heating bills

Electric Blanket Safety

Sometimes it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep if the temperature in your bedroom is too cold. However, setting the thermostat to a cooler setting while you sleep can help save money on your winter heating bills. An electric blanket can help bridge the gap, allowing you to lower the thermostat without sacrificing sleeping comfort.

Because electric blankets generate heat, they need to be used with caution, just like any heating appliance. There are risks, especially if your electric blanket is damaged or misused. If you follow a few simple safety measures, you can save money, stay warm, and enjoy a safe and comfortable night’s sleep.

How An Electric Blanket Works

There are several different types of electric blankets.

An underblanket is designed to above the mattress and below the bottom bed sheet. It warms the bed from the bottom up.

Another type of electric blanket is the overblanket. This type of electric blanket is usually placed above the top sheet, but underneath other blankets.

While there are many different brands and models, all electric blankets work the same. Like a heating pad, electric blankets feature a heating element, often a coiled wire or carbon fiber, inserted into the blanket’s fabric. When plugged in and switched on, this heating element uses electricity to generate heat.

Inspecting Your Electric Blanket for Safety

Because the integrated heating element is designed to be flexible, it is also susceptible to damage and wear through regular use. Make sure you handle your electric blanket gently to prevent accidental damage. Follow all manufacturer’s care instructions.

Even if you follow directions and handle your blanket with care, damage to the element in your blanket is still possible. Inspect your blanket carefully before every use. If you detect any tears, exposed wires or elements, burn marks, or any other signs of damage, discard your blanket. Using a damaged blanket is a fire hazard and increases the risk of electric shock.

Never fold your electric blanket as this can cause damage to the internal heating element. Roll your blanket loosely and never stack heavy objects on top of your blanket.

Nighttime Use

Many homeowners wonder if it is safe to use an electric blanket for the entire night. A well-maintained electric blanket is unlikely to cause problems with proper use. However, overnight use is not recommended.

Many high end electric blankets feature timers. A timer allows you to safely fall asleep under your electric blanket. Then once you are comfortably warm, the timer automatically switches off the blanket’s heating element.

If your blanket does not feature an automatic switch-off timer, consider using your blanket to warm your bed before you retire. Then switch off your blanket before crawling into bed. This eliminates the risk of your blanket dangerously malfunctioning while you are asleep.

Other Safety Measures

  • Here several more tips for using your electric blanket safely.
  • Do not use your electric blanket if you are intoxicated.
  • Electric blankets pose different risks for children, infants, and the disabled and should be used with extreme caution.
  • Never run the electric cord between the mattress and box springs. This could cause the cord to overheat or become damaged by friction.
  • Keep pets away from your electric blanket. It could be easily damaged by teeth or claws.
  • Do not use an electric blanket on a waterbed.
  • Never dry clean or iron your electric blanket.
  • Always turn off your electric blanket when not in use.

Staying Warm All Winter

Electric blankets can be an effective way to stay warm during the cold winter months. When used with an efficient and effective HVAC unit, it is one tool to help you cut your heating costs. If you are looking for other methods to lower your home heating bills, contact your local HVAC technician.

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Large and Small Ways to Control your Heating Bill

save moneyAs we hunker down and brace ourselves for the coldest months of the year, conscientious homeowners are probably thinking about how they can reduce their heating bill. The cost of keeping your home cozy and warm can be an expensive endeavor. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways, both large and small, that you can trim some of that expense without sacrificing comfort.

Whether you need a few simple and easy ways to reduce your heating bill or if you want to pull out all the stops and make big changes, you will find something helpful in the action steps listed below.

Baby Steps to Reducing Your Heating Bill

Even if you don’t have the time or money to make big changes to heating system, there are still small changes that will save you money.

  1. Turn down your thermostat setting. This is the easiest and fastest way to start saving money on your heating expenses. By turning your thermostat down just a few degrees, you can save big on your next bill. As a general rule of thumb, for every degree you turn down your thermostat (and leave it there) you save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill.

    So throw on a nice warm sweater if you have to, but turn down that thermostat to start saving money.

  2. Use the warmth of the sun. Only a fool would turn down free heat. If you have windows that face the midday sun, open up the blinds and let in the natural warmth of the sun.

  3. Don’t be afraid to use a space heater. Space heaters are designed to heat small spaces. While space heaters have a reputation for being expensive to run, used correctly they can save you money on your heating bill. If you know that you will be in one area of your home, you can add some extra heat to that area with a space heater. Meanwhile, go ahead and turn down the thermostat a few degrees. Unoccupied areas of your home may be cooler, but the room you are in will still be warm and cozy.

    Using a space heater occasionally will keep you from having to maintain a comfortable temperature in the entire home when it isn’t necessary.

  4. Use an electric blanket. By using an energy efficient electric blanket, you will feel more comfortable sleeping at a cooler temperature setting. You may even decide to use the blanket to warm your bed by turning it on 15 minutes before bedtime. Then you can turn it off and still feel warm and comfortable as you fall asleep without raising your electric bill.

Larger Steps to Reduce Your Heating Bill

  1. Seal your home’s drafts. You can easily places where cold winter air enters your home by using a handheld draft detector. If you don’t have access to one of these handy devices, you can use your hand or even a candle.

    Once you’ve located any draft sources, take steps to seal them. Use caulk on leaky windows and weather stripping on gaps around doors.

  2. Get a tune-up for your furnace. Regular cleaning and equipment adjustments can make a huge difference in how your heating system runs. By scheduling a regular annual furnace tune-up, your heating system will run more efficiently. This is also the best way to catch potential problems before they turn into expensive repairs.

  3. Replace your attic insulation. Think of your attic insulation as a cozy blanket that helps hole warmth inside your home. Quality attic insulation is your home’s best defense against unnecessary heat loss.

    Over time, insulation breaks down and compresses, causing a loss in insulation volume. If your insulation is older than 10 years old, it may be time for replacement. If your attic insulation has settled and measures less than 12 inches thick, it is time replace or add to the existing insulation.

  4. Order a home energy audit. A home energy audit is an extensive test that produces a detailed report. Using the latest technology, a home heating professional will search for air leaks as well as any other sources of inefficiency and help you determine steps to maximize your home’s energy efficiency.

  5. Upgrade your heating system. If your furnace is more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider replacement. A newer system is probably the best way to achieve big savings on your heating bill. Be sure to talk to an HVAC professional about which options will work best for you.

 

Winter heating bills don’t have to be frightening. Whether you want to make big changes or take small actions, there are ways you can control your heating bill. If you have questions or need help implementing any of these strategies, contact your local HVAC expert for more information.

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