Electric blanket safety checks are taking place throughout the UK this autumn, enabling people to make sure these devices are safe before they plug them in over winter.
Previous safety tests have found that more than half of all blankets examined are faulty, suggesting that thousands of people could be keeping themselves warm overnight with an electrical appliance that may one day cause them serious harm.
For instance, Cumbria County Council’s test of 761 electric blankets found that 50.7% were dangerous, leading to 386 replacement blankets being issued. A test of 1,194 blankets across the country last year found that 73%, or 870, had damaged or faulty enclosures, leaving the heating element at risk, with faulty controllers, broken power cords and a lack of overheat protection also common faults. In 2010, similar tests found a failure rate of around 60%.
Warning signs of a faulty blanket include:
- Frayed and worn fabric
- Missing or damaged tie tapes
- Scorch marks
- Damaged and worn flexes
- Loose connections
- Displaced and damaged heating wires – you can check if this is the case for your blanket by holding it up against a light source and checking that the wires do not touch each other and are evenly spaced apart.
But it’s not just defective electrical blankets that can lead to home emergencies; misusing these appliances can also cause them to develop defects that can pose a real risk to your safety. Therefore:
- Check that an electric blanket is safe before you use it, looking for any signs of damage or wear and tear
- Do not crease or fold your electric blanket and do not use it if it is creased, wet or folded
- When a blanket is around ten years old, it should be replaced with a new model
Electricity is a major contributor to the number of house fires in the UK – around half of all accidental domestic fires are due to electricity. Electric blankets are a particularly significant risk – not only do many models become dangerous over time, but fires involving these devices typically occur when the owner is in bed and right next to the ignition source.
People who take their blankets to any of the nationwide tests will receive a free replacement blanket if their blanket is discovered to be dangerous. Blankets that are found to be dangerous will be destroyed.
If you would like to get your electrical blanket checked, contact your local authority to find out when these safety tests are occurring in your area. You may also be able to receive a free Home Fire Safety Check and advice about electrical and fire safety.
If you are unable to attend one of the safety events and are concerned about your electric blanket, we strongly recommend that you have the device examined by a Part P electrician.
Still having trouble?
Don’t attempt to make any changes to your electricals if you are unsure or not confident. Some electrical work in the home requires compliance with Part P building control and needs to be done in accordance with BS7671 wiring regulations. Don’t forget – electricity is VERY dangerous and can kill you.
Instead, call 24|7 Home Rescue on 0345 3192 247 and we can help. Our technical teams will run through some very simple troubleshooting with you over the phone to see if your problem can be resolved easily and if not, they will book one of our qualified and highly knowledgeable Part P certified engineers to get you back up and running as soon as possible.