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How to Tell That it’s Time to Replace Your Electric Blanket

replace your electric blanket

December 14, 2018 by Chris Chapman

If you’re anything like us, you’ll get a lot of use out of your electric blanket on those cold winter nights! Electric blankets have come a long way in recent years, but they don’t last forever. There are a few telltale signs that show you might need to replace your electric blanket, so if you have an old electric blanket that’s seen better days, make sure to check it over for one of these signs before you use it!

It’s Over 10 Years Old

Warm electric blanket icon. Flat illustration of warm electric blanket vector icon for web designThe fire service recommends that you replace your electric blanket after 10 years. If you’ve got an ancient heated blanket that’s been sat in the cupboard for ages, have a think about when you bought it before you plug it in. This is one reason you should never buy a second-hand electric blanket – you don’t know exactly how old it is! Any blankets that are more than a decade old should be replaced, even if you think it’s working fine and it doesn’t appear to be damaged.

You may still need to replace your electric blanket before it’s 10 years old, so if you spot any of the signs below, you should get rid of it no matter how old it is!

The Fabric is Frayed

frayed and worn blue fabric

If your electric blanket is looking a bit battered and threadbare, you should definitely pick up a new one. Electric blankets contain a metal wire which gets really hot, however this heat is absorbed by the fabric of your blanket, meaning it’s distributed evenly and doesn’t burn you. If the fabric of your blanket gets frayed, the heating element inside can be exposed and come into contact with your skin. This puts you at a real risk of burns, so make sure you regularly check for bare patches on your electric blanket.

The Fabric is Creased or Folded in an Unusual Way

Old suitcase with blankets inside isolated on white backgroundElectric blankets are very carefully designed. The heating element inside them is made of a single wire, which is covered with a protective coating. The wire is shaped in a way that distributes heat across the whole blanket evenly (or it should be if it’s a decent blanket!). If your blanket gets rucked or creased, this can bend the wire out of shape, meaning warmth won’t be distributed evenly. This doesn’t just mean you end up with hot and cold patches all over your blanket – it’s a real safety risk, too. If the wire gets bent out of shape, the protective coating on it can be damaged, leading to a potential burn hazard.

You can prevent this from happening by storing your electric blanket away properly. Electric blankets should be rolled, not folded, to ensure that the wire inside doesn’t bend or break. You should also be careful when putting your blanket in the washing machine; again, roll, don’t fold and make sure you wash it on a gentle setting.

Your Electric Blanket is Discoloured or Scorch Marked

scorch marks on fabricIf you notice your blanket is looking a little scorched or discoloured, don’t use it! This is a sign that it’s overheating. Most modern blankets are fitted with overheat protection to ensure they never get too hot, but older or cheaply-made blankets may not have this feature. If your blanket is getting hot enough to scorch its own fabric, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t want it anywhere near you. Replace it with a new model.

The Controller Makes a Buzzing Sound or Smells Funny

electric blanket controllerYour electric blanket doesn’t actually contain any electrical components except for its heating element. That’s why modern blankets are safe to be put in the washing machine! All the sensitive electrical components are housed inside your blanket’s power cord and controller. This is what controls the temperature and timer settings of your blanket, so you always want it to be working properly. If your controller is making a buzzing sound, or if it starts to smell like burning, this is a sign that there’s a fault with your electric blanket control. In this case, you might be able to get away with replacing the controller, but if you want to be on the safe side you can replace the whole blanket.

The Power Cord is Damaged

Electric blanket power cordThe power cord is the most sensitive part of your electric blanket. It provides power and contains your blanket’s control unit. Make sure you check your power cord – including the connector where it attaches to the blanket itself – regularly for damage. Keep an eye out for strains or splits in the cord as well as any potential discolouration or scorch marks.

 

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