As the cold weather spreads across the country through the Autumn and Winter, many people will be dusting off their electric blankets ready for use. But be careful, don’t risk a fire. Electric blankets account for over 5000 fires a year in the home and you can prevent these by taking some simple steps.
Electric Blanket danger signs
- Fraying fabric
- Scorch marks
- Exposed elements
- Creasing or folding
- Damp patches
- Tie tapes damaged or missing
- Worn flex
- Loose connections.
If your blanket or any part of the wiring shows any of these danger signs, you should have it checked or replaced.
An old BEAB safety mark – a round symbol (the new sign is white capital letters on a black background). This means it is more than 10 years old.
Buying a new electric blanket
Its cheaper to replace a worn electric blanket than it is to replace your family and your home. So if you are in any doubt about the condition of your blanket, bin it and buy a new one.
You should replace you electric blanket at least every 10 years. Don’t buy a second hand blanket and look for the British or European standard and make sure it has a safety certification mark. Make sure the blanket has an overheat protection.
Store your blanket safely
Storing your blanket in the correct manner will ensure you get the best from it. Don’t fold electric blankets – it can damage the wiring. Better to roll them. Or you can store blankets by putting them on a spare bed. Electric underblankets can be left on your bed all year if you wish.
Use your electric blanket safely
- Always follow the instructions
- Never use an electric underblanket as an electric overblanket, and vice versa
- Keep all blankets flat
- Tie electric underblankets 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.
Please note: The fire and rescue service are not qualified electricians and therefore unable to test electric blankets. Electric blankets will need to be tested by a competent electrician with the correct qualifications to do so.
Make sure your blanket is tested by a competent electrician at least every three years. You can ask the shop where you bought it from about testing and servicing, or contact the trading standards department at your local council – they often have free testing days.