When in doubt, throw it out

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

As win­ter places its icy hands over Queen­stown, it’s time to pre­pare your­self for the in­evitable cold weather. There’s pos­si­bly noth­ing worse than toss­ing and turn­ing all night try­ing to keep warm. Hot water bot­tles and ex­tra blan­kets of­ten don’t do the trick so it’s time to in­vest in an elec­tric blan­ket and make sure your cur­rent one, if you have one, is up to scratch. Elec­tric blan­kets, although con­ve­nient, can also be dan­ger­ous so mak­ing sure you are fol­low­ing the right safety steps is im­por­tant. If you can’t re­mem­ber when you pur­chased your elec­tric blan­ket then chances are it’s too old. Most fires caused by elec­tric blan­kets are blamed on those that are over 10 years old. So if yours is not look­ing at its best, don’t risk it, get a new one. You should al­ways buy a new elec­tric blan­ket and avoid sec­ond hand at all costs. You don’t know the his­tory of the blan­ket and it could be un­safe. The in­ter­nal coils of the blan­ket can get dam­aged which may cause a va­ri­ety of prob­lems out of your con­trol. This next tip should be com­mon sense, but a gen­tle re­minder is nec­es­sary. If you’re no longer in bed, turn it off. If you are leav­ing the house, turn it off. An elec­tric blan­ket left on all day is a recipe for dis­as­ter. If you have an older elec­tric blan­ket, it may not have an in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture gauge to mea­sure when it gets too hot which could cause it to burn. If you have stained or marked your elec­tric blan­ket and think it needs a wash, then think again. Your ev­ery day elec­tric blan­ket is not ca­pa­ble of com­ing out of the wash­ing ma­chine with­out some in­ter­nal dam­age. The twist­ing, tug­ging, and turn­ing ac­tion of the wash­ing ma­chine will dam­age the in­ter­nal coils mak­ing it un­safe to use again. The coils are very im­por­tant for the safety of the elec­tric blan­ket. When win­ter is over and you are no longer need­ing that ex­tra warmth the blan­ket pro­vides, then how you store it is also very im­por­tant. If it is pos­si­ble, lay the blan­ket flat in stor­age. If you are hav­ing to fold it, try to avoid fold­ing it more than twice to avoid bend­ing or dam­ag­ing the in­ter­nal coils. If your blan­ket gets wet, do not turn it on to dry it out, let it dry nat­u­rally or save all pos­si­ble dan­gers by pur­chas­ing a new one. They don’t break the bank and safety is more im­por­tant than spend­ing a few ex­tra dol­lars. Re­place any elec­tric blan­ket that is worn or torn, where any cord is frayed or where the tem­per­a­ture con­trol is dam­aged. You can never be too picky when it comes to elec­tric blan­ket safety. When in doubt, throw it out.

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