Is your electric blanket safe?Over half of blankets tested fail council tests

17 October 2012

Electric blanket controller

Trading Standards tests have found Brits using electric blankets with faults that could cause serious fires - does your old electric blanket need replacing?

A total of 761 electric blankets were tested at events across Cumbria by Trading Standards officers, and 386 were taken out of circulation because of faults such as damaged heating wires and flexes.

Faulty electric blankets can cause deadly fires – about 20 people are killed and 250 are injured every year in fires caused by electric blankets.

Cumbria County Council's cabinet member for community safety and local services Angela Jones said: 'Our advice is to always buy blankets new, not second-hand, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.'

If you are thinking of buying an electric blanket for the first time, or replacing an existing one, make sure you read our guide to choosing an electric blanket. And if you take out a £1 trial to Which? you can read all our reviews, including electric blankets, where we reveal Best Buy products.

Electric blanket safety

Electric blankets or sheets are fitted with a series of thin electrical wires that heat up your bed when they're plugged into your mains electricity supply, either before you retire to bed, or throughout the night while you're sleeping. 

All electric blankets are required to meet safety standards before going into shops, but older blankets are more likely to have faults, and those over 10 years old should be replaced.

Top safety tips

Which? researcher Matt Clear says: 'As part of our testing of electric blankets, we carry out electrical safety checks on the plugs, fuses and cables, as well as checking the safety information provided on labels and in the manual. 

'None of the blankets we've tested had safety problems, but there are a few things you can do to help keep your blanket fault-free, as well as signs to watch out for if you suspect it isn’t. Read our guide to using electric blankets safely for our top safety tips.' 

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