I was just wondering if leaving pans unattended on an induction stove while it is turned off is actually safe? Could any external factor turn the stove on?
Always assume that anything that does not use a mechanical on/off switch - something that is manually actuated and physically connects or interrupts the metal path carrying electricity - can turn itself on. RF interference, cosmic rays and background radiation (sounds esoteric but it does happen, it is one of the reasons why you need memory error correction in server grade computers), voltage spikes on your power line ... all these things can confuse electronic devices in unpredictable ways, and while something decently engineered is unlikely to be affected, it is never impossible.
Technically, even your mechanical switch can fail in a way that makes it permanently "on" - but that will likely happen while trying to turn it off, and you will notice; it would take an event like a direct lightning strike to turn a switch on that is off.
Last evening, I left one empty (but dirty) sauce pan unattended on the induction stove top as the dish washer was full. The stove was turned off, but dirty as well, and the pan was slightly touching the controls.
During the night, there was a small power outage (2 computers were powered off this morning while one wasn't) and apparently, that was enough to have the stove turn on by itself, start cooking and burnt the left-over sauce completely black.
Moral of the story:
- Even when you're tired after a late meal: clean the stove before going to bed.
- Leave dirty pots in the sink and not on top of an induction stove!