A hot cup of coffee is just what many of us need first thing in the morning. But if you’ve ever been guilty of brewing a pot of coffee and going back to it late in the afternoon, there are some things you should know about leaving your coffee pot turned on all day.
Turning off small appliances is something we don’t think about because they pull so little energy, but not everything is meant to run 24/7. This includes your coffee maker. Coffee machines are not designed to keep coffee hot all day long. For the longevity of the coffee machine and the safety of your home, your coffee pot should be turned off when not in use.
Can turning off the coffee maker really make that much of a difference? I’ll help you decide.
Should You Turn Off Your Coffee Maker?
Many homes still have a drip-style coffee maker that brews several cups at a time. Those who prefer a fresh brew for each cup may have already switched to a single-serve coffee maker. Coffee aficionados may have any number of gadgets such as espresso machines or Moka pots, while your office may have an old faithful coffee maker, such as an electric percolator.
Regardless of the type of coffee maker, it’s best to turn it off when the brewing is complete.
If you don’t, it can result in one — or all — of the following:
- Electrical fire – Leaving appliances plugged in can affect your home’s wiring as well as the coffee maker’s, creating the perfect conditions for an electrical fire.
- Wear out the coffee maker – Many things can happen, including damaged wiring, stains on the glass, and water won’t heat up to the correct temperature for optimal brewing.
- Energy savings – While it may only be a little, every bit of energy savings can help. Turning off appliances when they are not in use can help you save on household energy costs.
- Bad tasting coffee – Coffee that sits in a pot all day will start to evaporate, and the result is coffee that tastes burned or sour.
- Injury – A coffee maker that is powered on all day may be very hot. You could easily forget that it’s on and get a severe burn.
If you only drink coffee in the morning, turn it off when you are finished to prevent these things from happening. If you enjoy a cup in the afternoon or in the evening, make sure to turn it off at night after you finish the coffee, and let it reheat in the morning before your first cup.
How to Turn Off Your Coffee Maker
Seems easy enough, right? But that largely depends on the type of coffee maker you have.
Not all coffee makers have an on/off switch. To turn them off and completely disconnect power, you’ll have to unplug them from the wall.
But there are machines that turn off by themselves. Fortunately, most modern coffee makers have an automatic shutoff.
Most will have a timer that shuts the machine off between 2 and 4 hours after the coffee is made. This prevents the coffee maker from wearing out before its time.
To fully utilize this feature, you will have to make sure that the auto-off feature is enabled on these newer models, as these will sometime have the capability to turn auto-shutoff off and on.
Auto-off can extend the lifespan of your coffee machine, but you may wonder, is a coffee machine is completely turned off while it is plugged in?
Yes and no. The only way to completely turn the coffee pot off is to unplug it or turn off the on/off button. If that’s not an option, the auto-shutoff feature will have to do.
The auto-off feature is handy for people who are headed out the door for work after brewing their first cup of coffee at home.
But when the automatic shutoff engages, is the coffee maker really off? The difference between auto-off and being unplugged is slight, but it should be noted that the heating element is still engaged if the auto-shutoff is on. Therefore, it’s not the same thing.
A coffee maker that is in auto-off mode does still use some energy. Single-serve coffee makers, for example, only use about 60 watts of electricity to heat their interior water tanks in between brewings.
By turning your coffee maker off after brewing, you’ll save energy, prevent injury, and help your coffee maker last longer. Most importantly, you could prevent a house fire due to faulty wiring.
You may be used to going back to the coffee pot all day long, but it really isn’t good for the appliance, and it probably isn’t giving you the best-tasting coffee, either.
If you’re concerned about how to keep your coffee hot, put it in a thermos or thermal coffee dispenser. Or you can invest in a single-serve coffee maker so each cup is fresh and hot.