We’re having a few days of unusually cold weather here in Florida. This past weekend the temperatures dropped to 28 degrees (F) which is about as cold as we get.
While I have a centralized gas heating system for my house, I prefer not to run it at night unless I have to. It’s not particularly energy efficient to heat an entire house when I’m only occupying a few feet for 8 hours. I generally just want to find a way to keep my bed warm during the hours I’m sleeping. For years, I’ve used a heated mattress pad and it generally keeps me all snuggly and warm in my bed on even the coldest nights.
I’ve often wondered if there was a way to automate heating my bed on cold nights. The heated mattress pad takes about 30 minutes to warm up the bed, so by the time I get in bed, it’s typically too late to turn it on. There has to be a techie solution to this problem…and there is.
To turn my “dumb” mattress pad into a smart one I knew I needed to plug it into a smart outlet. The problem is, most smart outlets, like the Belkin WeMo, only have the ability to turn power off and on. So, you have to find a fairly “analog” electric blanket or mattress pad that will remember its settings when turned off and on. (Think electric blankets from years ago that operated with simple on/off switches and temperature dials). This was probably the hardest part of my search and required me to replace my existing electric mattress pad, here’s the one I found on Amazon that worked.
Many of these mattress pads have separate controllers for each side. If you want these to be controlled by a single smart switch, you’ll need to combine both plugs into a single outlet, so will need an adapter to convert one outlet in to multiple. I like this one.
Now, you’ll need a smart plug to control the mattress. I use Belkin WeMo plugs because they work well with Alexa and are very customizable with the WeMo App. If you prefer something that is HomeKit compatible, check out the iHome smart plug.
Once everything is connected you’ll be able to warm up your bed by commanding your smart assistant or turning on your smart plug. In my case, I tell Alexa about a half hour before I’m ready to go to bed to “Turn on the Hot Blanket” and it starts warming the bed. Additionally, I’ve setup the WeMo App to automatically turn off the mattress pad after 2 hours so I don’t get too toasty at night. If I wake up and start to get cold, I can call out to Alexa to turn it on again. Echo integration was my preferred way to interact with the mattress pad since I have an Echo in my living room as well as an Echo Dot in the bedroom, so it's never far away.
Once the mattress pad or blanket is setup to the smart plug you open up a world of possible integrations.
Make sure you use good judgment and keep an eye on your rules. These blankets and mattress pads can get hot and be dangerous if left unattended. I’ve setup a “safety net” rule to make sure the blanket always turns off each morning and choose a blanket that will automatically shut itself off after several hours.
Who says technology won’t keep you warm at night?