Electric Blankets: Pros and Cons

Ever since friends of ours got an electric blanket they've been raving about, my husband has been lobbying to get one for our bedroom, which is admittedly a little chilly in winter. My first thought was, Those aren't safe, and my second was, They're not very green either.

A little more research has poked a few holes in my arguments, and I've been weighing the pros and cons...PROS:

  • Modern electric blankets use low-voltage wiring that's much safer than the dangerous older models that constituted a fire hazard. The old blankets used electric currents directly from the outlet, while new versions incorporate a transformer that lowers the voltage that's circulated through the blanket.

  • If you turn down the thermostat at night and use the electric blanket for localized heat, it can actually be a somewhat green way to save energy.

  • The electric blanket provides uniform warmth without having to add layer upon layer of bedding.

CONS:

  • Although newer models have higher safety standards, there's always a remote possibility that an electric blanket could cause burns, especially if used improperly.

  • Don't use an electric blanket if you sleep with a pet. Clawing and chewing can damage the wires and cause an accident. They're also not recommended for children, incapacitated people, or people who are insensitive to heat.

  • Energy savings only occur with an electric blanket if you turn down the heat at night. Otherwise, you're using more energy than you would with a regular blanket.

  • Although there's no conclusive evidence either way, it's possible that the electric field generated by the blanket could be unhealthy. It makes sense to us that the electricity over the body would cause at least some negative side effects.

What do you think? Are electric blankets worth the warmth, or not?

Photo: Sunbeam Heated Blanket

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