Author Topic: Electric blankets: yay or nay?  (Read 4984 times)

frugalparagon

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Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« on: November 11, 2016, 10:02:47 PM »
I am starting to get chilly at night. Lost the winter comforter in the divorce and currently sleeping under a summer-weight daybed comforter with inadequate throw blankets on top.

So... should I get an electric blanket, or just maybe polar fleece? Factors:

1. My bed in the couch, so bulky is out of the question. Plus would be super-hard to tuck in.
2. I sleep in the living room, so I wouldn't use a space heater.
3. I am the only one in the apartment half the time, so my personal warmth is the only issue.

I was thinking of one of those heated throws because I am short (under 5") and it would be cheaper and less bulky to tuck in. Why heat parts of the bed that I am not in?

Opinions welcome.
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sol

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 10:23:07 PM »
Heated mattress pads work better in my experience.  They don't mess with your blanket system because they stay under your bottom sheet.  And heat rises, so you're not heating so much of the air above your blankets as you are the air under them.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2016, 10:27:02 PM »
Instead of an electric blanket, you might also consider a rice sack/rice sock (uncooked white rice in a cotton container of some kind, socks are classic, microwaved on high for 1.5-2 min) or a heating pad with an auto-off setting. When I was growing up, I slept on the unheated 3rd floor, and getting the bed warmed up with a rice sack was Key. I alternate between the rice and a heating pad these days. The heating pad is nice because I can lay on it if I'm feeling tense in my back or shoulders and it's multi purpose, the rice sack is nice because you can cuddle with it a bit better or put your feet on it and it's easy to kick away if you overheat. You can also carry it around with you easily, if that's a thing you ever need to do?

For the insulating part, I don't know how it compares cost-wise with the electric blanket or just buying a fleece blanket, but a few yards of polar fleece in a nice pattern you like is pretty cheap at the fabric store and requires literally no sewing. You might need to trim the edge they cut to make it nicely square, or cut in a fringe if you're feeling fancy, but it's an easy nice-looking blanket. I still use the one I got from a friend in high school! Also, with a non-electric blanket, you can wrap up in it like a really big shawl and move around a bit. Depending on how cold it gets, you might want/need two blankets? The Marshalls by me also have what look like very cozy fuzzy almost 'faux fur' looking blankets/throws. Some look to be fleece on one side, fuzzy on the other, so probably pretty warm? I don't know how warm they'd be, but they're probably less bulky than a comforter?

My mom gets really cold all the time, and in the winter she swears by her polar fleece pjs. She has a few pairs at this points in various cheerful patterns!

Linda_Norway

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2016, 01:42:07 AM »
We use what we call an electric blanket, which you put around the mattrass, under the blanket. We typically turn it on 1/2 - 1 hour before going to bed. It's nicely warm when we go to bed and then we turn it off. I think it works really well. We don't heat up the whole bedroom, but only locally where we need it. It is also nice if you have been out of bed during the night for some reason and turn back in very cold. Then we just turn on the blanket.
Make sure you buy one that has 2 separate buttons, if you are using a double bed. So you can turn it on independently.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2016, 02:40:24 AM »
Definitely heat the bed not the room.  An electric under-blanket is much better than an electric overblanket for reasons given.  But I'd be a little concerned about it getting a lot of wear because of the daybed situation, with people using it as a sofa/trampoline during the day, which is likely to create more wear than usual.

A hot water bottle or two are the traditional solution (if you are upgrading from warming pans).  I guess the rice sacks are a further upgrade on hot water bottles.
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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2016, 04:17:18 AM »
Heated mattress pads are awesome.

Astatine

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2016, 04:25:48 AM »
I assume you mean electric blanket that goes under the bottom sheet, that you turn on for half an hour before you go to bed? I used to have one but these days I prefer an expensive feather doona (I think you guys call them comforters or quilts) and a hot water bottle. I'm a little wary of the risk of fires but the risk should be minimal if you follow the instructions carefully and dispose of the blanket as soon as there are any signs of wear.

