Like a heating pad, electric blankets use an insulated wire or heating element inserted into a fabric that heats when it is plugged in. The temperature control unit, located between the blanket and the electrical outlet, manages the level of electricity entering into the heat elements in the blanket. Newer electric blankets work on a low voltage of 24 volts and have a shutoff mechanism to prevent the blanket from overheating or catching fire. Older units (10 years or more) may not have a shut-off mechanism and users run the risk of over heating. Older blankets are considered fire hazards.
What Heats Electric Blankets?
Modern Electric Blankets
Some more modern electric blankets use carbon fiber wires to heat the user. These wires are far less bulky and conspicuous than older heating wires. Carbon fiber wires are also used as the heating element in many high-end heated car seats. The heat produced is infra-red and can easily warm the body. Infra-red heat is safer, is efficient to run and more comfortable to use. Blankets can be purchased with rheostats that regulate the heat by managing body heat and blanket temperatures, ensuring a comfortable experience.
Advantages Of Electric Blankets
Electric blankets run on very low voltage and thus cost very little to use. Compare this cost with the cost of home heating and the value of an electric blanket is clear. The more sophisticated products read body temperature and can shut off the blanket or lower the heat it is creating, which lowers the cost even further. Programmable blankets can be set to run for a few hours and then shut off or direct heat to a particular area of the blanket, thereby heating one occupant and not the other. The portability of an electric blanket allows the user to move from room to room or take the blanket to another location and continue to save money.
Electric Blanket Materials
Raw materials are purchased by the blanket manufacturer, blended to their specifications and then is spun into the blanket fabric. Electric blanket manufacturers create the blankets on their own specialized looms. Blankets are not generally outsourced or purchased through a supplier. The special weaving process creates channels for the heating elements. Insulated wires are then pushed through the channels to create a zigzag effect running from the bottom to the top of the blanket.