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'Turn on' your blankets

     Stop shivering at night with a little help from an electric blanket.
     An electric blanket or mattress pad could save you up to 3 percent on your heating bill—for each degree you lower your thermostat overnight. And you won’t feel cold.
     But don’t plug in an old electric blanket that you haven’t used in years. Chances are, it’s no longer safe. 
     Besides, newer models have better warming technology and built-in safety features, and they come in up-to-date fabrics, textures and colors. 
    Most new electric blankets come with temperature sensors that automatically warm the coldest parts of your body, and they prevent the blanket from overheating. Electric blankets and mattress pads are less bulky than they were in the past, and their wires are hidden. 
    As you shop for a new electric blanket or mattress pad, rule out any products that are not rated as safe by a trusted product safety testing organization, like UL.
    Here are a few safety tips to follow once you get your cozy new bedding home:
•    Don’t leave it plugged in overnight unless it is specifically designed for extended use. Instead, turn your blanket or pad on about 20 minutes before bed and turn it off when you get in. 
•    Electric blankets can burn the sensitive skin of the elderly and infants, so never leave the devices unattended with the heat on.
•    Buy a product with an auto-off feature, and check it for defects or damage before plugging it in.
•    Replace a blanket that is more than 10 years old; it’s a fire hazard.

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