HOUSEHOLDS are being urged to check their electric blankets over concerns they could be a serious safety risk.
Electric blankets are a popular way to keep warm while keeping your electricity bill low.
But Which? is warning that some devices being sold in the UK are so poorly that they risk giving the user an electric shock.
The consumer website tested 11 electric blankets, throws and shawls from retailers including AliExpress, Amazon, eBay and Wish.
It found that nine out of the 11 items that it bought should not be sold legally in the UK because they were badly made or had problems with packaging, markings or instructions.
Which? found that three of the popular home essentials posed a potential electric shock hazard.
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One of the electric blankets tested by Which? was bought on AliExpress for £13.
It found that the wires connecting the controller to the mains were twisted together and covered in sealant", which Which? says "served to hide a second-rate connection".
Another electric blanket, bought for £21 from a seller on AliExpress, was a "dangerous product with a problem cable, fuse and plug", Which? said.
A third one, bought for £18 on the same online marketplace, again had a "dodgy and dangerous UK three-pin plug adapter that could lead to users getting an electric shock".
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Only two electric blankets out of 11 passed all of Which?’s tests.
One on Amazon Marketplace, a 1Above double size heated blanket, bought for £27, and another on eBay, an Electric heated throw bought for £22.
The nine dodgy electric blankets flagged by Which? have now been removed by the online marketplaces.
Sue Davies, Which? head of consumer protection policy, said: “Electric blankets have surged in popularity as people look to save money during the cost of living crisis, but our latest research shows that buying these products cheaply on online marketplaces can put your safety at risk.
“The government must urgently act to give online marketplaces greater legal responsibility for unsafe and illegal products sold on their sites so that consumers are no longer put at unnecessary risk of harm.”
An AliExpress spokesperson added: "As a third-party marketplace, AliExpress does not take custody of the goods being sold."
How to use an electric blanket safely
When you purchase a new electric blanket, it's important that you read the instructions that come with it carefully first.
Different brands manufacture different types of electric blankets.
Here are some tips you should follow to ensure safe use, according to Healthline:
- Make sure to turn the blanket off when you're not using it and only use just one at a time.
- Avoid switching it on by mistake by not attaching it to an outlet that also has a light switch.
- Avoid using a water bottle or a heating pad along with your blanket.
- Do not pile it with pillows and blankets and other objects.
- Do not fold up your electric blanket when it's turned on
- Make sure not to use it on a waterbed or a hospital one.
- If possible, try to never fold your electric blanket.
- If you have to wash your electric blanket, check the manual first to ensure you do it the right way.
- It's essential that you are 100 per cent sure that your blanket is dry after washing it because it's dangerous to turn on a wet blanket.
- Don't tuck the edges of the electric blanket under the mattress.
- Don't sit or lie on top of it either.
Taking these precautions can prevent the electric blanket from overheating and burning you.
It will also prevent any sort of electrocution.
Electrical Safety First emphasises the importance of purchasing your electric blanket from a reliable retailer.
Another important safety precaution to think of is disposing of your electric blanket.
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It shouldn't be thrown away with your general domestic waste.
Instead, you should call up your local council to check where the nearest recycling centre that accepts electric appliances is.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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