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What Happens When You Leave an Electric Stove on?

Have you ever wondered what happens when you leave your electric stove on?

It is entirely possible that you might keep your electric stove on for a long time, either purposely or accidentally. But what are the consequences? Does the electric stove get damaged or catch fire? Well, I’m hoping to answer all the above questions in this article.

Generally, leaving your electric stove on will heat up the heating element, and it can lead to a fire if any flammable materials are nearby. In the worst-case scenario, the stove might start a fire and explode. On the other hand, this will result in a waste of energy. However, some electric stoves come with automatic turn-off safety switches. After a few hours, the switch will turn off the stove automatically.

I’ll go into more detail in the below article.

Things that Can Happen If You Leave Your Electric Stove On

turning on the GE electric stove
Video | Helpful DIY

An electric stove is an essential part of your kitchen. Using an electric stove is a far better choice than using a gas stove. You don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning because electric stoves don’t produce carbon monoxide while operating.

But what would happen if you accidentally left the electric stove on?

Several different consequences can harm you financially or injure you. With that in mind, here are the outcomes of leaving the electric stove on for a long time.

Quick Tip: Gas stoves use gas, and electric stoves use electricity to function. 

It Might Start a Fire

For this kind of situation, electrical fire is a real possibility. The heating element will heat up dangerously when the electric stove is on for a long time. And element might ignite any flammable materials nearby.

Quick Tip: A small electric fire can quickly turn into a large house fire. Therefore, it would be best if you put out the fire soon as possible.

What Should You Do When the Electric Stove Starts a Fire?

As you understand from the above section, the electric stove can catch fire if you leave it on for a long time. Here are a few steps to follow in such a situation.

  • First, cut off the power to the electric stove immediately. You might have to turn off the main breaker or the particular circuit breaker.
  • If the fire is small, use a fire extinguisher. Don’t try to put out the fire with water; it might electrocute you.
  • However, if the fire is large, call the emergency service immediately.
  • After you successfully put out the fire, inspect the damages and replace any damaged electronics or items with the help of a qualified professional.

The Electric Stove Might Explode

Even though chances are slim, this is also a possibility. If the coils heat up for a long time without any operation, the stove might explode. As I said, this is a rare occurrence. But it could happen if you leave the electric stove on for a long time.

Waste of Energy

Most often, an electric stove eats up a lot of electricity. Hence, leaving it on for 5 or 6 hours without operating will waste lots of energy. In a time the world is facing an energy crisis, this is not the best approach.

You’ll also end up with a huge electricity bill at the end of the month.

Do Electric Stoves Come with Safety Switches?

Modern-day electrical stoves come with a safety switch to avoid outcomes such as electrical fires and energy waste. This safety feature is capable of shutting down the stove automatically. But this switch only activates after 12 hours.

So, technically, you can leave an electric stove ON for 12 hours. But don’t take such a risk without a proper reason. For instance, if you have to keep the stove on, ensure you are close by to check.

Important: The safety switch feature only comes for electric stoves built after 1995. Hence, remember to check the model year before buying an electric stove.

How Does the Electric Stove Work?

Understanding how the electric stove works will give you a good idea of why you shouldn’t leave the electric stove ON. So, here’s how electric stoves work.

Electric stoves heat the metal coil using electricity. This coil is known as the heating element.

Then the coil sends the energy to the cooktop’s surface. Finally, the cooktop heats the pans and pots. This process is recognized as infrared energy transfer.

Hence, you can understand what happens when the coil is overheated. For instance, all other components that connect with the coil heat up accordingly. This is potentially dangerous.

Must Follow Safety Tips for Electric Stove

Whether using an electric stove with or without a safety switch, you should follow a few safety guidelines to keep your home safe. Here are those points.

Button Lock and Door Locking Mechanism

Besides the automatic safety feature, modern electric stoves have a button lock and door locking mechanism.

The button lock is a handy feature that is excellent for your kids’ safety. For instance, your kids might accidentally turn on the stove while playing. Button lock prevents this and keeps your kids safe. And the door-locking mechanism prevents kids from opening the oven door. So, keep the button lock and the door locking mechanism active.

Use an iGuardStove Device

Video | CNET

iGuardStove is a convenient device that can switch off the electric stove while you are away from the stove. It has a motion detector and is capable of detecting your movement. When you are away from the stove for more than five minutes, iGuardStove will set your electric stove to standby mode. So, if you use a stove that doesn’t have an automatic safety switch, using an iGuardStove is the best solution.

Quick Tip: If you have a gas stove instead of an electric stove, don’t worry about it. iGuardStovehas a model for gas stoves.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

Video References

Evgeniy Chernyshov

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Allterra Solar


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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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