A potentially silly concern: any safety issues leaving the sous vide on unattended?

Please forgive me for this potentially silly concern:
Some recipes call for cooking 36, some even up to 72 hours, I’m a little worried with regard to safety leaving the sous vide on unattended while I’m at work etc as I’ve heard of appliances catching fire after being left on for ages and overheating.
Also are there any food safety problems with the water temperature fluctuating each time water is topped up?

Thanks in advance :smile:

Actually I think it’s a great question. Unfortunately there probably isn’t a “one size fits all” answer as every action comes with some risk. Personally I am comfortable leaving the oven on “warm” and a crock pot plugged in when I am away. I haven’t done it yet but I would probably be ok with the Sous Vide while out of the house. My (possibly flawed) thinking is this:

  1. If the control circuitry bursts into flames for some reason it will fall into a pot of water (eventually) and trip the circuit breaker.
  2. If the pot boils dry the safety circuitry in the Sous Vide kicker will shut the unit down.
  3. If the low water sensor fails then I want to make sure the whole (messy and ruined) affair is on a flameproof surface away from flammable materials.

With that in mind, I’d place the pot on top of two raised silicone mats with a stainless steel cookie sheet and a pizza stone on top of that. I’d make sure to use a GFCI protected outlet. Also I’d opt for a SS stock pot over a plastic cooler (and, yes, I’d have to figure out how to insulate it and make a lid for it).

As far as food safety problems with water fluctuating I wouldn’t worry about that unless you are replacing more than 1/3 of the total water bath with each addition. If you do plan to replace a large amount of the water all at once just heat it in a kettle on the stove until it is close to the sous vide temp and add that.

@adnewman Thanks for your detailed reply. Hopefully nothing like that would happen :smile: