Why this is the right time to check your electric blanket
July 9, 2014barriehol
Up goes the thermometer, out come the summer clothes and away goes the electric blanket. But that’s exactly the wrong thing to do with it when winter’s over.
What should be happening is that you make the most of the opportunity of summer to give it a thorough safety check so you can be sure it’s safe to use when the days get shorter and the nights get colder as autumn approaches.
On average a dozen fires start every day because of faulty electric blankets. When was yours last checked? Some tell-tale signs of an electric blanket that could be dangerous are frayed fabric or worn flex, scorch marks, exposed elements or loose connections. Others are heavy soiling, damaged or missing tie tapes, of signs of the blanket having been folded, which could damage its wiring. Any of those indicates that the time has come for a thorough test – and you should do the same even if there are no signs of damage, but the blanket hasn’t been checked for three years.
The shop you bought the blanket from will be able to offer help and advice about testing, as will any local council’s Trading Standards department. What happens if they say you should get a new one? (And you ought to do that at least every ten years, no matter how careful you’ve been with the blanket.) Look at our top tips for advice:
Top tips for storing and using electric blankets
• For a start, never buy a second-hand electric blanket. You have no way of knowing how it’s been used or stored
• Look for a British or European standard and for a safety certification mark
• Choose a model with overheat protection
• Store your over blanket by rolling it – never fold it (putting it flat on the spare bed is a good idea. Under blankets can be left on the bed throughout the year)
• Always follow the instructions
• Never use an electric under blanket as an electric over blanket, or the other way round
• Keep all blankets flat
• Tie electric under blankets to the bed or mattress – this stops them slipping and creasing, which could damage them
• Only leave a blanket switched on all night if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use. Otherwise switch it off and disconnect it before you get into bed
• Don’t get blankets wet, and if your blanket does get wet, don’t use it. Never switch it on to dry it