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  #1  
Old 06-05-2008, 04:32 PM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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What kind of fire danger does a standard crock pot pose?

I know it's made to cook all day unattended, but the idea of it makes me a little concerned. I realize it's not the only electrical appliance one might run all day unattended (I leave my PC running for example), but this one cooks with heat.
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  #2  
Old 06-05-2008, 04:41 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revtim
I know it's made to cook all day unattended, but the idea of it makes me a little concerned. I realize it's not the only electrical appliance one might run all day unattended (I leave my PC running for example), but this one cooks with heat.
As long as it does not dry out it will never exceed 212 degrees F, (molarity of the solution inside ignored for simplicity).

Crock pots also cook at low temperatures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crock_pot
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:41 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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While any appliance sold in the U.S. is UL approved, that doesn't mean there isn't the potential for a problem. My preference is to place a crockpot on top of a heat-resistant material, and make sure it's plugged into a GFCI outlet.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:01 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy
While any appliance sold in the U.S. is UL approved, that doesn't mean there isn't the potential for a problem. My preference is to place a crockpot on top of a heat-resistant material, and make sure it's plugged into a GFCI outlet.
If you're going that far, you should probably also make sure you arn't doing it under something flammable...like kitchen cabinets.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:25 PM
bouv bouv is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P
If you're going that far, you should probably also make sure you arn't doing it under something flammable...like kitchen cabinets.
Eh, that would be going too far. No way is a crock pot, even if unattended with nothing in it, going to heat up to 450 degrees. I don't even know if the bare heating element itself would get that hot, let alone the actual porcelein surface that's exposed.

Let's face it, if crock-pots and other slow cookers posed a significant electrical safety risk, they wouldn't be around. If they were a severe risk, the government would stop their sale/force them to make it safer, and even if it was just a smaller amount of risk, the market itself would sort it out because people would stop buying them.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:56 PM
Princhester Princhester is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revtim
I know it's made to cook all day unattended, but the idea of it makes me a little concerned. I realize it's not the only electrical appliance one might run all day unattended (I leave my PC running for example), but this one cooks with heat.
Dinosoar technology like a crock pot has much less to go wrong than a PC. As long as either is functioning correctly there will be no fire. Heck, a crock pot only heats things to about 100C or less. The element gets a bit hotter. I'd be much more worried that something in my PC power supply might go wrong and short and cause a fire than that my crock pot might. The former is newish technology in an ever changing field where designs are thrown together and marketed and shipped by the month. The latter is simple and hasn't been much changed for decades.
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2008, 01:36 AM
Rick Rick is offline
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While there is a danger with any electrical appliance, a crock pot is pretty damn safe. IIRC on low they only get to about 170F.
About as safe as safe can be if you ask me.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2008, 08:43 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
While there is a danger with any electrical appliance, a crock pot is pretty damn safe. IIRC on low they only get to about 170F.
About as safe as safe can be if you ask me.
FTR I've never been very safe with mine. I plug it in in the morning before work, on the kitchen counter, under the cabinets, pushed into the corner (so now it's next two two peices of drywall), and come to think of it, the cord is probably in contact with the outside of the pot, and I've never had a problem.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:25 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Thanks everyone, sounds like it should low on the list of worries.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:58 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revtim
Thanks everyone, sounds like it should low on the list of worries.
Quite probably. Others have sneered at my suggestions, but a home is a significant investment to take foolish chances with. At the very least, you should inspect the cord annually for any deterioration.
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  #11  
Old 06-06-2008, 11:33 AM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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It all depends. If you leave matches or lighters where he can find them, look out.



Oh, you said crock pot.

Nev-er miiind.
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  #12  
Old 06-06-2008, 12:27 PM
Outpits Outpits is offline
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I use my crock pot all the time, but there was one instance where I almost had a problem. One of my crock pots (I have four of different sizes) had the removable porcelain crock. When I put it into the heating element, I did not notice I had pinched the cord between the crock and the element. After about half an hour (fortunately I was still home) I smelled burning plastic and heard sparks. The insulation on the cord had melted off and I was getting arcing between the cord and the metal exterior. That is now something I check twice before leaving the house.

Last edited by Outpits; 06-06-2008 at 12:28 PM..
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  #13  
Old 06-06-2008, 12:50 PM
Bosstone Bosstone is offline
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I just make sure there's nothing resting on the crockpot when I start it up.

Alton Brown (may he live forever) has said that it's the one kitchen appliance he feels comfortable leaving on when he's out of the house. Fridge excluded, I presume.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:58 PM
GilaB GilaB is offline
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In making chulent (a traditional Jewish dish put up on Friday afternoon, whence it cooks until midday Saturday, thus allowing Sabbath-observant people to have a hot lunch), I not only leave my crockpot on top of a butcher-block countertop, in a corner next to two walls, I take out the liner with the food at noon, leaving the heating element going until the Sabbath is over at nightfall. Haven't had a problem yet, other than melting the baking chocolate in the cabinet above, and I've been using this cheap crock pot for about a decade.
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  #15  
Old 06-06-2008, 07:30 PM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bouv
No way is a crock pot, even if unattended with nothing in it, going to heat up to 450 degrees. I don't even know if the bare heating element itself would get that hot, let alone the actual porcelein surface that's exposed.
Not only that, but there's probably a bimetallic snap switch used for over-temperature protection.
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  #16  
Old 06-06-2008, 07:41 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man
Not only that, but there's probably a bimetallic snap switch used for over-temperature protection.
Or (and sometimes even "and") a thermal fuse. I've seen units (not crock pots) with both; in these cases the fuse is a last resort in case the thermal circuit breaker fails closed.
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