food warming is a
problem which has long been solved...mostly. Here are a few
suggestions if you are in the market for a new one or want to improve
what you already have.
Most American consumer models simply don't get hot enough. The Israheat
pictured above is nice and big and gets plenty hot. So hot, it
will heat the whole room and defeat your air conditioning. You
can moderate it somewhat by putting it on a timer like the GE digital timer
and confine the heat to those times when you actually need it.
is rated at 600 watts so if you don't want to blow everything
else on the circuit, plug it into an existing dedicated applicance
circuit like the washing machine on which it fits nicely. If you
buy or have another timer, make sure it's rated for at least 600 watts
or it will fry. The one above is rated for 1000 watts and has two
The timer instructions are skimpy and confusing, so practice before you
need it to make sure your settings do what you think they'll do.
It allows 20 on+off settings. There are 4 mode settings: on, off,
auto-on, auto-off. Do not be confused! "On" means whatever
is plugged in is always on; "off" means whatever is plugged in is
always off. To invoke the timer at a time when the device that's
plugged in is supposed to be off, select "auto-off." Plugging in
the timer when the device is supposed to be on, select "auto-on."
The timer has a built-in 7-day clock with an internal battery, which
should continue to run as long as it's plugged in to recharge once in a
Incidentally the plata
is no design wonder. We've had two, each of which has lasted
about 5 years, then gone "poof" in a cloud of smoke and sparks when
plugged in (there's no "on-off" switch so expect a nice spark at the
outlet when unplugging the unit). Postmortems revealed the
internal wiring had the wrong kind of insulation, not meant to be
subjected to prolonged high temperatures. The insulation had
baked hard, cracked, and finally fallen off...allowing the simple act
of setting up and plugging in the unit to jiggle the wires sufficiently
to cross, touch, and short-circuit. If this kind of surprise
you, best stick with an underpowered American unit with an "on-off"
switch, temperature selector, and UL (Underwriter's laboratory) seal of