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How Do Heating Blankets Work?

Updated February 21, 2017

Electric blankets or heating blankets are fabric panels with coated and insulated warming coils embedded in them, typically fusing two pieces of fabric that sandwich the heating elements. The wires snake up and down the length and width of the blanket and are connected to a thermostat that measures the temperature of the blanket and keeps it in check with the temperature you have dialled into the thermostatic controller. One end of the thermostat connects to the warming element and the other to an electrical socket.

What to Look For When Buying

Quality heating blankets have easy-to-use controls that can be seen in the dark if they need to be adjusted, can be safely laundered and are made of durable materials. Dual controls are also a helpful option on larger blankets, usually king and queen sizes, so that each side of the bed will be uniquely comfortable to the sleeper.

Safety Protections

Make sure you know whether or not the blanket you are buying is meant to be used as a bed warmer (turned on to warm the bed before you get in and then turned off) versus an electric blanket meant to be kept on throughout sleep. If you have an older electric blanket, inspect it very carefully for any tears or nicks. If you have any doubt about its condition, have it tested by an electrician or purchase a new one. Electric blanket accidents are not common but do occur, so be careful.

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