If I was short on money and couldn't afford a good comforter/quilt in winter, I would wear multiple layers of clothes to bed, very thick socks, maybe a beanie and gloves if the house was really cold overnight*. I would cover myself with as many blankets as I could afford, and if I was still cold, I'd layer things like clean towels or dressing gowns on top as well. But a hot water bottle (or two) with a thick cover on top seems to make a big difference.


*we don't run the heater overnight in winter so the house temperature usually drops down to 8 to 12 C (46 to 53) overnight but we're plenty warm with a good feather doona and a hot water bottle each. Plus socks on the really cold nights.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2016, 06:37:26 AM »
I LOVE my electric throw.  It's better than the mattress pad because it doesn't limit you to the bed.  I sit at a table with it or just have it around my legs and feet if I'm wearing a sweater.  I can wrap it around my shoulders.  I can put it under me OR over me in the bed.   You can snuggle with a kid under it, etc; very versatile and not location dependant.   I bring it with me when I house sit so I can always be assured of being cozy.
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Linda_Norway

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 09:06:49 AM »
In the living room I have a few very thick woolen blankets, of decorative kind. When cold, I throw one around me and then I'm warm in no time. This was particularly handy in our previous house which wasn't very well insulated.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2016, 09:16:44 AM »
I prefer a down comforter over an electric blanket. First, it still works if the power goes out. Second, it's a one-time cost rather than the purchase price plus an ongoing cost for electricity. Third, I don't have to worry about breaking the wires inside the electric blanket. Yes, the bed is cold when I get in, and I have to wait a few minutes for my body heat to warm it up, but I can live with that.

That said, I second Linda_Norway's suggestion of woolen blankets, since the comforter fails the "not too bulky" requirement.
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human

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2016, 09:21:15 AM »
I got an electric "throw" as a gift and I like that I can use it on the couch and in bed. I lef the heat way down last winter because of it.

I am 6'2" and kind of wish I had a full lenght blanket, I may shell out for one this year.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2016, 09:29:53 AM »
I love my heated mattress pad.  Obviously, since you are sleeping on a couch that might not work, so I think a heated throw, under your feet in particular might work.  I am not overly fussy during the day, but I have a lot of sleep problems and absolutely can not sleep if I am cold.  And I often get very cold when I am tired, even at 68 and have to get up and take hot baths to get myself to be able to fall asleep.  Also, I can not sleep with socks on.  Leggings or Pajama bottoms are a stretch for me.  Drives me bonkers.  And I have found it is a lot more effective to just to go with it than try to change it. 

frugalparagon

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2016, 11:06:23 PM »
I did not know heated mattress pads were a thing! Maybe in the future when I have a real bed again! It wouldn't be a 100% solution for me now because my comforter is so thin, I would still wake up cold.

So I think a heated throw is the way to go for now. They're on sale at Costco :-). Thanks, everyone!
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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2016, 11:19:12 PM »
A heated mattress pad on the daybed for your kids during the day sounds very cosy, too.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2016, 07:52:22 AM »
You might want to get a thermometer with a humidity reading.  Some furnace systems really dry out the air and then it feels colder than it really is.
My house gets really dry when it gets cold out and my furnace runs a lot.  I bought a stock pot at the dollar store. I put it on my gas stove, almost full of water and have the burner on low so the water evaporates.
Notes:
You do need a dedicated pot for this because as the water evaporates, the minerals (etc.) are left behind and they build up on the sides & bottom of the pot.
I wouldn't do this with an electric stove as they cost so much more to operate and I don't think they go as low as a gas stove.  One alternative is to hang wet cloths or towels around the house - preferably a bit in front of a furnace register so the air blows around it / them.
You want the humidity to be above 30%.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2016, 08:43:10 AM »
I'm a very big fan of the traditional hot water bottle and multiple layers of blankets.  They're cheap, they work well, you don't have to worry about any risk of fire, and it's usually just when you're settling in initially that cold is a bother . . . a couple hours after you're all snuggled up in the blankets the bottle cools off and you remain toasty warm.

