Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Saving On Heating Costs From the Comfort of Your Bed

Heating Mattress Pad 
I woke up this morning around 4 a.m. for some reason. Not quite awake, not quite asleep, but aware that the air in the room is cool and the bed so nice and warm. Curled up beside me is my cat, who I like to refer to as the space heater, warm and snugly as well. It got me thinking about heating blankets and how wonderful they are. It also inspired me to write about the cost savings for those who use them and turn down their thermostat at night.

I discovered the Electric Blanket Institute (yes, there is such a place) at has a wonderful bit of information about just how much the estimated costs of running a heating blanket and/or a heating mattress pad. I thought I would share that with you today since the holidays are rapidly approaching and you might want to consider adding a heating blanket to your wish list.

Actual Cost To Run
Electric Blankets or Electric Mattress Pads

Federal Government Ranking of Appliance Energy Usage

How does electric blanket energy compare to that of other appliances? The United States Department of Energy rates a heated blanket as the most energy efficient appliance in your home.
Electric Blanket Energy Usage
Source: US Dept. of Energy booklet “Energy Savers – Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home” October 2008

Electric Blanket Energy Usage – Actual Cost to Run

People often ask us how much energy does a typical automatic blanket use or how many watts do electric blankets consume. Do not be confused by the manufacturer’s rating-tag wattage. Many manufacturers artificially over-state their products’ wattage rating in order to imply more heat and to assure that they will never exceed UL’s stringent requirements on ratings. In fact, all warming blankets consume only around 75 – 100 watts (per side on Dual controlled models) when used on HI. However many people set their controls around #5 or lower thus effectively halving that wattage to 40 – 50 watts. For eight hours, this amounts to approximately 0.35kwh consumed or about 4 cents per night in most areas of this country.

Heated Mattress Pad Energy Usage – Actual Cost to Run

Additionally people ask us how much energy or wattage do typical electric mattress pads use. Again, do not go by the rating-tag watts. When actually measured, most warming mattress pads consume around 60 to 90 watts (per side on Dual controlled models) when used at HI. Inherently, electric mattress pads are more efficient than electric blankets because ALL the heat of the pad is trapped in the air space under the top sheet and top blanket, whereas much of the heat generated by an electric blanket travels upward to the ceiling of the room. Many people set their pad controls around #3 thus effectively cutting wattage consumption to only 20 watts. For eight hours, this amounts to less than 0.2 kWh consumed or about 2-3 cents per night in most areas of the USA.

Heating Cost and Energy SAVINGS from
Electric Blankets and Heated Mattress Pads

Saving Energy and Heating Costs

Are you trying to lower your heating costs and save energy? How can electric blankets or heated mattress padsElectric Blanket Energy Savings save energy or save you any fuel costs? It’s because you can turn your house furnace thermostat down while you sleep and still stay warm and comfortable in your bed. Obviously it costs a lot less to heat beds than whole houses. We've heard it asked: Why would I want to heat my kitchen when I'm asleep in my bed?
Conservatively, in most parts of the United States, you can save 1% of the house-heating bill for EACH degree the furnace thermostat is turned down for a period of just eight hours! In some cities, 2% or more per degree setback can be saved. Thus, for example, if your heating bill is $200 for one month and you turn your house thermostat down by 10 degrees just while you sleep you will save $20-$40 in your heating costs during that one month! Therefore, your electric blanket or electric mattress pad product will pay for itself quite quickly in energy savings. Note: You can easily install a programmable thermostat and set it to warm your house just prior to awakening for total comfort.

Real Life Examples from Trusted Authoritative Sources

A very good article demonstrating actual energy savings can be found in the February/March 2008 issue of Mother Earth News®. The author shows how he spent $125 for a warming mattress pad and saved $186 the first year in energy savings, not to mention a CO2 reduction of 1150 pounds. He further estimates his 10-year heating cost savings due to the electric mattress pad at almost $3000! What a payback not even counting all the comfort and health benefits he gained! Check out that Mother Earth News article here.
Another trustworthy article recording actual energy savings can be found in a forum moderated by Alan Graham, liaison for the Discovery Channel's Treehugger where Mr. Graham states he paid for his electric mattress pad with two months of home heating savings. He says he further benefited by never getting a chill during the night while also helping to save the environment.
A very similar story is documented at Planet Green and in January of 2009, Consumer Reports stated that the average American household would save $233 per year by lowering the home thermostat 8 degrees for 8 hours per day 25 weeks per year.

So, as you can see, investing in a good heating blanket or heating mattress pad is definitely something to consider. While not an inexpensive investment, the rate of return is rather fast, being less than one winter season. You can sleep well both warm and knowing that you are doing something comfortable and healthy for you as well as wise for the environment.

Do you currently own a heating blanket or heating mattress pad?