Have you been noticing that your home is colder when you get ready to go to bed at night? Maybe your mornings leave you not wanting to remove yourself from your warm and cushiony surroundings made up of your blankets.
Perhaps you finally took the plunge and decided to purchase an electric blanket to chase away those cold nights and cool mornings. But now the decision has to be made whether or not you want to purchase the style of electric blanket that goes over the present bed coverings or should you purchase the style that goes directly under your fitted (bottom) sheet to warm the bed from the inside out? Each style of electric blanket has its advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a look and see what would be the best style for you?
What is an Electric Blanket?
An electric blanket an interwoven blanket made from heat-resistant polyester and acrylic material that houses an internal and complex wiring system that provides warmth through coil wires for a set period of time. Polyester and acrylic materials are used in the majority of electric blankets because this particular blend of materials can help prevent potential fire hazards and burns while being interwoven tightly enough to trap and maintain warmth for extended periods of time. Electric blankets should be able to plug into an ordinary household electrical outlet, drawing minuscule amounts of electricity to power the blanket and heat the coils.
Most common brands offer blankets with at least three heat levels – low, medium and high. Electric blankets that are made for a double or king-sized bed (two people) might come with adjustable heat levels on each side; depending on the brand selected for purchase. An electric blanket should also offer the user control over what timeframe the blanket is active for, the level of heat it omits, and automatic shutoff valves should the internal or external components of the blanket reach a dangerous level of heat. These controls should be situated on a remote that would be attached to the blanket; similar to a heating pad.
Your electric blanket should also have detachable power cords that are normally positioned at the foot of the bed to avoid moving or disconnecting the wires. These cords could also be detached when cleaning or washing the blanket to avoid unpleasant shocks or damage. If you choose to clean or wash your electric blanket at home, please take care to follow the instructions exactly, whether you choose to hand-wash or use the aid of a washing machine for your blanket.
What is an Over Electric Blanket?
An over electric blanket is a heated blanket that is designed to go on top off your sheets and comforter if applicable. It rests over the existing bedding on your bed that will provide warmth and heat down through each layer, warming the sheets (and blankets) directly on top of your skin.
This is the most common style of electric blanket and the one that comes to mind when shopping for a replacement or first-time electric blanket. The technology within an over electric blanket is the same as described above with an intricate internal wiring system, that when connected to a power source, provides long-lasting heat and warmth for your entire bed.
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This style of electric blanket should come with detachable power cords along with a control panel to adjust the level of heat provided by the blanket. Higher-end models will also allow you to set a particular timeframe for the blanket to be providing steady heat, further decreasing the chances of burns or fire hazards. Certain styles will also come with corner straps to further secure the blanket on the bed and avoiding the pulling and stretching of the power cord.
Advantages and Disadvantages of an Over Electric Blanket
Some of the advantages of an over electric blanket are, but not limited to:
- Higher portability than an under electric blanket, as it can be easily unplugged from its power source and moved from room to room or person to person
- Will help stop both generated body heat and electric heat from escaping the bed in an upward and outward motion.
- Can provide relief from common ailments such as chronic pain, arthritis, and certain skin conditions (make sure to discuss with your healthcare provider if an over
- electric blanket can lessen or increase the severity of your personal symptoms before use).
Some of the disadvantages of an electric blanket are, but limited to:
- Can lose heat at a faster pace due to one full side of the electric blanket being exposed to the cooler air in the bedroom
- Can be bulky and cumbersome to place properly on the bed each night or morning.
- More susceptible to stains and tears due to one full side of the blanket being exposed to outside elements (such as children, pets, etc.).
- Can increase the severity of symptoms in those who suffer from night sweats or certain skin conditions that react to heat and dampness (discuss with your healthcare provider if an over electric blanket can alleviate some of your symptoms).
What is an Under Electric Blanket?
An under electric blanket is designed to be slim enough to fit under your fitted (bottom) sheet on your bed and goes directly on top of the mattress, like a heated mattress pad. They sometimes will have a stretchy sewed seam the same as your fitted sheet for a secure fit that does not move during sleep. This style of electric blanket can also be known as a heated mattress pad but is not as thick as an actual heated mattress pad, which is a completely separate product.
The under electric blanket has the same technology as the over electric blanket with its internal wiring system providing a steady source of heat throughout the night or a set interval of time. This heat is provided when the under blanket is connected to a power source, generally a generic household electrical outlet.
Each style of under electric blanket should come with a remote control to switch the blanket on and off, while also allowing the user to control the heat level through the blanket.
Advantages and Disadvantages of an Under Electric Blanket
Some of the advantages of an under electric blanket are, but not limited to:
- It is less likely to bunch up or shift in placement throughout sleep, as it is trapped in place by both fittings on the under blanket and also from the sheets and comforter on the bed.
- It has a higher heat retention ratio in regards to an over blanket, as all the heat generated is trapped below the body and bedding.
- Can be used for an entire winter without having to re-make the bed each night with an electric blanket.
- Can provide relief from common ailments and their symptoms such as chronic pain, arthritis, and certain skin conditions (always discuss with your healthcare provider if an over electric blanket can lessen or increase the severity of your personal medical issues before use).
See related article: Electric Blankets vs Electric Mattress Pads: Which Easily Is The Best Choice?
Some of the disadvantages of an under the electric blanket are, but not limited to:
- Cannot be moved from bed to bed or room to room without stripping all existing bedding from the mattress.
- Can be incompatible with certain mattresses, either due to the size of the mattress or the material of the mattress.
- Can increase the severity of those who suffer from night sweats, overheating throughout the night or certain skin conditions that react strongly to heat and accompanying dampness of the skin (discuss with your healthcare provider if an under an electric blanket can alleviate or increase the symptoms of your personal medical issues).
Storing Your Electric Blanket
When storing your electric blanket, whether is an under-blanket model or an over-blanket one; it is imperative to remember never fold an electric blanket but instead roll into a cylinder shape. Folding an electric blanket the same as a normal comforter or sheet set can cause damage to the internal wiring system, creating a potential fire or burn hazard next time the blanket is plugged in for use.
For safety reasons, consider replacing your electric blanket every 10 years or so, as over time and prolonged use; the blanket can lose heat and wiring could become corrosive which can cause fire or burn hazards for the user.
Now that you have discovered what exactly an electric blanket is and what how it could be useful for you; it is time to decide what style would have the greatest benefits for you! Either style, over or under, isn’t necessarily better than the other, just different.
Take the time to decide how you would enjoy your new electric blanket and if needed, discuss with a trusted healthcare provider how an electric blanket could benefit you and alleviate any existing medical conditions.
If you enjoyed the information presented to you today, then free feel to share it with your family and friends! If you have a particular electric blanket that you cannot live without or a style that you think trumps the other; let us know in the comment section below!