Dreamland Intelliheat – Warm Bed, Happy Wallet

warm, cosy bed

February finally brought the big chill after an otherwise mild winter, relatively speaking, and even though temperatures have only occasionally crept below zero in central London, the cold can still bite in my drafty, poorly insulated flat.

I have, until recently, left my electric heater on all night in the bedroom just to maintain a comfortable ambient temperature but even though I had it on a really low setting, it was still costing me an arm and a leg.

I had bought some electricity monitors to measure my usage and it was one of my green Ney Year’s Resolutions to use them to find out where I could reduce my bills (and thus my carbon footprint). When I saw how much electricity was being consumed by my electric heater I was shocked – on one single night, the 6th February, it used around 15.2KWhs of electricity costing £1.85 and generating as much as 6.84kg of CO2 emissions. It must have been a cold night, or I must have had it on a slightly higher setting than usual but this shocked me into finding a solution.

In Comes The Heated Mattress Protector

All I can say is wow! I call it a heated mattress protector; you may call it a heated under-blanket, whatever the name, it really makes a big difference to both my comfort and my energy usage.

It has elasticated corners so fits like any other sheet and it has tiny wires running all through it which heat up when an electric current is passed through them. I put it on the highest setting for 5 minutes to warm up my bed before I get in it but I then turn it down to either the lowest setting or the one up from that. This is usually high enough to keep me warm without making me too hot.

I was a bit concerned that the wires would be uncomfortable but they are so small and my weight is so evenly spread out that I don’t even notice they are there.

It is also really easy to use and has 6 heat settings and 2 timer settings – either 1 hour or 9 hours. You really don’t need to read the instructions; a child could operate this thing.

I bought a Dreamland Intelliheat Heated Fleecy Double Dual Mattress Protector from Amazon for just £59.99 but I’ve no doubt that it will save me this amount many times over during the winters to come.

What About Running Costs?

Well, on the sales material, Dreamland claim it costs just 1p a night to run so I thought I would test this with one of my electricity monitors to see if such a bold claim is accurate. To my amazement, the most it has ever cost me to run for a whole night (including the 5 minutes on full power to warm up the bed initially) is around 1.2p and this is even through the freezing temperatures we had a week or so ago.

I don’t like to be too hot in bed so if you have it on a higher setting then it might cost you more, but I’d also imagine that with a thicker duvet (rather than my very thin one) the heat produced would be kept in better.

Since the ‘Intelliheat’ technology has a temperature sensor built in, the mattress protector can maintain your chosen temperature closely and turn itself off if it thinks you are getting too hot.

Up Steps The Plug Timer

Now that I was snug as a bug in a rug while I was asleep, the only thing I needed my electric room heater for was to help me get out of bed in the morning by ensuring it wasn’t freezing when I did so. So I bought a plug timer from my local hardware shop for around £3 and fitted it to my heater with it set to come on half an hour before my alarm and remain on for one hour.

I also had the energy monitor plugged in and found that by having the heater on for just one hour a day, it cut the cost down to as little as £0.19 though this varied quite a lot depending on how cold the night was.

Savings Add Up

So, I have now had my mattress protector for a week or so and I have a similar number of readings from before and I’ve averaged out the figures to give the following:

Kilowatt Hours KG CO2* Cost
Without Mattress Protector 10.1 4.55 1.23
With Mattress Protector 2.64 1.19 0.32
Savings 7.46 3.36 0.91

*KG CO2 based on the UK fuel mix from the DECC

If you think about it, if I had bough this mattress protector back in November or December, despite the relatively mild conditions we enjoyed for much of the festive period, I could have reduced my carbon footprint significantly.

Assuming these average hold from 1st December to 31st January, in those 62 days I would have used 462.52 fewer kilowatt hours, generated 208.32 fewer KG of CO2 and spent £57.04 less on my electricity bill.

Even taking into consideration the energy and carbon cost of making the product in the first place, those are significant sums and I can see me using it for as many as 100 nights a year which would mean even greater savings.

Winter May Be On It’s Way Out But…

So March will soon be upon us, and the monthly forecast on the BBC Weather website predicts milder air and fewer frosts to come but I’d still highly recommend buying a heated mattress protector (or under-blanket if you prefer) just in case. The one time cost might not be small change but the running costs are then so low you can turn it on whenever you need it.

You’d be doing the environment a favour too as the cumulative effect of thousands of people using a heated mattress protector would literally means thousands of tonnes less in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

So, have I tempted you into buying one? Let me know in the comments below.

Steve (152 Posts)

I am chief writer and editor on Green Steve. Blogging since 2011, I like to delve into a wide number of topics to help people reduce their carbon footprint. You should follow me on Twitter here. And add me to your Google+ circles here.

5 Responses to “Dreamland Intelliheat – Warm Bed, Happy Wallet”

  1. February 24, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    GreenSteve, Like you I use an electric blanket to warm my impossibly cold bedsheets before climbing in, and it is luxurious to say the least! But I always unplug the blanket before climbing in. Here’s why: electric blankets give off electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that get absorbed by the body–even when turned off. Here’s a good article that explains the dangers of EMF exposure and it addresses electric blankets specifically. Keep warm, but be safe! http://emf.mercola.com/sites/emf/emf-dangers.aspx

    • Steve
      March 2, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      Hi Crissy, thanks for dropping by. I have read the report you linked to but I still have my doubts as to whether such small EMFs can be harmful and a study I’ve found shows no evidence of increased risk of breast cancer in women who use electric blankets (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14501265) so I don’t believe it would be any worse for men or children. Maybe I am being naive but if there were actual scientific, peer reviewed, studies that have repeatedly shown a risk, electric blankets would not be on sale today. The fact that they are makes me think they are safe enough.

      Each to their own though, if you don’t want to use an electric blanket then I guess hot water bottles are the way to go.

  2. Sam
    March 1, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Thanks Crissy, I didn’t know this about EMFs. From about the age of 10 I had an electric blanket and didn’t switch it off when I got in! My mum still uses one and probably isn’t aware of the possible side effects!

  3. July 26, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Whoa 15 kWh in one night? Must have been a really inefficient heater! I would use one with a thermostat and have it just warm up enough at beditme and wake time, but keep a lower temp (eg 14C) during the dead of the night. You’ll sleep better too.

    One thing you may find interesting is that you are likely to get sleepy when your body detects a fall in temperature, and will wake up faster when it gets warmer. By letting your house cool down a few degrees after dinner, and heating it up just an hour before wake up time, you can nudge yourself into health sleeping habits.

    On EMFs – I don’t think there is enough scientific literature to show there is harm, but that that may be a function of what is being looked for and how harm is defined. Science is always playing catch-up with demand for knowledge in a given context, it does not have the mission (or funding..) to just seek for all truths. So I avoid EMF exposures like that as much as possible. Humanity and our organisms evolved without such exposures, and as of now I don’t think we know where, when and how to look to see any potential negative impact.

    • Steve
      July 26, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      It’s all change now, I’ve moved flat and this one has central heating and double glazing – what luxuries! :)

      Good tip on the natural body temperatures and sleeping/waking – I must admit I like a nice cool bed to get into but not so cold that I shiver! That’s what it was like in my old place unfortunately

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