Electric blanket partner becoming part of the circuit

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  #1  
Old 04-25-12, 09:36 AM
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Electric blanket partner becoming part of the circuit

While this isn't strictly DIY, hopefully someone here can offer advice or point me in the right direction.

I bought an electric blanket for my new bed this week and last night my partner and I discovered something which we found both strange and somewhat scary.

The electric blanket is the type that has two temperature controls - one for each side.

My partner was lying on her side that had the electric blanket turned on. I was on my side which was turned off. When she touched my arm she told me it was vibrating. I couldn't feel it and thought nothing of it, however when she touched my chest I definitely felt it. I touched her stomach and it was significantly stronger, I immediately clicked that it was being caused by the new electric blanket and we were becoming part of the circuit. From now on I'm going to ensure the electric blanket is used only before we get into bed and not when we sleep, however I'm curious and would like to get my head around it.

Is it normal for my partner to become part of the circuit like this? Obviously she has become part of it, but I would've thought there would've been insulation to stop this from happening. Is the electric blanket faulty?

From what I understand, electricity is constantly trying to get to earth and will always take the path of least resistance. I've thought about it and there is a path back to earth via me. I'm touching the unused circuit on the other side of the electric blanket (the side that was turned off) which in turn connects back into the wall outlet via a extension/multibox. This is the same multibox and wall outlet that the other side of the electric blanket is plugged into. Have I effectively created one giant circuit when my partner and I touch? Would plugging the other side into a different wall outlet make any difference? I'm reluctant to conduct experiments with electricity that involve my partner and I...

I appreciate your time in reading this. Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-25-12, 10:02 AM
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The way you describe it, it's plugged into 2 different wall outlets? That seems odd if true.

I would take it back and exchange it. The only way you should feel anything would be if something is faulty in the wiring of the blanket.
 
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Old 04-25-12, 10:02 AM
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I would stop using the blanket and return it. Something does not sound correct.
 
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Old 04-25-12, 10:14 AM
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Sorry, I should've been clearer. Each side has it's own temperature control which plugs into a power socket, so there are two plugs for this blanket and it's possible to have one side of the blanket on, one side off. I've currently got them both plugged into the same multibox which in turn plugs into a single wall outlet.

Thanks for both your replies - I agree somethings not right and I think I'll take it back as you suggest.
 
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Old 04-25-12, 10:50 AM
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Forget about the rest of the details, there is no way you should be part of the circuit.
 
  #6  
Old 04-26-12, 04:11 AM
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Are you sure your were feeling electrical trickle and not mechanical pulsing? Some controls lower the heat by turning it on & off very quickly, resulting in pulsing. Turn the control all the way up to high and see if it still pulses.

Your info says you're not in the USA. Is there any chance that you're using a 60Hz device on 50hz power? This would make the pulsing more noticeable.
 
  #7  
Old 04-26-12, 06:47 AM
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Rick, sorry I'm not home at the moment so I can't check the electric blanket but I believe that here in New Zealand we do operate at 50hz so it's a possibility. Buying it from a New Zealand store though I'd assume it to be 50hz.

I managed to find Frequently Asked Questions - Dreamland Electric Blankets (random brand) which implies this is normal, to some extent. I've read similar stories online, usually involving laptops, and even after replacing the blanket the tingling was still there. It would seem that "individual specific circumstances in each of our homes will sometimes produce this effect". Does anyone have any insight into what these circumstances could be within my home? The bed doesn't have springs in it and it sits slightly off the floor on plastic wheels.

While the above website says that it's perfectly harmless, I'm not entirely convinced. Call me paranoid but I'll probably turn it off before getting into bed if I can't stop it from occurring.

Thanks to everyone who has replied offering advice.
 
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