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How does an electric blanket work and how much electricity does it use?

An electric blanket is a good ally when it comes to saving on heating, they heat up quickly, they help you relax and it is easy to adjust the temperature. We will tell you about what they consume and other advantages.

An electric blanket (also called a bed warmer) is a small domestic appliance consisting of a blanket with an electric heater inside. An electric blanket generates heat, which is evenly distributed over its entire surface. It is usually placed on top of the sheets. There are also electric blankets designed to be spread out under the bottom sheet. It is important to know which type you have and to read the instructions for use, since those blankets manufactured to be placed on top of the sheets should not be spread out under the bottom sheet.

The main function of an electric blanket is to heat its surface, either with the intention of preheating a bed before sleeping in it, heating it while you are in it or to provide heat to a specific area of the body of a person or animal, always provided that the skin is covered by another textile, since with direct contact there is a risk of burns.

 

How does it work?

An electric blanket has a plug that needs to be connected to the network. There is also a thermostat that regulates the temperature. They transform electricity into heat through the cables that are evenly distributed throughout the surface.

In more up-to-date models, these cables are made of fibreglass, and these are thinner and more flexible. The heat generated by fibreglass is infrared, which is much safer and more efficient.

 

How much does an electric blanket consume?

Electric blankets usually have between 100 and 150 watts of power. If you make reasonable use of an electric blanket, it really does not consume very much.

If you use an electric blanket with 150 watts of power a total of 6 hours every night for 4 months a year, the consumption will be 108 kWh per year.

If you compare this with other domestic appliances, it does not represent a remarkable consumption. Using a washing machine with 1,500 watts of power daily with a programme of 1 hour for one year represents an annual consumption of 547.5 kWh.

Taking the average price per kWh in the last 12 months, 0.143 euros: keeping the bed warm throughout the winter would have cost 15.44 euros a year, in accordance with the above example. If we make a study of other heating methods, you will see that it compensates financially. According to data from the Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE), an apartment generates an annual cost for electric heating of about 2,670 kWh, which is equivalent to spending 381.81 euros.

How many kWh does it use per minute?

To give you an idea, every minute that an electric blanket of the characteristics described above remains on, it costs 0.0003575. Each hour costs 0.02145 euros. If you control the time it is on and make efficient use of it then consumption is very low. With this in mind, you are recommended to choose a model of electric blanket that has a regulator with several functions that can be adapted to how you wish to use the product.

 

What proportion of the consumption in your electricity bill does it represent?

The same IDAE study gives an average electricity consumption of 7,859.112 kWh per apartment. So if we take the previous example we can calculate that the consumption of an electric blanket barely represents 1.37% of the annual electricity consumption for a household.

 

What are the advantages of using an electric blanket?

Electric blankets have a number of advantages, providing you know how to use them properly and they suit your needs:

  • They provide fast, localised and targeted heat: you can heat the bed, where you will stay several hours while you sleep, and reduce the heating in other parts of the house where you will not need it. This helps to avoid wasting energy and also helps you save.
  • It is also very useful for those suffering from ailments that require gentle, constant heat, since electric blankets are versatile and can be adapted to any part of the anatomy. The blanket can also be taken from one room to another, taking advantage of the heat generated while it was switched on. Always remember that the application of heat should be prescribed by a specialist, who will analyse the cause and decide whether an electric blanket is suitable or not. You should not forget that for some pathologies and under certain circumstances heat may be harmful. You should also remember that the blanket should never touch human or animal skin directly, there should always be a textile between the skin and the heat source.
  • The thermostat is there to adapt and regulate the heat and the expense, for as long as it is switched on. The blanket will turn off as soon as it reaches the desired temperature and will activate when that temperature drops, ensuring a constant temperature without having to worry. There are even blankets with two phases, one on each side of a bed, which can be adjusted according to the preferences of each person.
  • Electric blankets are safe: If you follow the instructions for use and take the appropriate precautions, they are a domestic appliance that is safe and simple to use.
  • They have low consumption: as seen above, consumption is very small compared to other domestic appliances, especially heating appliances, so they are an easy and functional option for heating the bed.
  • They are hygienic: modern electric blankets can be washed in a washing machine and dried in a dryer normally, following the instructions for use for the appliances involved in the process. They should never be ironed or dry-cleaned.
  • They weigh very little: they do not cause the discomfort you get from other heavy and bulky methods. They are easy to transport and store.

A few tips to prolong the useful life of your electric blanket:

  • Always follow the instructions for use. Do not use it for anything for which has not been manufactured.
  • Always unplug it whenever you are not using it.
  • Check it often. Spread your electric blanket out and look at it carefully: If anything appears to be wrong with it, or you see suspicious creases or burns, do not use it, call the technical service.
  • Do not shake it or use particularly strong spin programmes, as the wires may become disconnected.
  • Wait until it is completely dry before plugging it in and using it.
  • Do not fold it or roll it up until it has cooled completely, as you may damage the wiring.

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