This approach keeps us comfy with night time in house temperatures going down to about 16 degrees (about 60F).

Orvell

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2016, 08:51:34 AM »
If you can find a decent sale, a really warm sleeping bag (the sort that smushes into a tiny little bag rather than rolling up, and thus easy to tidy) might solve your problem, too. :) I have one of those down ones that is unbelievably warm. In my apartment back in Minnesota I basically lived inside it.
However I think they can be pricey so I'm not sure how actually helpful this suggestion is. Good luck!
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Lake161

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2016, 08:58:58 AM »
One alternative is to hang wet cloths or towels around the house - preferably a bit in front of a furnace register so the air blows around it / them.
You want the humidity to be above 30%.

We skip the dryer and hang up our laundry to dry. We put a rack right in front of the gas stove furnace and the clothes dry nicely. The humidity has gone up from 31 to 42% on average. I don't know if we feel warmer, but my skin and nasal passages don't feel so dry and scratchy. Plus we save on the dryer bill.

We have a dual zone heated mattress pad on our bed. I get cold when we first go to bed, my husband does not. I only need to run it about 10 minutes to take the edge off the cold.

GuitarStv

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2016, 09:04:39 AM »
One alternative is to hang wet cloths or towels around the house - preferably a bit in front of a furnace register so the air blows around it / them.
You want the humidity to be above 30%.

We skip the dryer and hang up our laundry to dry. We put a rack right in front of the gas stove furnace and the clothes dry nicely. The humidity has gone up from 31 to 42% on average. I don't know if we feel warmer, but my skin and nasal passages don't feel so dry and scratchy. Plus we save on the dryer bill.

We have a dual zone heated mattress pad on our bed. I get cold when we first go to bed, my husband does not. I only need to run it about 10 minutes to take the edge off the cold.

Cold air simply doesn't hold as much moisture as warm air.  Be careful that all this water you're adding to your home environment doesn't cause condensation and mold issues, particularly around windows.  FWIW, I've never noticed high humidity to feel warmer . . . quite the opposite in fact.  Damp and cold is much worse than dry and cold.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2016, 09:17:11 AM »
I'm a very big fan of the traditional hot water bottle and multiple layers of blankets.  They're cheap, they work well, you don't have to worry about any risk of fire, and it's usually just when you're settling in initially that cold is a bother . . . a couple hours after you're all snuggled up in the blankets the bottle cools off and you remain toasty warm.

This approach keeps us comfy with night time in house temperatures going down to about 16 degrees (about 60F).

+1 to the hot water bottle suggestions. For me it's also much less fuss than an electric blanket or mattress pad, on top of the reasons GuitarStv mentions. I can curl up with my hot water bottle anywhere, no need to be near an outlet or extension cord.  I know some people worry about burns from hot water bottles but in 15 years of using them, I've had one bottle leak when it got old but I always use a hot water bottle cover, so by the time it soaked through, the water wasn't burning hot anymore.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2016, 09:42:57 AM »
I use a professional heating pad, because it's multi purpose. But something with a timer is ideal. They don't cover the whole body, but they heat you up under the covers. I also like having my sleeping hat and some socks on.  I've never tried a full electric blanket, but I think I'd like it better than the mattress pads - I end up feeling the wires on those.

Hot water bottles are awesome, and easy for guests. I also spent many years using various containers for hot water bottles, always with a cover. (usually a sock).

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2016, 10:11:32 AM »
One alternative is to hang wet cloths or towels around the house - preferably a bit in front of a furnace register so the air blows around it / them.
You want the humidity to be above 30%.

We skip the dryer and hang up our laundry to dry. We put a rack right in front of the gas stove furnace and the clothes dry nicely. The humidity has gone up from 31 to 42% on average. I don't know if we feel warmer, but my skin and nasal passages don't feel so dry and scratchy. Plus we save on the dryer bill.

