Our cooktop was not designed with kids in mind. (Were kids better behaved in the 50s?) Anyways the push buttons are in the front, about 3 feet off the ground. We try to keep the kids out of the kitchen and items off of the burners, but toddlers find a way, and yesterday they could have burned our house down.

Here are the options I've thought of:

  • Replacing the cooktop with a model that has knobs on top (but pricey)
  • Moving the push button control panel higher (but don't have a good place for it)
  • Adding a cutoff timer for the cooktop - my ideal

I am thinking a hot-tub style wall timer, so that the stove can be activated for a while but will automatically turn off, unless set to hold. I think we would forget to turn off a simple switch.

Is that a feasible idea? The only switches I can find are 20A rated and I suspect the cooktop is at least 30A, so it might be moot.

  • 3
    Rather than suspecting, go find the breaker for the cooktop and see what size it is.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 15, 2015 at 12:42
  • 1
    It's funny, a few weeks ago someone asked "why on earth are cooktop controls on the back? They should be on the front where you don't have to reach across..." Maybe we can find that poster and you can swap stoves. Jun 5, 2020 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


You may not be able to find a timer that's designed to directly switch that much, but you can find a timer that switches a lot less, and use it to switch the coil of a relay that can switch whatever load you require. Relay coils take very little power to switch, and relay contacts can be had as large as you could possible need, or larger.

However, if you are not bound up in love with your 58 year old cooker, it may be a better idea to replace it; a relay capable of switching a typical cooktop load is not generally all that inexpensive itself, unless you can find one surplus.

A newER used cooktop is generally quite inexpensive - people remodel kitchens all the time and discard or sell off inexpensively perfectly good appliances that are not the right color, etc.

  • Thank you for the tip about relays. I have researched them and mostly understand how they work. One of the cooktop wires would be connected as usual, and the other would go through the N/O connector on the relay. My question is how is the signal for the relay (the timer switch) powered? i.stack.imgur.com/1qY0h.jpg
    – tmdesigned
    Apr 15, 2015 at 13:27
  • 2
    For a 240V USA-type system with two hot lines, you want a double pole relay and you switch BOTH hot lines. I would use one with a 120VAC coil and a timer switching 120VAC, for simplicity - that could be run off any convenient 120VAC circuit in the kitchen. Switching only one hot line can lead to unpleasant unexpected consequences when you think things are "OFF" but there's still 120V to ground/neutral.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 15, 2015 at 15:27
  • like this?
    – tmdesigned
    Apr 15, 2015 at 18:08
  • Looks suitable, so long as you park it in an appropriately large enclosure. I rather prefer a closed style relay, given the choice of closed or open, but either will work.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 15, 2015 at 21:24

Similar type devices are used in homes of folks suffering from Alzheimer's or Dementia. This Caring Home.org has reviews of a few such devices.

Most of the devices are easy to install, requiring only a screwdriver for installation.

I do not personally recommend or endorse any of the products or manufacturers mentioned in this answer, they are all provided for example purposes only.

  • 1
    Thanks for these links. They are pricier than replacing the cooktop, however, so they're not the solution for me.
    – tmdesigned
    Apr 15, 2015 at 19:56

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