Does your sous vide keep beeping at you? You might want to check your water levels. Here’s what it’s trying to say.

If you’ve ever tried anything that’s been prepared in a sous vide cooker, you know that there’s no going back to regular methods afterwards. The results this machine yields are so tender, flavorful and juicy. It’s hard to believe you’re not eating at a restaurant from the Michelin guide.

These appliances are so versatile, and easy to use, that not owning one in this day and age, makes no sense.

That being said, the perfect model is yet to be invented, which means that these machines can fail from time to time, either due to poor maintenance, or user errors.

Whatever the case may be, one thing’s for sure. You’re stuck with a sous vide cooker that keeps beeping at you like it’s trying to have a party with your other kitchen appliances! You need a solution, and you need it now.

To properly troubleshoot this occurrence, you must have a clear idea of what you should be looking for. Luckily, I’ve already taken care of all the research.

Below, you will find a list of the most common causes behind this problem, and the simplest steps you can follow to fix each one of them. I’m confident that, if you stick to them religiously, you’ll soon be able to restore the peace and quiet you love in your home. 

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Fixing a Beeping Sous Vide

The first mistake I see a lot of people make, is automatically assume that there is something wrong with their appliance. As you know, sous vide cookers are very sophisticated machines, which means that the incessant beeping noise could very well just be a timer, or a safety countermeasure going off.  

I don’t want you to waste any precious time and money, so it’s very important that we look at all possible scenarios before making a decision, or attempting to repair a component.

Your sous vide might keep beeping at you due to:

  • Normal operation
  • A bug
  • High or low water levels
  • Steam or moisture in your internal components
  • Overheating

#1 Normal Operation

digital thermostat display on a sous vide
Your appliance may beep when the timer reached zero

This might surprise you, but there’s a very good chance that your appliance is perfectly fine.

While not present in all models, some sous vide cookers are equipped with alarms to let you, the user, know when the timer you had set, has reached zero. If you think about it, this is similar to the constant beeping noise your microwave does when it’s done heating up your food.

Remember that this is an appliance designed to cook food based on a very specific method, so timing is everything.

Solution: There’s not much you have to do here. Just try to be a little more conscious about how you operate your sous vide cooker, and do your best not to leave it unattended for long periods.

#2 A Bug

I don’t know about you, but I am yet to find one electronic device that doesn’t bug out from time to time.

Be it on your computer, or on your trusty sous vide, a bug can be very annoying. Sometimes this happens due to a program execution error inside the appliance, and while it’s not a technical failure per se, you will need to address it if you want to keep operating your unit normally.

Solution: This will vary greatly from model to model, and from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the broad strokes should be pretty similar:

  1. Carefully unplug your sous vide, and let it cool down
  2. Plug it back in after a few minutes
  3. Wait for it to start up again
  4. If your model has a reset button at the back of the upper body section, press it, and hold it down for 5 seconds
  5. Wait for flashing lights, or a “reset” sign to appear on the screen

In most cases, that should take care of the issue. That being said, the right steps for your particular model will often be found inside your user manual, so be sure to give it another read through.

#3 Check Your Water Levels

cooking with sous vide
Read your user manual to find the recommended water level when using your sous vide

Sous vides are very sophisticated machines, as they have all sorts of safety mechanisms built into them. While not present in all models, most machines will have a water level sensor, which might go crazy if you fill your container too much.

Using the right amount of water while cooking is essential to both getting the results you want, and guaranteeing that your appliance will not sustain any kind of damage.

If your sous vide keeps beeping at you like a ticking time bomb, you might be exceeding the recommended water level.

Solution: Give your user manual another read through. I know I’ve probably said this a thousand times already, but it just can’t be stressed enough, as you’ll find most of the information you need in there.

#4 Steam in Your Components

See? This is why not overfilling your pot is so important.

While your sous vide is designed to operate underwater, this is only true for the lower section of the appliance, where the steel skirt is. If you were to disassemble it, you’d see that there’s nothing beneath it, except for the circulator, and the heating element, both of which can safely get wet.

The upper section of your appliance is reserved for the fuse, the circuit board, the thermostat, and all other essential internal parts that should never be in contact with water.

A sous vide that keeps beeping at you could be trying to tell you that moisture is reaching areas that should always remain dry.

Solution: Double-check that your water levels are appropriate, and try to look for any kind of damage to the appliance’s body that could be letting steam, or droplets of water in.

Provided that you identify cracks or holes in the protective case, please contact your manufacturer for replacement parts, and stop using your unit immediately.

#5 Overheating

damaged heating element
Overheating could damage the heating element

Last, but definitely not least, is the possibility of overheating.

This can happen for a number of reasons. From a faulty heating element, to an over strained circulator motor. To have this event manifest itself in your appliance is very dangerous, as it could not only damage it permanently, but also cause it to catch on fire.

If your sous vide keeps beeping at you, it might be desperately asking you for a much-needed break.

Solution: Depending on what is causing this to happen, you have a couple of options.

If the culprit is your heating element, you might want to test it for continuity, and replace it if necessary. To do so, please follow these steps:

  1. Carefully unplug your unit, and let it cool down
  2. Remove the clamp from the machine’s body
  3. Turn the steel skirt counterclockwise, and remove it carefully
  4. Expose your heating element, and test it for continuity

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that this part will only lack continuity if it’s not generating heat. In case it’s overheating, you will get positive readings, so be very observant.

Provided that the heating element is fine, and you’re just overworking the motor, try to stop using it between cooking cycles, and let it rest for an hour or so.

When Should You Call a Pro?

The answer to this question will depend greatly on the status of your warranty, and how willing you are to pay for repairs.

If you are still under coverage, you can go ahead and send your appliance in to your manufacturer. Unless specified otherwise in your warranty, they should take care of the repairs for free.

Alternatively, if your warranty is expired, and none of the solutions above worked, you’ll have to weigh the cost of repairs vs the cost of buying a new model. The replacement parts you might need are not very expensive, but the cost of labor to install and configure them, can be.

As a general rule, paying for repairs equivalent to 50% or more of the price of a new model with similar features, is a terrible investment.

Conclusion

For most people, home is the place where they can find peace and quiet, which means that, to have an appliance disturb it constantly, can be very inconvenient.

As you’ve learned on this piece, there are several reasons why your sous vide might keep beeping at you, and most of them are not even a technical fault, but the result of improper operation on your end.

Luckily, now that you know most of the dos and don’ts, you’ll be able to easily avoid making potentially dangerous mistakes in the future.

Remember to keep your water levels within the recommended limit while cooking, and let your circulator’s motor rest from time to time. This will most likely get rid of the beeping nuisance, and extend your unit’s lifespan significantly.

Thank you so much for reading. If you found this article helpful, why not keep the learning going through our other incredible resources below? There is no such thing as too much knowledge.

Happy cooking!