How Electric Blankets Work

Even though we live in Sunny Southern California and can get by dressing in multiple layers, we should not forget the people who live in places where ice and snow are the norm during the month of January.  How exactly do our friends and relatives that live in more frigid climes keep warm?  Hopefully, they are making use of an electric blanket.  How do these comforting modern marvels work?  A website gives an explanation, seen below.

An electric blanket consists of heating coils in the form of insulated wires sewn into the inner fabric.  Arranging the wires in rows, a sensor called a rheostat stabilizes internal temperatures.  The sensor measures two things: 1) the temperature of the blanket and 2) body temperature.  Using both sets of data, the sensor sets the heating process, assuring the even distribution of heat across the entire blanket.  Some blankets come with an adjustable rheostat controller that is separate from the blanket.

Electric Blanket

Electric Blanket

Electric blankets come in various configurations: beneath the blanket or over existing blankets, often in lieu of existing bed sheet; preheating blankets that warm the bed prior to use and must be disconnected later; and all-night blankets that can stay on.  Safe storage of electric blankets ensures that their interior structure is not damaged.  Older blankets should be checked by the manufacturers of the blanket or an electrician every three years.

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Francis M. Unson
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