We have a dual zone heated mattress pad on our bed. I get cold when we first go to bed, my husband does not. I only need to run it about 10 minutes to take the edge off the cold.

Cold air simply doesn't hold as much moisture as warm air.  Be careful that all this water you're adding to your home environment doesn't cause condensation and mold issues, particularly around windows.  FWIW, I've never noticed high humidity to feel warmer . . . quite the opposite in fact.  Damp and cold is much worse than dry and cold.

Yes, our solution wouldn't work well just anywhere. But our air is so dry that we literally never get mold, and the only condensation we ever see is on the window in the shower, while the shower is running. And it clears within 5 minutes. Before we started the laundry strategy, we needed to run a humidifier 4-6 hours a day.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2016, 11:35:37 PM »
My wife loves her electric blanket when we stay at her parents house. He dad keeps the house at 68 in the winter and the blanket keeps her warm.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2016, 12:28:47 AM »
My wife loves her electric blanket when we stay at her parents house. He dad keeps the house at 68 in the winter and the blanket keeps her warm.

According to my phone, 68F is 20C. Do you really find that cold for a bedroom? I keep my bedroom in the winter at 15C (59F), by not heating it more than that. That is a bit chilly in the room. So I use the electric blanket to make it warm under the sheets before I go to bed. But during the night with the electric blanket off, I am comfortably warm. In the summer when the bedroom is much warmer without the heating on, I find it more difficult to sleep. We don't have airconditioning.
If you think 68 degrees is cold when sleeping, do you then not just need a much warmer blanket or down?

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2016, 04:35:50 PM »
People are different.  We have our thermostat on 65, but the bedroom is usually about 68-69 due to location.  My DH has the electric blanket on low all night, but after warming up my side (which is very nice), I turn it off (and some nights I end up flipping it off me and sleep with just the sheet).

Then in the summer, our bedroom gets to 80 (27C) which is far too hot for me.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2016, 04:40:02 PM »
I would say "nay", but my southern California address diminishes my credibility...

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2016, 06:56:38 AM »
My opinion is to avoid synthetics fibers.  They tend to trap body heat and make you sweat...which of course then cools you down.  Wool is superb...like 'blew me away' superb.  I highly recommend it. 
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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2016, 08:23:12 AM »
I recommend the twin electric blanket.  I'm a big fan of sleeping warm and have tried lots of things including different sized heating blankets and heated mattress pads.   I use a down comforter on top of the heated blanket and it's just so cozy warm.

The twin heated blanked is the winner for me.  I prefer the simple dial version and got my last one (going on three years now) at target on sale for $20 bucks on a black friday deal.  The dial ranges from 1-10 and you can easily adjust.  I too set mine about an hour before bed and it's heavenly.  I couldn't recommend more!  Get a twin heated blanket.  Biddeford brand is great- the dial is simple and the blanket is a great value for all the warmth you'll get.  It's actually 15% off online at Target, I just checked.  The twin is $29.74 with the discount.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2016, 01:50:23 PM »
We have an electric throw.  Our bedroom is in the basement and air flow from the furnace isn't great so the mattress felt really cold. I would get so tense in a huddle trying to get warm instead of relaxing into sleep.  The throw just hits our thighs and that seems just perfect. If one of us remembers we turn it on around 9 and by 10 the bed is wonderfully warm on my cold feet as I slip into it.  It shuts off after three hours if I forget (controls on my side) to shut it off when I turn out the light.  Before we got it we would invariably wake up a half hour after getting in bed with really cold feet and a stiff neck.  Once the bed is warm the duvet keeps the heat in all night.  Beautiful sleep.
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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2016, 04:04:33 PM »
The $40 I spent on an electric blanket for our bed last winter rocked my world. We have a down comforter which is great and keeps me warm, once it gets heated up. The problem with me is that it would take half an hour for me to get the bed and comforter warm enough that I could fall asleep. I would resort to begging my husband to go to bed early with me so his hot bum could heat up my side of the bed.

