How Much Does it Cost to Use an Electric Blanket?

The electric company bills its customer by the kilowatt-hour. When you turn on something that consumes 1,000 watts for one hour, it consumes 1 kilowatt-hour. Or if you turn on something that consumes 100 watts for 10 hours, it consumes 1 kilowatt-hour. The number of watts a device uses times the number of hours you leave it on tells you number of watt-hours it consumes. Divide by 1,000 to get kilowatt-hours.

The rate you pay for a kilowatt-hour varies depending on where you live. We pay about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour here in North Carolina. Some power companies also have "time of use" plans, where you pay more during the day and less at night. Look on your power bill to see how much a kilowatt-hour costs.

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An electric blanket might consume 200 watts (depending on the setting). So if you leave it on for 10 hours, it consumes 2 kilowatt-hours. That would cost between 15 and 30 cents, depending on your location.

Many appliances tell you their energy consumption. For example, a 100-watt light bulb consumes 100 watts. Something like an electric blanket can be harder to figure out because it is adjustable. If you want to determine exactly how much power it is consuming, turn off EVERYTHING in your house and then go look at your electric meter. The aluminum disk inside the meter should be very nearly standing still. Now turn on your electric blanket (or whatever it is you want to measure) and then go look at the meter again. The disk has to go around 100 times to measure 1 kilowatt-hour on most meters in the United States, so count how long it takes for the disk to go around once and then do the math.

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Originally Published: Apr 1, 2000

Electric Blanket FAQs

What is the purpose of an electric blanket?
An electric blanket is exactly what it says — a blanket with built-in heating elements. It keeps the person using it warm, even in extremely cold rooms. Many people use them to help reduce their overall home heating costs.
Is it safe to use an electric blanket?
Unless they're damaged or outdated, modern electric blankets are safe to use with minimal risk. However, improper usage of electric blankets can cause fire or even burn your skin. Be sure there are no loose wires and that the blanket is not damaged in any way.
What are the disadvantages of electric blanket?
The main disadvantage of an electric blanket is the risk of fire. They aren't suitable for us one all types of beds, including bunkbeds or waterbeds. And never use one with other materials that could be flammable, including bed linens or comforters. Another major disadvantage is that you can't wash it like ordinary blankets because of the wiring inside.
What you should not do with an electric blanket?
The first thing you shouldn't do is leave it near children because it includes a heating unit that can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Secondly, avoid pinching or twisting it as that could damage its internal connections. Lastly, never use one on wet bedding or with mattresses that have heating pads.
Do electric blankets use a lot of electricity?
Modern electric blankets are based on thin carbon wires that are energy-efficient. The consumption of energy depends on its wattage, typically between 15 to 115 watts. If you're based in the U.S., you might be charged around 13 cents per kWh. So, if your electric blanket consumes 100 watts and you use it for 10 hours a day, that will cost about 13 cents.

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