HobSensus is a brand-new product designed specifically for a range of set-ups, including assisted-living properties such as care homes. Providing a plethora of benefits, including safety features to turn the hob off automatically, easy installation and simple operation. In a Q&A with the team at Prefect Controls we find out how the equipment could be an asset to your care home.

What was the motivation for developing a product like HobSensus?

Prefect have been involved with student accommodation since 1997, monitoring and regulating temperature in student rooms and saving energy. One of our customers asked if we had a product that would prevent hobs from being left on. It was a growing problem for them and is hazard present in many kitchens which can be particularly dangerous in care homes. So, we began formulating a list of requirements and features, and took our ideas back to them.

How is it different from other power cut-off devices?

A lot of hob cut-offs are basically timers. The button is pressed and starts a count down and when the time elapses the power goes off.

We wanted to broaden the scope so that the hob would always become safe when it had been neglected. Either because the time had run out or the temperature on the cooking surface was becoming too hot.

We use a 64-zone sensor in the head unit which reads the temperature across any hob up to 900mm. When the temperature in just one of those zones goes above 280°C the unit goes into trigger mode. An audible warning is heard, and an amber LED begins to flash. If no one reacts to this, and the temperature continues to rise, the beeping becomes more intense and the LED changes to flash red for a short time before cutting the power, making the hob and the kitchen safe.

How is it operated?

It’s as simple as pressing a button, the LEDs start to flash green, showing the hob has power. It’s then just a case of using the hob as normal.

Can you tell us about the ease of the fitting process?

There are two units, both are standard double gang size. The Sensor Head is mounted on the wall, centrally, 600mm above the hob. The Power Switching Unit is usually located close to, and connects to the hob isolator, or it could be below the worktop in a cupboard. Low voltage wire connects the Power Unit to the Sensor Head. Where this is impractical, because of splashbacks etc. the Sensor Head can be powered with batteries. The two units use Bluetooth to communicate. It usually takes a competent electrician about 45 minutes to fit.

But if the timer turns off after 15 minutes, couldn’t a lot of damage already be done?

No, because if the temperature reaches dangerous levels before the timer turns off, the Sensor will already have cut the power.

What maintenance is required to ensure it is always performing to the best of its capability?

A wipe over with a damp cloth every now and then will remove grease and dust from the Sensor, that inevitably accumulates above a hob. Apart from that, if need be, changing the batteries every couple of years.

Where is HobSensus being used?

There are a lot in student kitchens, but we are also having enquiries from care homes, assisted living and social housing, and holiday lodges. We’ve also sold quite a few to the domestic market to carers and relatives of people who are elderly, or maybe living with dementia.

Is it easy to use?

Yes, very easy, just one button to press and then use the hob as normal.

For more info, visit prefectcontrols.com