We have a secret for staying toasty warm in bed so we can turn down the heat at night. Our green little secret is an electric mattress pad. In the olden days they used to heat up bricks and stick them under the covers to warm them up before crawling into bed. Thankfully we no longer have to sleep with bricks to stay warm. An electric mattress pad works similarly to the electric blankets our grandparents used with some advantages:
- Your partner can’t steal the mattress pad at night
- Your toes won’t stick out
- You won’t get tangled in the cords because you can safely run them under the bed
- With Queen and King sized electric mattress pads you get dual controls so you can adjust to different body temperatures
- The electric mattress pad we use (and recommend) automatically shuts off after 8 hours so you can’t forget to turn it off.
We recommend using the electric mattress pad on your bed so that you can turn down the heat even farther at night with your programmable thermostats. The US Department of Energy says that you can save about 1% on your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat for eight hours a day. If you lowered your thermostat 5°F every night, you should save 5% on your heating bill. Think about what it would mean if you could lower 10°F every night. With a Heated Mattress Pad on your bed, you can easily drop the room temperature by 10°F and be even more comfortable in bed. They even have preheat setting that will warm up the bed so you can crawl into an already comfy bed. One limit for families is that it is not recommended to use the electric mattress pad with kids or babies. Therefore we do not turn our thermostat down as far as we would otherwise. Alicia really appreciates our electric mattress pad when I don’t come to bed until much later. Beyond the luxurious comfort, the energy savings is significant. The basic concept is that it require less energy to heat up a small important space, such as under the blankets, than to heat up a large volume of air in a room or the entire house. So how do the numbers look? Let’s assume you lower the thermostat by 5°F (e.g. from 65°F to 60°F) for 8 hours each night during the 4 month heating season and use an the electric heated mattress pad for the same 8 hour period each night. A 5% savings on space heating would be about 800 kWh. This is estimated based on 41% household usage for space heating of a 123 million BTU annual home energy usage from EIA Energy Kids. I measured the energy consumption of our queen sized electric heated mattress pad for three cold nights. We used 0.4 kWh for those three nights. Expanded out over the entire 4 month heating season, that would only be about 16 kWh total. So using an electric heated mattress pad could save you over 750 kWh per year (takes into account 3x heat to electricity efficiency conversion) if you also turned down the thermostat by 5°F while you sleep.
- 5% of Space Heating Energy for a Typical Home: 800 kWh
- Electricity Usage by an Electric Heated Mattress Pad for a year: 16 kWh (roughly 50 kWh of primary energy)
- Savings for using an electric heated mattress pad per year: 750 kWh
We recommend that you put some heat under your covers with an electric heated mattress pad, and you can save a lot of energy in the process if you also turn down your thermostat at night while you are sleeping cozy and warm. Happy Greening! Jon p.s. For those of you with children or pets, yes, it IS machine washable! We have washed our several times with no difficulty.