Had a hugely expensive failure today
I had a large beef rib roast ready to be cooked last night… Aged in the fridge a couple of days… seasoned and vacum sealed.
I set an alarm to set in to go in the sous vide in the middle of the night for an eight hour cook.
Woke up in the morning to notice that we had had a brief (brief is important) power failure during the night. Looking at my clocks I could see that the power had failed about 4 1/2 hours prior to my noticing. Then my brain clicked “THE ROAST”
Sure enough the Anova had shut down and had not restarted. By the time of the failure the roast had been cooking for 3 1/2 hours and was likely up to temperature but I was cooking at 133f… barely above pasteurization temperature. And by now it had sat for 4 1/2 hours in a warm bath and had come down to 86f…
Quick searching on the internet convinced me that this was NOT something that was safe to serve to extended family.
My first thought was that Anova should resume operation after a power failure and that would have saved my roast and my $$$$$…
Then it occurred to me that if the power failure had been longer the food could have been in the danger zone for bacteria for a long time and when the power was restored the Anova would heat it back up and you would never know that your food had been contaminated.
My suggestion to Anova… resume after a power failure but only if the water temperature has not dropped more that a few degrees, indicating that the power was not off for very long.
My suggestion to you users… don’t leave very expensive cuts of meat un-attended at all
Loss of $150 prime rib roast plus the cost of a pile of steaks to replace it for our Mother’s Day dinner.
It is a safety feature that the Anova doesn’t restart after a power failure. There is no way to know how long a power failure will last or has lasted. The temperature of thr bath may have fallen into the danger zone for 8 minutes or 8 hours. This is why the Anova doesn’t auto restart. To keep you safe.
Sorry to hear about that buddy. I hope you’ll get better news next time.
Poche, to prevent an empty money pocket do you really need to cook overnight? Or cook when you can’t monitor progress?
If you think you will be SV cooking roasts again consider getting yourself a UPS that will provide continuous power supply battery back-up. Match the wattage to your Anova’s power.
A UPS will keep an Anova going for at most twenty minutes or so, if that. It really does not help except for very brief outages.
Depends on the size of the UPS. Many of them, you can alter the default settings with software so they’ll run until the battery is exhausted…if the APC is just maintaining, it doesn’t need a lot of watts.
Even so, it won’t help much. Last time I checked, my Anova drew around 200 W on average. It obviously depends on how much water there is, ambient temperature, and how well insulated the container is. 200 W is a reasonable ballpark figure. You need at least a 1500VA UPS to run the Anova. How long it will last obviously depends on the installed battery capacity. A typical run-of-the mill UPS that can handle the load costs around $200, weighs 13 kg (~28 lb), and will last about 20 minutes at that load. By spending more, you’ll get more run time, at concomitantly increased weight, size, and cost.
Now, do I really want to have a 13 kg block of UPS sitting on my kitchen bench and pay $200 for the privilege, to have it protect against a power outage of no more than 20-odd minutes?
I just can’t see this solution make sense. It “solves” the problem poorly (what if the outage lasts 40 minutes?) and awkwardly (“Hey honey, would you mind putting the UPS away? It’s too heavy for me”).
Heh. Yes, a more elegant solution would be Anova to resolve this using their cloud…but, given how little resourcing we’ve seen them allocate to software development in the past, it would be foolish to think that we’ll see that anytime soon…if ever.
Edit: Oh…and this handy util says that the runtime of a 1500VA UPS with 200w of load is actually 36 minutes.
Barring ice storms or significant utility upgrades most power outages seem to be short enough that a UPS of this size would suffice to keep the cook going.
Yes, fair enough. These things come in different battery capacities. I don’t think it changes the equation by much though: have the outage last 1 second longer than the UPS will last, and it’s like not having done anything at all. And the cost, size, and weight arguments are, shall we say, weighty?
Most outages here (Brisbane, Australia) are short. But we do occasionally get ones that last an hour or more. Depending on where you live, outages maybe longer or more frequent.
I just can’t get over the impracticality of the UPS idea though. Besides, for long cooks (more than eight hours or so), an outage of a few hours probably won’t do any harm. The food will be well and truly pasteurised after the first two hours or so and, being vacuum sealed, it’s not as if it’s going to turn from fine to deadly in a few hours. So, for long cooks, start them early enough to still be awake by the time the food is pasteurised. Then go to bed. If power fails some time during the night, just turn the thing back on in the morning.
I have a microwave that, when power fails, re-starts its clock at 12:00. From that, I can work out how long since power came back on, by subtracting the time on the microwave from the actual time. I still don’t know how at what time power failed, but I can put an upper bound on how long the outage lasted.