Death of an Electric Blanket

It may be an old-fashioned idea, but hell — it works.

Last year, I wrote about using my ancient electric blanket in my RV. As summer turned to autumn here in Washington State, where I’m camped out for just another two weeks, I put the blanket back on my bed.

Two days later, it died.

I kind of smelled some weird electric burning smell while I was sleeping. I have a very sensitive nose — which may be one reason why it’s above-average in size. (Once, when we lived in Queens, NY, I was awakened by the smell of a building fire that turned out to be 13 blocks away. Who needs smoke detectors?) The smell wasn’t enough to fully wake me up, but it was enough to flick the blanket’s control to off. The smell went away. The next night, the blanket refused to warm up.

I can’t complain. The damn thing was new in 1977. That makes it 34 years old. I think my parents, who bought it way back when, got their money’s worth out of it. The fact that it still worked this year is a minor miracle in my book. (How long do you think its likely made-in-China replacement will last?)

I mentioned the death of my electric blanket on Twitter and Facebook. I was roundly teased. I likely deserved it. Electric blankets aren’t exactly hip.

But I do want to explain why I will be replacing it — even though it’s something that most people think only “grannies” use.

The beauty of an electric blanket in my RV is simple.

I don’t run the heat at night. Its blower is very loud and it goes on and off all night. I wouldn’t get much sleep.

When I go to bed, the RV is usually at a nice, comfortable temperature — one good for a light blanket under my light comforter. But as the night progresses, it gets colder and colder. Sometimes down to the 40s. RV’s have amazingly crappy insulation, so whatever the temperature is outside at night, it’s pretty much the same temperature inside. As it gets colder and colder, my need for blankety warmth increases.

What am I supposed to do? Get up and put another blanket on the bed?

Of course not. I flick the switch and let the electric blanket do its thing. Its internal thermostat maintains a steady temperature, keeping me toasty warm all night.

This is the beauty of an electric blanket.

On very cold mornings, I’ll often get out of bed, turn on the heat, and then get back under that granny blanket until the rest of the RV is warmed up.

So yes, I will be replacing my ancient electric blanket. I’ll do it today.

The nights are getting cold now. It’s almost time for this snowbird to fly south for the winter.

6 thoughts on “Death of an Electric Blanket

  1. I see the logic in your choice of blankie and I’m glad to know you will be snuggly warm soon. I have a small oil immersion heater that silently warms the RV through the cold nights and a thick down comforter. Mornings, I fire up the central gas heat or leave the t-stat set at a minimum setting to ensure that I have something large enough to grasp when I head to the bathroom!
    Be well.

    • “Blankie”… yes, someone else also referred it that way. Conjures images of Linus.

      I knew you’d understand. Some RV living things are only understood by other RV dwellers. I need to look into one of those immersion heaters — you’re the second person to suggest one.

      Of course, all this is moot without an electrical hookup. On those off-the-grid nights — think Walmart parking lot — I’m mighty glad to have that noisy heat blower.

  2. Maria,
    Wonderful old tech. is everlasting!
    I have one that I have “fixed” several times!
    the small wires right at the hook-up flex the most and are usually where the break is…just cut the stitching there and wire it back up!
    Although it is thread-bare it is warm!

  3. Have you investigated heating blankets made by beurer.
    They are made in Hungary I believe. Looks like a good company. Blankets/pads are smaller to fit European size beds.
    My Chinese electric blanket lasted one year. I a not going to buy another Chinese made one. This has nothing to do with anything against Chinese labor, rather factories and labor practices. I guess I deserve it for buying one in the first place.
    Good luck and best wishes.

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