Coffee maker on a kitchen table

Can I leave my coffee maker on?

Most of us forget something sooner or later when we’re rushing around, getting ready to go in the morning. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, perhaps turning off the coffee pot is something you’ve forgotten on occasion.

This isn’t a huge deal if you’ve got a model that has automatic shut-off. But if you have one that doesn’t include this helpful feature, you are putting your home at risk.

Have you ever come home from a long day at the office only to discover that the coffee pot is still on, with a layer of muddy, burnt-smelling sludge at the bottom? Consider yourself lucky that nothing worse happened!

If this is a frequent occurrence for you, you should find a better way to make your morning cup. Some people take to setting a timer to remind them. Others tape a note on the front door at eye-level so they don’t forget. And still others buy a new coffee pot with the automatic shut-off feature so they can live in peace without pondering all day long if they’ve remembered to turn it off. Which one will you be?

Wondering if it’s OK to leave your coffee maker on? Keep reading and you’ll find out!

Can I leave my coffee maker on?

The answer is no, you can’t leave your coffee maker on. If you ever have mistakenly done so, you’ve likely come home to the scenario detailed above. Some people come home to much worse, like a carafe that has exploded all over the kitchen. Even fires have broken out with older models that don’t turn off on their own.

Leaving your coffee maker on when you’re not at home is a dangerous practice, particularly if you have an older one that won’t turn off on its own accord. When you have that precious auto shut-off feature, it takes the worry away that you’ll come home to a house in flames, a kitchen with glass strewn all over from a pot that cracks from being on the heat all day, or at the very least, a disgusting brown ooze baked to the bottom of your pot.

If you’re wondering what could happen, there’s quite a bit to worry about. And if you’re the worrying type, wouldn’t it just be better to get a coffee pot that automatically turns off? If you have an older model coffee pot, you should definitely keep reading to see what could happen if you left it on all day.

What if you left it on before jetting off on a vacation? That’s a scary thought right there, which is why you probably waste much of your time worrying about shutting it off. For women that use heat-styling tools, it’s a common problem too. Automatic shut-off is one of the best features of any electric product available today.

However, nothing in life is perfect and while automatic shut-off is a handy feature, it might fail to function. Some models have it built in to shut-off automatically after one hour. Others allow you to set the time limit. But what if you set it wrong by mistake? That’s why you should make sure your coffee maker has always turned off before you turn your key in the door to lock it up for the day.

What can happen If you leave your coffee maker on?

So, what’s the big deal about leaving your coffee maker on? It’s quite a big deal, actually. Suppose you were to brew a pot and then run out to take the kids to school, leaving it on so you could come home to a nice, hot pot of coffee. Now, suppose while out on that drive, you ran into car troubles. Instead of being home again in just 10 minutes, you’re gone for several hours.

We could go through scenarios all day long for why leaving your coffee maker on is a bad idea. Here’s what could come of doing it though.

– Burnt coffee

When you leave coffee sitting in a hot coffee pot all day, you’re likely going to come home to a thick, oozing brown goo that once was coffee. The steam rises from hot coffee, separating itself from the coffee which in turn, makes it thicker, not to mention stronger if you dared to drink it. It’s not likely you will though because it will likely have a burnt taste to it.

Depending on how much coffee you left in your pot when you forgot to turn it off, you’ll likely have a fun mess to clean out of your coffee pot. Just do yourself a favor and allow it to cool slightly. The change in the temperature of the glass when it contacts with water could destroy the pot.

– You could burnt your coffee pot

Another big problem with leaving a coffee pot on all day long is that the pot itself could become burnt. This usually happens if there was very little or even no coffee left in it. What’s left of the coffee will evaporate, thicken, and then burn at the bottom, just like with burnt coffee from a fuller pot.

But if there was so little in there that your pot had nothing left to work with, it may be permanently damaged at the bottom. If you notice it has warped, you’ll need a new one. If it’s just burnt gunk at the bottom, you can clean it up efficiently with baking soda, salt, and lemon juice.

– You’re wasting electricity

Anyone that has ever received a larger-than-usual electric bill knows how frustrating it can be. If you’d like to keep your electric bill down, make sure you turn off your coffee maker. Even if it has an automatic shut-off, if you pour your coffee in your to-go cup and dash out the door, take a moment to turn it off yourself. This way, you’ll have no worries and avoid wasting electricity.

If you care at all about the environment, this small step will reduce your environmental footprint. It seems like a small action, but much like with shutting off the water in the sink while you’re brushing your teeth, it can create big results.