Enter the amazing electric blanket. The one we have has a pre-heat setting where I can press the button while I brush my teeth and the sheets are warm to the touch once I get in. 15 minutes later or so it will revert to whatever low setting I want. It is such an amazing luxury to climb into a warm bed in the winter, especially since the house we rent SUCKS with no insulation and no central heat. I definitely vote for an electric blanket personally.
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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2016, 02:25:00 PM »
They are a little noisy, but mylar "emergency" blankets are amazingly at retaining warmth.  I bought some in bulk to reflect heat off of windows in the summer, and I've subsequently found that scraps of it are great for the car.  I throw one over my lap to warm up until the heat kicks in.  I've also been meaning to cut a smaller piece to sit on.  My 2005 base model matrix will then have "heated seats" according to me.

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2016, 03:24:59 PM »
We have an electric blanket that we turn on a couple hours before we got to sleep. It has dual controls and we turn it off before getting into bed. On top of it, we use a lightweight duvet that my mom got us. We use it year-round and it's meant to be used so. Underneath the electric blanket, we use a top sheet.

For Christmas one year, we got my mom one of those single snuggle-sack electric blankets. She uses it while she is watching TV as her living room gets chilly. Says she loves it!

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2016, 03:44:12 PM »
They are a little noisy, but mylar "emergency" blankets are amazingly at retaining warmth.  I bought some in bulk to reflect heat off of windows in the summer, and I've subsequently found that scraps of it are great for the car.  I throw one over my lap to warm up until the heat kicks in.  I've also been meaning to cut a smaller piece to sit on.  My 2005 base model matrix will then have "heated seats" according to me.
That's a great idea.  Do you bring it inside each time or leave it in the car?
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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2016, 04:49:00 PM »
I am liking my electric throw pretty well! Cons: I have to choose having the remote at the foot where I can't reach it or the cord at the top, where it sometimes annoys me; and it does not have a whole-night option. Pros: The High setting warms up the bed super-fast, and it is just about big enough for my little self.

I do see the appeal of the electric mattress pad. Sometimes having the warmth on top makes me notice that the bottom is colder. But I didn't want us sitting on the electric mattress pad all the time.
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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2016, 12:49:47 PM »
We swear by the electric mattress pad heater, because it doesn't have to flex as much as an electric blanket the wires tend to be sturdier and less prone to fraying.  With a mattress pad on top, we don't feel the wires.  With a decent comforter, we turn it on when getting ready for bed, the timer turns off when we are getting in, and it takes the edge off.  OP, if your blankets/comforters are too thin, ours reverts to "low" setting after the preheat mode, that would probably be enough. 

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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2016, 05:36:08 PM »
I do see the appeal of the electric mattress pad. Sometimes having the warmth on top makes me notice that the bottom is colder. But I didn't want us sitting on the electric mattress pad all the time.

When we stay with DBF's mother and sleep on the air mattress that was inflated with chilly air, it makes all the difference in the world to put a couple layers of fleece between us and the air mattress.  A couple fleece blankets on the daybed would be great for sleeping, sitting, or being stolen to make blanket forts.
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Re: Electric blankets: yay or nay?
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2017, 02:09:54 AM »
I am starting to get chilly at night. Lost the winter comforter in the divorce and currently sleeping under a summer-weight daybed comforter with inadequate throw blankets on top.

So... should I get an electric blanket, or just maybe polar fleece? Factors:

1. My bed in the couch, so bulky is out of the question. Plus would be super-hard to tuck in.
2. I sleep in the living room, so I wouldn't use a space heater.
3. I am the only one in the apartment half the time, so my personal warmth is the only issue.

I was thinking of one of those heated throws because I am short (under 5") and it would be cheaper and less bulky to tuck in. Why heat parts of the bed that I am not in?

Opinions welcome.

Electric blankets usually have a control unit which adjusts the amount of heat the blanket produces. Blankets for larger sized beds often have separate controls for each side of the bed. The electric blanket may be used to pre-heat the bed before use or to keep the occupant warm while in bed.