I do worry a bit about leaving *any* appliance running for many hours unattended.. but, as others have noted, slow cookers are designed to work this way.
My only modification is that I'm careful to set it upon a heat-resistant surface, such as my stovetop or one of those heat resistant pads made to use beside the stove. I'm also very careful that the cord doesn't contact the cooker anywhere other than where it plugs in (if your cord is removable). My cooker is moderately geriatric, which gives me a bit of pause... but it's never given me any reason to believe it would go wild and start a house (kitchen) fire. The only instance I've ever heard of in my circles is of a lady who ran her cooker with an extension cord in the loop... and NO appliance should EVER be used (abused) that way.
I think they're pretty safe, used as directed.
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a slow cooker is designed to be left alone in one spot and do its thing. you do have to be sure that you're not placing one near your curtains or packing tinder around it or anything like that because they are designed to be used in open areas [not your empty garage open spaces, just a foot or two around. some of them do get a little hot in certain places]. and you have to be sure you're placing it in an area where pets or small children can't get to it. the idea is that you use the water already in the food and that keeps the dish moist while it's cooking. so long as you are using a recipe that is designed for the slowcooker and are adding the appropriate amount of liquid, it should not be an issue because the water heats out of the food, condenses at the lid and falls back in to keep it moist. if you put dry pasta and no water on high all day i could see where that could possibly start a fire. or if you put something with not enough liquid on and didn't use the lid that could become an issue. but if you're following recipes to the letter and you're not using a frayed cord or other basic fire safety no nos, it shouldn't be a problem.
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It's a self-contained unit...it doesn't go on the stove.
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11/18/13 1:00 P
You don't leave it on the stove, you just plug it in and leave it on the counter... it only goes up to a certain maximum heat (not hot enough to scorch/burn the food inside) and the outside of the unit doesn't get hot at all.
It's not any more dangerous than leaving any electrical appliance plugged in and running (i.e. fridge, lamp, radio).
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Aren't slow cookers a fire hazard? I mean, you're leaving a pot on the stove unattended typically for 8+ hours.
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