Plus, when you depend on things like automatic shut-off, you might get careless in other areas. It’s easy when you’re tired and you’ve just poured your first cup of coffee. You might forget to turn off something else of importance which wastes more electricity too.

– It could be a potential fire hazard

It’s certainly a more rare occurrence, but leaving a coffee pot on can be a fire hazard. Most newer models will shut-off on their own after a designated time, whether you’ve set it or not. But the real danger can lie in what you have surrounding your coffee pot.

Is your coffee maker next to the paper towel roll? Is the window open on a nice day, or perhaps the fan on, causing napkins and papers to flutter into it? These things can all start fires no matter how new your coffee maker is. Also, electrical cords nearby it (even the one for your coffee maker) could be heated to the point of melting from the heat the coffee pot generates which is another fire hazard.

For these reasons, it’s advised that you make sure your coffee pot shuts off or that you invest in a model that has this new safety feature. It brings you peace of mind which is perfect to enjoy with a nice steaming-hot cup of freshly-brewed coffee. Keep reading and you’ll learn more about automatic shut-off and what it can do for you.

What exactly is Automatic Shut-off?

When manufacturers make electrical appliances, they often add new safety features as the years go by to make their products even better. Such is the case with automatic shut-off. This feature turns off the coffee pot even if you’ve forgotten to do so. Usually, the time it stays on is about 2 hours, though it depends on the model. At this amount of time, it’s very unlikely any problems would occur, though if you put back an empty pot of coffee, you might come home to a smelly, burnt-ish pot.

When your pot is empty, make sure after pouring the last of it that you shut it off to avoid that. Even still, this feature is a handy one, one that allows you to keep electricity bills down and protect your home. Most coffee pots on the market today have automatic shut-off built in so that it will turn off at a pre-determined time. Though other models will also allow you the privilege of setting a specific time to turn off. Perhaps you want it to shut off after 30 minutes or an hour, which you can control via the buttons on the console.

You can also use those handy buttons to set your coffee to brew and shut off before you even get out of bed, an ideal solution for those living on their own who only need enough coffee to get moving out the door.

Do All Coffee Makers Have Automatic Shut-Off Systems?

Not every coffee maker has an automatic shut-off feature. If you bought an older model or chose a basic offering because it was cheap, you might be a little sorry about that now. Ask any coffee-drinker if they’ve ever left a pot of coffee on all day and you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that hasn’t.

While most new coffee makers do have this feature, it’s not always the case. When you’re shopping for a new coffee maker, you should check to see if it includes automatic shut-off in the list of features. It’s a helpful advantage, especially when you’re rushing around in the morning with your mind on hundreds of other things.

There are many great coffee makers that have automatic shut-off that aren’t outrageously expensive. It’s worth the cost to buy a new one if you keep leaving your old one on. And of course, if your old one has an older cord, it’s always a smart idea to replace the appliance to prevent fire hazards.

What Should You Do if Your Coffee Maker Does Not Have an Automatic Shutoff Feature?

Again, it’s a much better idea to buy a new coffee maker that has the automatic shut-off feature. You’ll worry less about if you left it on or not while you’re trying to run the boardroom and be able to focus on more important matters. Studies have shown that the more we think about things like whether or not we left the coffee pot on the more we stress ourselves out. It’s liberating to be able to let that go.

If you absolutely can’t afford a new coffee pot for now though, you can make do with your current older model machine by setting a loud timer every morning. You can use your smartphone to set one, creating it to go off on all weekdays at the same time before you head out the door. This will ensure you’ve turned it off and keep you from having to struggle to remember.

Another way is to craft a checklist of things to do before you head out the doors. Some people find this helpful for more than just shutting off the coffee pot, particularly those that habitually forget everything else like their phones, keys, and wallets. You can tape it to the front door or anywhere else that you would notice it and free your mind from remembering these tasks as well.


You should not leave your coffee pot on when you’re not home. Even if you’re just running around the corner for a few minutes, it can be very dangerous. Coffee makers that come with an automatic shut-off feature are a great investment in that they can help you avoid potential disasters and higher electric bills from leaving coffee on all day.

Newer coffee makers can even be set to a specific time to turn off, but all of the ones with this great feature will automatically shut themselves off at factory-specified times. If you love coffee and can’t start your day without it, perhaps you should look into a coffee pot that looks after you and get a new one that will always shut off even when you forget.


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