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  #1  
Old 01-17-2007, 08:20 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Do electric blankets use a lot of electricity?

I'm freezing...I have the thermostat set on 71 degrees, but I'm in a room with a big picture window and stone walls. The thermostat is located in this room, but I'm still cold. So I have an electric blanket on me. I intend to leave it on all day. Does this use a lot of electricity?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2007, 08:26 AM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Electric blankets draw somewhere around 200 watts. This article gives you a rough idea of operating costs.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:31 AM
chrisk chrisk is offline
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I imagine it's a lot more efficient than trying to heat up the room.

kudos!
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  #4  
Old 01-17-2007, 08:32 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Thanks! It costs between 15 and 30 cents to run it for 10 hours. I can afford that! (Plus, it draws cats...what's not to like?)
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:44 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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In addition, you can buy those plastic sheets that you stick over the windows, using a adhesive border you heat up with a hair dryer to form a tight seal, and take then down in the spring. ([url="http://cgi.ebay.com/5-Shrink-Film-Standard-Windows-Winter-Insulation-Kit_W0QQitemZ200066639860QQihZ010QQcategoryZ63515QQcmdZViewItem"]eBay entries, though any hardware store should carry them).

Additional tip; get an incense stick and move it along the walls, paying particular attention to outlets and light switches. You may be surprised to see how many drafts (visible in the swirling incense smoke) you have. Seal them up accordingly.

Anyway, relax. Spring is only ~10 weeks away.

In any case, the blanket itself should have a wattage value printed on its label, or if only an amp rating is given, multiply by 110 to approximate the wattage. You do have to be careful about leaving an electric blanket on you for extended periods, though if you don't suffer from compromise circulation, you should be fine.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:45 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Hmm, screwed up the link. Here
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:47 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Not only is an electric blanket in use only part of the day, all models I've seen have a control that cycles it off & on. The ones I've had have a 1-10 range, and even though I sleep in a cold room, I've never had it above 3 (1 is lowest), so I would assume that is 3/10 of the max power of 180 watts, or the equivalent of a 54 watt bulb. That would be less than 5 cents per night (8 hours, 10 cents/KWH).

That also assumes a linear cycle scale from 1-10. The newest blankets don't emit an audible click like the older ones did when cycling, so I can't easily tell when it is on or off.

Pretty cheap compared to heating an entire room or house.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalhoun
Thanks! It costs between 15 and 30 cents to run it for 10 hours.
I don't think that site took into consideration the cycling. Surely a 200 watt appliance that isn't on most of the time doesn't consume 200 watts continuously.
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  #8  
Old 01-17-2007, 08:48 AM
Duke of Rat Duke of Rat is offline
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I'm cold natured and bought electric blankets for the bed and my recliner in the living room last winter when gas was so high. I think I cut my gas bill enough after one month to pay for them (just guessing, going off the amount of gas used the same month the year before. My bill has that info.). Best purchase I ever made. I've found that I don't mind keeping the house colder as long as I can get warm when I'm just sitting, and my gas bills so far this winter are lower yet.

And my dog loves it, too. I think he likes it more than I do, he's pretty cold natured as well.
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:51 AM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat
I don't think that site took into consideration the cycling. Surely a 200 watt appliance that isn't on most of the time doesn't consume 200 watts continuously.
Quite right, but when you're figuring operating costs you probably want to take the worst-case scenario. It would suck to assume, say, a 50% duty cycle then find out it was on all the time and cost you twice as much as you expected. Ok, so 30 cents one way or the other probably isn't going to break the bank, in this case, but you get my drift.
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2007, 08:53 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers
In addition, you can buy those plastic sheets that you stick over the windows, using a adhesive border you heat up with a hair dryer to form a tight seal, and take then down in the spring. ([url="http://cgi.ebay.com/5-Shrink-Film-Standard-Windows-Winter-Insulation-Kit_W0QQitemZ200066639860QQihZ010QQcategoryZ63515QQcmdZViewItem"]eBay entries, though any hardware store should carry them).

Additional tip; get an incense stick and move it along the walls, paying particular attention to outlets and light switches. You may be surprised to see how many drafts (visible in the swirling incense smoke) you have. Seal them up accordingly.

Anyway, relax. Spring is only ~10 weeks away.

In any case, the blanket itself should have a wattage value printed on its label, or if only an amp rating is given, multiply by 110 to approximate the wattage. You do have to be careful about leaving an electric blanket on you for extended periods, though if you don't suffer from compromise circulation, you should be fine.
Thanks, BE...I already know that my house is waaay drafty. It was built in the 1890s...apparently by a frontiersman who was tripping on magic mushrooms. We've invested in new windows, new insulation and siding, but you just can't seal up all the leaks in a joint like this. The blanket label says 180 watts. It's very cozy!
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  #11  
Old 01-17-2007, 08:56 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke of Rat
I'm cold natured and bought electric blankets for the bed and my recliner in the living room last winter when gas was so high. I think I cut my gas bill enough after one month to pay for them (just guessing, going off the amount of gas used the same month the year before. My bill has that info.). Best purchase I ever made. I've found that I don't mind keeping the house colder as long as I can get warm when I'm just sitting, and my gas bills so far this winter are lower yet.

And my dog loves it, too. I think he likes it more than I do, he's pretty cold natured as well.
I love the "under the blanket" time, but if I need to get up to do things like housework, I have to turn up the furnace again. Or I don't do anything but sit and bask in the warmosity of my blankie. Which is what I usually end up doing. Which is why I live in a pig sty.
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2007, 08:58 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D.
Quite right, but when you're figuring operating costs you probably want to take the worst-case scenario. It would suck to assume, say, a 50% duty cycle then find out it was on all the time and cost you twice as much as you expected. Ok, so 30 cents one way or the other probably isn't going to break the bank, in this case, but you get my drift.
True, But my experience with electric blankets suggests that using 200 WH for the calcs is vastly overkill. When I lived in Los Angeles, I slept under an open window (a fan was bolted to it, and it couldn't be closed) year-round, and the only heat in the room was from the blanket. I never used a setting greater than 3. My nose got cold, but the rest of me was warm enough. Outside dipped to near freezing sometimes, but probably not below.

So if you want to know if electric blankets are cheap to run, use 30 cents, but if you want to know what they actually cost, I suggest 5 cents/night may be a more accurate figure.
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2007, 02:46 PM
According to Pliny According to Pliny is offline
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I recommend a power sensor called "Kill-a-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor"
These run about $22 at Amazon and many tool and electronics stores.

It will tell you exactly how much power you use over any period of time, so you can tell exactly.

Mine paid for itself the first week when I was able to convince my son exactly how much his old refrigerator in the garage was costing him to operate.
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