Back in October, 2008 I picked up the Sunbeam Therapeutic heating pad from ebay. The price was much better than I was able to find either locally or even on my normal shopping haunts on the “intertubes”. I was able to get this new for about $150.
Let me say, in no uncertain terms, this is one of the best purchases I have made in recent memory.
Unlike a normal electric blanket, this heats from the bottom so the bed is thoroughly warm when you get into it, and you are comfortably warm as you lie in it.
You just set it to preheat the bed (I find at least 15 minutes before you want to turn in) and you will not believe how great it is to slip into a warm bed every night.
I’m also able to keep the house and room temperature cooler at night with no decrease in comfort. And, as you’ll see below, the cost of running the heating mattress pad is vastly less than that of running the little room heater that I use in our master bedroom and obviously less than that of using the furnace to keep the whole house warm when you’re going to be ensconced in your bed all night.
As if that’s not great enough, both sides of the bed are independently controlled so his and her (or his and his… hey I’m not judging) preferences can be met. I don’t need much if any heating after I get in while Michelle likes things a little warmer for longer.
But wait! That’s not all! (picture a ginsu knife ad) Each side has 3 zones that can be heated independently. So if your feet get cold but your torso or head are fine then you need only heat that part of the bed. You can heat any of the zones from nothing through 10 different levels. And hot is pretty danged hot. The most we’ve ever played with is level 6 and I’ve settled on level 3 as my maximum.
I keep mine set for head – 1, Torso – 2, Feet – 3 while Michelle keeps hers set as head – 1, Torso – 2 and Feet – 6.
The control is wireless. Of course the mattress pad and the control unit need to be plugged in but the wiring can be completely inobtrusive. Here are some pictures of how I have it set up in our master bedroom. One warning, the remote can sometimes not communicate properly with the receiver unit. When you press any of the buttons, the receiver will make a beeping sound. If you don’t hear this then your command wasn’t sent. Just press another button and press your original again and it will work. I usually turn the pad off and then on again to be sure that it’s set to what I intended it to be.
There is no danger in this, the mattress pad will shut off automatically after 10 hours anyway if you somehow manage to leave it on. And the receiver unit has a light on it representing each side of the bed (sort of the way a stove light lets you know the burners are on). If you crouch down and peek under the bed you can assure yourself that the mattress pad is on or off.
You are sleeping on a mattress pad with wires in it. If you really try you can feel them. There’s no getting away from that. Sunbeam has seen fit to make the pad reasonably thick so I have not found this to be an issue.
As you may or may not know, we had some furnace issues during the cold snap that we had recently. Partly due to the “Sunbeam Therapeutic Mattress Pad” I did not have to rush to address the issue. I had no worries about us being uncomfortable. Add some well-placed space heaters and the furnace is merely an inconvenience rather than a crisis.
The following power tests were done with the unit in “preheat mode” which I understand means full blast. It is very difficult to make claims about power consumption at any point in time as all six zones seem to operate independently of each other. So the peak consumption is created by me letting the pad cool off, then setting both sides for full power.
The results comprise reasonably reprsentative winter use of this mattress pad. i.e. we used it every night and many nights even left it on all night long.
Elapsed time: 546 hrs (about 23 days)
Measured Maximum Consumption 1 side on preheat (Watts): 63
Measured Maximum Consumption both sides on preheat (Watts): 128 (don’t ask why it’s not quite double the single side, the results were the same regardless of which side was the single side)
Measured Consumption when not in use (Watts): 2
Actual (for duration of test): $0.44
Daily: $0.01 (rounding involved here)
Annual: $6.49 < -- Take with a grain of salt. We will probably only use for about 5 months a year.