Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Heat seeking

My feet are always cold. In winter not even heavy wool socks and a down quilt bunched up a few layers thick will help. Because insulation can only hold in the heat our bodies generate. My feet don’t make heat. Back when the first hints of coldish weather started, my feet told me it was time to work on another solution.

Okay, how about a 12 Volt heat pad? I found one for about seventeen bucks.

Because Nature likes to mess with my plans, it sent me several surprisingly not-cold nights. The heat pad was unnecessary. It put cold-hating me in the weird position of wanting colder weather. It finally came. Time for a test.

Right off, I discovered the cord was j-u-u-u-s-t long enough to reach from the nearest 12V outlet to the bed. Well, okay. It just meant I would need to come out from under the nice warm covers to use the control.

The control is simple. An on-off button and + and – buttons to set the temperature in 10° increments. Wanting to make certain I didn’t set anything on fire, I selected 90°F. It warmed up quickly.

Power consumption is my primary concern with using electrical devices to produce heat. After sunset my little Volt meter (which I can see while in bed) usually shows 13V. With the pad heating up it dropped to 12V, which is lower than I like. But once temperature was reached and the pad cycled off, the reading jumped back to 13V. Then, as it cycled on and off to maintain temperature, it would drop to 12V for about two seconds, then back up to 13V again for 15 to 20 seconds. That wasn’t as bad as I feared. When I bumped the temperature up to 100° it behaved the same way.

My feet reported they were happier.

I didn’t want to keep watching the meter all night, so I put the heat pad away. I repeated the test the next night. 

The third night I decided I was satisfied with my testing and went to bed with the intention of leaving the pad on all night. I woke up after a couple of hours and watched the Volt meter from the comfort of bed. It read 13V. I counted 15… 20… 30… 60 seconds. The two-second dip to 12V never came. And the pad didn’t feel warm. Had it gone bad?

The control was off. I pushed the on button and it came on. The pad started warming. Hmmm. The same thing happened about an hour later. Double hmmm. Some kind of fault in the control? A short in the heating wires? To be safe I unplugged it and put it away, much to the disappointment of my feet.

But in the morning, when I wasn’t half asleep, I noticed the small type on the control: 45’ Heat Timer. Oh. So it was working properly. But that wouldn’t serve my need.

So the search for a solution continues.


  1. I found that I had to wear full leg long underwear with my warm socks to keep my feet warm. Apparently I was loosing lots of heat in my legs, especially below my knees. For me it started a while back about age 70 and it was miserable.

  2. I try to walk every day, 3 to 4 miles. When I don't get my walk in, quite often I have cold feet at night. I guess it's a matter of circulation. Usually socks will help, but I need loose fitting ones around the calves, or they defeat the purpose. Cold feet in bed are the pitts.

  3. My Kat won't sit in my lap, but he loves sitting on my feet keeping them toasty...

  4. I use a hot water bottle with a cover. Amazon has many choices for around $10-$15. Put under covers about 15 min before bedtime. It stays warm until the morning. You can reheat the same water for several nights