Low Temperature Safety Burners

Safe-T-Element is a safety product designed to address unattended stovetop cooking. An electronic controller housed in the oven (out of sight, so you don’t even see it) monitors and controls the temperature of each burner. The maximum temperature of the burners is 662°F, hot enough to boil water (water boils at 212°F) and cook a meal, but not hot enough for most household items to ignite. Food takes slightly longer to cook – from 5 to 15% longer. UL listed. You can see the full product information and price here.

You can buy the burner plates to install over your existing coil burners or buy a new stove with the safety burners already installed.

You need to keep in mind that the  installation costs by an electrician, will be on top of the price of the product. Average installation time is 45 minutes. Before ordering, you’ll need to fill out a form and include specific information, like the stove’s model number, before the right size Safe-T-Element burners can be ordered.

Cooking Temperatures on a Typical Electric Coil Stove:

  • A large burner element, when turned on to the maximum temperature setting and left unattended, can reach 1472°F to 1652°F.
  • A small burner element, when turned on to the maximum temperature setting and left unattended, can reach 932°F to 1112°F.

Cooking Temperature on a Safe-T-Element Burner:

  • 662°F is the maximum temperature; the burner maintains this temperature automatically.

PROS

  • Automatically prevents most stovetop fires. The ignition temperatures for oil, metals, and most common fibers start at 728°F, which is above the maximum temperature of the Safe-T-Element burners (662°F). However, we were able to easily cook food and boil water on these lower temperature burners.
  • Food and oil will not catch on fire, either inside the pan or if placed on the burner.
  • Aluminum pans will not melt if left on the burner for an extended time (aluminum pots can melt at 1,256°F).
  • Most bathrobes wouldn’t likely catch on fire if they came into contact with the burner – depending on the material.
  • Most common household plastics will not catch on fire, including saran wrap, styrofoam, polycarbonate, and polypropylene used in take out containers.
  • May extend a person’s ability to cook and/or live independently.
  • Added value – increased energy savings.

CONS

  • The burner plates stay hot longer after being turned off than regular electric coils.
  • The burner plates do not glow red, indicating that the burner is hot; this is similar to regular electric burners, except for the High setting. A person with dementia could touch the burner, forgetting it’s hot and get a burn.
  • As the burner plates heat and cool, they emit a clicking sound (similar to a baseboard heater’s sounds). Individuals sensitive to sound may become irritated or think that something’s wrong with the stove. You may need to put up a sign that the clicking sounds are normal.
  • The whistles on teakettles may not sound as loudly. Even though tea water easily boils at these low temperatures, the sound on two teakettles we tested was reduced by about 50%.

CAUTION

  • A person could get a serious burn by touching a hot Safe-T-Element burner.
  • Some household items could ignite if left on the burners for an extended time. For example, matches will ignite if left on Safe-T-Element burners.
  • The person must know that perishable food left on the stovetop for extended periods is not safe to eat.
  • Regularly assess that it’s still safe for the care receiver to cook independently. At some point, all people with dementia will need to be supervised in the kitchen.