Are electric blankets a secret weapon against the fuel crisis?

This info comes from Torridge Council.

My late parents often turned their heating off “to save money” and we would often find them sitting in very cold conditions. This info is not just aimed at elderly people (as a child, living in a cold home, I had the luxury of an electric underblanket to take the chill off) but it is potentially a good idea for everyone; the electric throws are great for daytime use.

Heating British homes accounts for around 20% of the national carbon footprint, and is a major challenge on the path to net zero. The humble electric blanket has an astounding capacity to keep us warm with a fraction of the CO2 emissions – and cost – of room heating.  And as they cost little to buy, they could help reduce heating bills for those in fuel poverty.

Types of electric blankets

There are three kinds of electric blankets:  under blankets, over blankets for your bed, and electric throws.  Most models have 5-10 temperature settings and timers for 1, 3 or 9 hours (and can be switched off at any time). There are also electric foot warmers for sitting on the sofa or working at your desk.

  • Under blankets. These go on the mattress, under your sheets, and you sleep on top of them. They warm the bed before you get in, or can be left on all night on a low setting in the very coldest of weather.
  • Over blankets. These go over a sheet and over you, with a duvet or blanket on top.
  • Electric throws are to have over your knees when on the sofa or at your desk. They come in a range of colours and finishes to look nice in your sitting room.
  • Electric foot warmers are like a big woolly double shoe which you slip your feet into while seated at your desk or on the sofa.

Are electric blankets a secret weapon against the fuel crisis?

Cost Savings

With electricity currently costing around 25 pence per kilowatt-hour, an electric blanket typically costs a penny an hour to run. Compare that to a 2,000 watt electric room heater which costs around 50p per hour or central heating at £1.50 or more per hour. If you use it for 8 hours a day for the 5 coldest months the cost is just £10 a year for an electric blanket, whereas the room heater would be over £500, and a typical central heating system around £1,500.

Carbon Savings

The UK average CO2 emissions is 35kg per person per day.  If we use an electric blanket as our source of heating, it produces around 80g CO2 per day which is a tiny fraction of your carbon footprint – far less than one percent.  For the 5 coldest months, that would be just 10kg of CO2. While an average electric room heater would emit 500kg of CO2 (½ a tonne) for the same period. So electric blankets are phenomenally good for the planet and you pocket!

Quality of life

Using an e-blanket means you can feel warm while being in a cooler room – which helps you to be more alert while working or relaxing at home. In the spring and autumn it allows you to crack open a window, increasing air quality which is good for long term health and wellbeing, while staying cosy.

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