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An Easy Way To Save On Your Heating Bill

Heating Bill - The Winter BluesFor those of you that have frigid unforgiving winters, and even for those of us that live in more moderate climates such as myself, Here’s a quick and relatively inexpensive way to save on your heating bill. Even though it’s late in the season, it’s not too late to save a few dollars between now and Spring and to be ready for next fall when the cold starts all over again.  It’s a pretty simple tip, get an electric mattress warmer.

Whats an Electric Mattress Warmer?

The electric mattress warmer is NOT the traditional electric blanket that may immediately come to mind. It is typically in the form of a fitted sheet and goes directly over the mattress and underneath the sheets. They are low voltage devices and most of them cut off automatically so are relatively safe to use. The typical mattress warmer consumes anywhere from 60 to 90 watts when set on high and in the neighborhood of 20 watts when set at a  more comfortable level of 2 or 3 on the dial. I usually set my side of the bed to “low” or “1”, anything higher than that and it gets too warm for me.

One distinct advantage the mattress warmer offers over the electric blanket is that the heat it produces is trapped between the mattress and the blanket. The electric blanket loses most of its heat since it radiates up and into the room. That insulating effect is a major factor in why mattress warmers are so much more efficient than a standard electric blanket. If you think that they potentially use too much electricity then refer to the chart below, they are effectively the lowest power consuming appliance in the entire list. Although the list shows an electric blanket, mattress warmers use slightly less electricity than an electric blanket so they are definitely very low consumers of power.

 appliance

US Dept. of Energy booklet “Energy Savers – Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home” October 2008

 Why We Love Our Mattress Warmer

My wife and I first started using a mattress warmer over two years ago and are on our third winter using the same one we originally bought. We both swear that we will never be without one (unless of course we end up in a tropical paradise sipping drinks on the beach). The feeling of sliding into a bed where you’re sandwiched between a toasty warm mattress and sheets is indescribable. This is especially true if your house, like ours, stays a bit on the cold side. One additional benefit I’ve found is that being enveloped in a warm cocoon typically knocks me out and lets me enjoy a nice deep restorative sleep.

How a Mattress Warmer Can Save You Money

The cost savings kick in when we reset out thermostat to go down to 60 degrees at night. We originally had it set to go down to 65 degrees. By adding the blanket warmer we could knock it down another five degrees at night and still be comfortably warm in our bed. This works best if you have a smart thermostat that sets the temperature down for you automatically. The really nice thing about a smart thermostat is that you can program it to raise the temperature before you get up in the morning so your feet don’t stick to the tile floor in the bathroom :).

Of course if you have other occupants in your home you have to take them into consideration as well. They may very well need a blanket warmer or at least an electric blanket for their bed. If you have a number of other folks in your home it may become cost prohibitive. Electric mattress warmers start at around $75 and go up to several hundred from there. We spent about $100 for our king size bed and that included dual controls. If you have to buy several of them then the overall cost may be high enough that the offset on your heating bill may not be enough to make it worthwhile. This is especially true if you add on the cost of a smart, programmable thermostat.

One quick word of caution, check with the manufacturer if you have a memory foam mattress or one that has exotic materials. Some materials do not hold up well to sustained heat and may be permanently damaged by a mattress warmer.

If you don’t already have one, consider adding an electric mattress warmer to your arsenal of energy and cost savings tools. If you don’t have one already, consider a programmable smart thermostat. You don’t have to spend several hundred dollars on one, I spent $50 at The Home Depot on ours and it took about 10 minutes to install it (and about a half hour to figure out how to program it). Do you have any home heating tips that you’d like to share? Let us know with your comments or better yet, if you have a good post you’d like to submit on energy saving tips send it to me as a guest post submission.

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John Schmoll is a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. He's passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes so that they can live lives free from the shackles of debt and empowered to make their money work for them. You can check out his other sites: Frugal Rules, for ways to improve your financial literacy; and Sprout Wealth for tips on different ways to make more money. John has been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, Yahoo Finance and US News & World Report and more. If you're wanting to grow your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

22 comments

  1. I’ve never thought about using a mattress warmer but it makes perfect sense though, on top of that you wouldn’t have to run the furnace so much at night as well.

  2. I’ll be thinking of this post as I slide into my freezing cold bed tonight! Off to the store tomorrow I think.

  3. Good tip. My favourite site on the topic of energy conservation is definitely http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/ His how-to guide is so ridiculously in-depth.

    • I;ll have to make it a point to go check his site out today. I hate paying my utility company any more than I absolutely have too!

      • I personally guarantee that there is no more in-depth, comprehensive, entertaining guide on the web than his. Funny how it didn’t take a government / public utility or taxpayer dollars to produce it!

        • I looked at his site today and have to say toy are 100%. He is right on everything I’ve read so far (I have an Electrical Engineering background as well) and entertaining too! Thanks for the tip!

  4. Great tip, Jose! My mother-in-law uses a small heating pad to warm her bed before she gets into it. I’m guessing she uses it where her feet go. I like to wear fleece socks to bed. They keep my tootsies warm and that seems to keep the rest of me warm enough also. I buy Acorn fleece socks on sale for about $7-8 a pair and they last for years.

    • Thanks Maggie! We looked at the small versions of the mattress warmers, I think they’re sold as foot warmers but decided to go for the full monte. I bet the foot warmers do a pretty good job as well. I keep a few pairs of thick wool socks in my drawer for those really frigid days or on the rare accoasion that we get some decent snow here. I haven’t checked out the acorn socks but should probably take a look at them for my wife, who suffers from EFF, eternally frozen feet.

  5. This is a pretty neat device. We need one for my wife. When she gets into bed she complains that it’s too cold and wants me to the heat up. Although, I’m curious as to whether or not I would get too hot.
    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • The nice thing is that many of these mattress warmers have independent controls for each side of the bed. My wife sleeps with hers on 5 and I have mine turned down to 0 or 1 or I would roast. The low setting keeps it just warm enough to be comfortable for me. I do turn it on high about 1/2 hour before going to bed and then turn it down right when I get to bed. I think your wife would really like it (She sounds a lot like my wife). And if you have a jokers streak in you you can always stick your cold feet on her when you first slide into bed :D, I do.

  6. A mattress warmer.. now that sounds like bedtime bliss! I love crawling in to a warm bed!

    • It is blissful, indescribably delicious!

      • Having little ones makes it a challenge to do this and save money with lowering the furnace at night. Personally, I would never put an electric blanket or mattress warmer on my kids beds when they were tots. Our kids are in their late teens now so they can handle it .

  7. Great writeup! I’ve heard of these in the past, but never have bought one. We used to have an electric blanket, but it has been a few years. I like how you described the heat would stay in the bed better. We like to keep our furnace low at night, though I fear what our little ones would do with it. 🙂

  8. I love getting into a toasty bed when it’s cold out. I haven’t tried a mattress warmer, but I have warmed up sheets and blankets in the dryer before.

  9. That one way to due it. We list the mattress warmer as one item we won’t live without. At least as long as we live anywhere with a cold winter.

  10. The way I keep ours low is by being naturally over heated. My wife is the same way. We like our room to be 57 and we love it. Our sons room is separately heated so we don’t have to heat the whole house.

  11. I used to be that way, my wife complains that as I’ve gotten older I’ve lost my “heater”. I don’t have the extra body heat I used to have. It comes from liking warm weather too much 😀

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