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Old 11-16-2009, 09:55 AM
 
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My elderly forgetful mother is returning home from an extended convalescent stay against Dr's advice. She will be alone. It's her wish--nothing I can do to change her mind. She has a 4-burner electric stovetop that, of course gets hot enough to start a fire. In order to reduce the heat when turns it on high, is it possible to have it plugged into a 110V outlet in order to reduce the power being drawn out and reduce the temperature of the appliance at high setting, since only half the current is being drawn, or would that cause the wiring to malfunction and start a fire? Thanks for any advice you can render.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillobyte View Post
My elderly forgetful mother is returning home from an extended convalescent stay against Dr's advice. She will be alone. It's her wish--nothing I can do to change her mind. She has a 4-burner electric stovetop that, of course gets hot enough to start a fire. In order to reduce the heat when turns it on high, is it possible to have it plugged into a 110V outlet in order to reduce the power being drawn out and reduce the temperature of the appliance at high setting, since only half the current is being drawn, or would that cause the wiring to malfunction and start a fire? Thanks for any advice you can render.
I'm not an electrician...BUT NO; DO NOT ATTEMPT. The plug would not work in that outlet anyway. DO NOT attempt to "hot wire" it either...the stove needs that voltage to function correctly/safely.

Other posters will know more, but I am sure this would be dangerous and probably would nullify her fire insurance policy..
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
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Don't try it.

If you're supplying a device with only half the voltage it requires, it's going to pull twice the amperage it's supposed to. She'd likely trip the breaker every time she turned it on, and if it didn't, there's a chance that the current could melt the insulation on the wiring in the walls or the device itself and start a fire. Also, the current could easily be too much for the device circuitry to handle and would likely render it inoperable anyway.

Again, do not try it.
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:11 PM
 
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You've convinced me, guys. Thanks much for your input. I'll have to find another way to protect her. Believe it or not, they don't make a stove for such a purpose (low heat) for the elderly who are a danger to themselves/others. incredible, huh?
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
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Could you rig up something to keep the knobs from being turned more than, say, halfway up? Of course, that's still plenty of heat...
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Your issue is not with the heat, but with the length of time the heat is on. Occam's Razor, and all that. Buy her a nice timer that is easy to use.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Your issue is not with the heat, but with the length of time the heat is on. Occam's Razor, and all that. Buy her a nice timer that is easy to use.
It's not a question of her forgetting so much as it's a matter of her becomeing incapacitated (breaks her ankle again, passes out because of mismanaging her meds, stroke, etc) while the stove is full heat. If she's using oil then there's a grease fire in a matter of minutes, while she's passed out or worse. I checked having sprinklers installed. In Los Angeles it's easier to move Mt Everest (slight exaggeration, but you get the idea how difficult it is to deal with the bureaucracy here).
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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I think you may be over-reacting. The combination of events you describe seems unlikely. Again though, the problem reveals itself to be (unattended) time more than heat. Think instead of things that would help. An electric teakettle with automatic shutoff is a must. We have a metal sculptural full moon created when the steel diffuser plate remained after an aluminum pot used to boil water was left unattended on our stove. A smoke detector mounted directly over the stove will catch the odor of burning food quickly and warn in enough time that corrective measures can be taken. If you have an above the stove microwave, put the smoke detector in the path of the exhaust air. It is possible to burn stuff up in a microwave as well. A cool to the touch deep fat fryer makes sense. Toaster ovens have timers, and the constant on feature could be disabled. Pots and pans should not be aluminum, but stainless steel.

A sprinkler system and a grease fire on a stove is a disaster. Literally, you would be better off rigging wires under the smoke hood over the stove, and stuffing boxes of baking soda above the wires. At least that wouldn't spread the fire.

Are there stoves that have timers on the burners? If so, that might be an option. Some stoves have thermostatically controlled burners. Those would be less likely to start a fire.

The point of all this is to show that you can think of easy alternate solutions that are more likely to be helpful than limiting the heat output of a stove, which frankly is a lousy idea.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:31 AM
 
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Thanks much for your valuable input, Harry.

Quote:
I think you may be over-reacting.
Well, the first time I worried about this situation was when out of nowhere her ankle snapped and she went straight down. Thank God she retained consciousness and did not have anything burning on the stove. Her home has iron on all doors and windows. She was able to crawl to the door and let the paramedics in. The Doc says her ankle one or the other will probably snap again in the future because of osteo.

Quote:
A smoke detector mounted directly over the stove will catch the odor of burning food quickly and warn in enough time that corrective measures can be taken.
I had two put in.

Quote:
Pots and pans should not be aluminum, but stainless steel.


Quote:
Are there stoves that have timers on the burners?
Believe it or not, no. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if there were. If ever there was a market to make money it would be special stove for the elderly that incorporates safety features. I checked all over---stores and Internet--nothing! There's something called StoveGuard but it's so cumbersome it's not even worth the consideration.

Quote:
Some stoves have thermostatically controlled burners.
I'll definitely check into that. If you have a link could you post it? Thanks.
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
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Is the smoke detector hard wired or battery power only? If it's hard wired, there may be a way to have the power cut to the range if the smoke detector goes off. An electrician could probably figure out a way to do this fairly easily. Actually, for all I know there may be something similar to a photo-eye just for this purpose.
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