blankets can be rolled for storage or can be stored on a spare bed or even kept on your own bed if you wish to do so.
Storage requirements do vary though amongst electric blankets, so always store according to the manufacturers instructions. Never guess or do what you did with your other electric blankets.
When your electric blanket should be checked or replaced
Your electric blanket should replaced after 10 years. If you are not sure how old your blanket is, take a look at the BEAB safety mark. If it is round, your blanket is more than 10 years old and needs to be replaced. The current BEAB mark is white capital letters on a black background.
When buying a replacement electric blanket, always buy new, never second hand and look for the British or European standard and make sure it has a safety certification mark. Make sure that the blanket also has overheat protection. This means that if you accidentally switch on your electric blanket it will not burn you or set your bed alight.
It is also important that you have your electric blanket checked over every 3 years by a qualified electrician. It will be tested and serviced by an expert for your safety and peace of mind.
Electric blankets are more widely used by older people. Many older people who I visit are not aware of the dangers of electric blankets and I see many old electric blankets in use every year in my local area. If you have an older family member who uses an electric blanket, it would be a good idea to check their electric blanket for them to ensure they stay safe this Winter.