Hook an Electric Blanket or Mattress Pad Up to a Timer

I purchased heated mattress pads and electric blankets for my family to reduce our energy usage and so we could sleep more comfortably. It made sense to me that by using them we could lower the thermostat at night, saving us more than the cost of operating the electric mattress pads and electric blanket.

Then the battles began. My children never remembered to turn theirs off when they got up in the morning. I would go into their rooms to put away laundry in the late afternoon and find the electric mattress pads still on. I reminded. I explained. After a few weeks I moved on to lecturing and guilt trips. Nothing worked. The electric mattress pads ran constantly. The cats loved it.

Even worse, my husband never remembered to turn his side of our dual control electric blanket off. After complaining to him on a daily basis about his failure to do this simple thing I gave up on the lot of them.

Then today I opened the utility bill. It was much higher than I expected. I knew that the bed warmers being left on weren’t solely to blame for the high utility bill but I decided to do some research anyway. Here is what I found.

In our house there are two twin size electric heated mattress pads. They are each 18-watt. 1000 watts is equal to one kilowatt (kWh). That means that they each use .18 kWh per hour. Where I live a kWh costs about 6 cents.

.18 kWh x 6 cents = 1.08 cents

This means that each mattress pad costs about a penny per hour to operate, which doesn’t sound like much.

There are 24 hours in a day. For the sake of making this simple we will assume that there are 30 days in a month, every month.

24 hours x 30 days = 720 hours

This means there are 720 hours in a month.

720 hours x 1 cent = $7.20

This means that if a twin size heated mattress pad is left on 24 hours a day, 30 days a month, it will cost 7.20 per month.

Remember, we have 2 of these running.

2 x $7.20 = $14.40

We also have a queen-size electric heated blanket. It uses 135 watts per side. That’s 270 watts total, which means that it costs 11.66 per month if left on 24 hours a day, 30 days a month.

$14.40 + $11.66 = $26.06 per month for all three appliances.

My four year old needs 10-12 hours of sleep per night according to most experts. My eight year old needs 10 hours of sleep per night according to the same experts. Adults need 8 hours of sleep per night according to just about everyone.

Conclusion: We could save about 15 dollars a month by turning the electric blanket and heated mattress pads off when not in use. A timer can be set to turn the appliance on at bedtime and turn it off 8, 10, or 12 hours later eliminating the need for anyone to remember. Timers cost 4.98 at my local Lowe’s. The timers would pay for themselves from a financial standpoint in one month. The benefit derived from me not nagging my kids and husband every day and not being angry on a regular basis is worth something too; perhaps even more than the savings in dollars.

I went out and bought three timers this evening.

I get my utilities from City Utilities of Springfield. They have much lower rates than the national average of 10.65 cents per kWh.
(Source: Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 54 / Wednesday, March 21, 2007 / Notices)

Your savings could be more significant than mine if you live in an area with higher utility rates.

I would recommend that anyone with a forgetful spouse or forgetful children, or both, purchase an inexpensive timer for your electric blanket or mattress pad.

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