Tips for Microwave Maintenance
By Steven De Nazareth
Updated: July 2nd, 2019
Microwave ownership accounts for nearly two-thirds of the 88.8 million homes across the United States. These homes have at least one microwave. Also, almost 60% own microwaves which is more than 50% of dishwasher ownership for the first time last year. A staggering 90% of American homes still use microwaves for meal preparation and reheating. Today, microwaves are used to not only reheat cooked food but to cook food from scratch with great results. With optimal use, you can maintain it well and extend its lifespan so that it lasts longer and provides you with better results.
Microwaves are used regularly without a second thought to maintenance and this could prove damaging. But if you maintain good habits then the lifespan of your microwave could increase by 5 to 10 years which is a huge difference. Follow these 10 maintenance tips to keep your microwave running well and efficiently:
Tip 1: Placement
Most microwaves are made to sit on counter-tops so you need to take into consideration whether you can fit it inside a cabinet. You should determine whether your microwave can be fitted in a cabinet or not by connecting with your retailer or manufacturer.
First, you should determine the distance from the wall as the body of the microwave heats up when it is in use. The vents from the side dissipate heat and based on this there should be ample space around the microwave. If it kept too close to the wall then the heat is not dissipated effectively. This could result in your microwave taking longer to cool down or it could overheat in the process. Also, some microwaves come with distance limiters to tell you how far it should be from the wall. In case there are no distance limiters provided then you should keep your microwave a good 3 inches away from the rear wall. Easily on each side, there should be at least 3 to 5 inches and you should check the manual to also know the amount of clearance space needed.
Second, the microwave should have a wire that is within reach of the electrical socket. It should be maintained so that it is not pulled excessively and this should not be loose. Also, the wire should not be coiled up on top of the microwave or hang too close to the microwave sides when in use.
Third, make sure that the microwave is not too close to a gas oven or kitchen sink. Keep it in a place where heat can dissipate without interruption and not close to an area where water can splash on it to risk it of shorting or burning out.
Tip 2: Cleaning Up
The easiest and most effective way of extending the life of your microwave is by cleaning it on a regular basis. Most people do not know that food particles absorb energy too and this leads to burn spots and can damage the components of the microwave. A gentle wipe with soap and water can help remove these stains. If these sports do not fall off then simply heat a cup of water for 60 to 90 seconds and the steam should loosen this grime. Buy a microwave cover to prevent a mess from splattering across the inside. You can also place paper towels or wax paper to prevent this when heating is in process.
Tip 3: Heat Specific Dishware
If you are not careful about the material of the containers you put in the microwave, it can cause fires and explosions. So to ensure safety and long life, you should use only microwave-safe dishware. Never use metal, aluminum foil, and dishware with gold or silver accents. It is safe to use ceramic, plastic and glassware in microwaves. Use a microwave safe cup or bowl containing water and heat everything for just one minute. If the container is too hot then it has absorbed too much heat which is not recommended. If you find that the container gets hotter than the food then you should not use that item when you microwave.
Tip 4: Prevent Door Damage
Microwaves have one of the most complex doors and latches. Doors are one among the most abused parts of the appliance. There are moments in time when we would have pulled it or closed it shut with our elbows without turning off the item. These actions would gradually damage the door in the process. These doors have three switching mechanisms that must close in the right order. Closing the door badly can destroy these switches. Also, you should know that pulling a door while the microwave is running could result in a blown safety fuse.
Tip 5: What Can Be Heated
An important point is to note what can be heated in the microwave to ensure that there is no explosion or fire caused. You should not heat water in a microwave as extremely high temperatures could superheat the water. Also, the absence of water could lead to a nucleation point. If there are no bubbles in the water then the water would be extremely hot. Superheated water can cause an explosion when taken out of the microwave and burn you and damage the microwave. Similarly, eggs, chillis, potatoes, and hot dogs should not be heated in the microwave.
Tip 6: Do Not Run An Empty Microwave
Microwaves can sustain serious damage if they operate without anything inside. When a microwave runs empty it produces energy that can only be absorbed by its components. This means that the magnetron or the glass that produces the energy would also get heated up. In normal consequences, these components are not designed for this exposure and if you have to repair or replace them it would be an expensive procedure. If you use your microwave as a timer, it can conduct this function without having to produce internal energy.
Tip 7: Switch over to Preprogrammed Cooking
There are a handful of people that use pre-programmed microwave cooking. Moreover, these times are designed to make them efficient. This would be done by ensuring that it minimizes energy loss when heating the food. Try these cooking modes and you might find that food tastes better. By doing this in time you would prevent issues that cause microwave damage and clean messes that cause burn spots.
Tip 8: Respect Weight Limitations
Usually, there is no need to worry about the microwave’s weight capacity as most dishes and foods are within its capacity. But there are times where microwaving large frozen items and heavier dishes, you should check the weight capacity of the unit. The information is available on the microwave door, online or in the user’s manual. An extremely heavy item could mechanically strain a turntable and motor along with major components like the magnetron. This could lead to a damaged unit with food that is not properly cooked.
Tip 9: Protect Appliance Against Surges
There could be several power surges that happen because of downed power lines and grid switching. But this could lead to a lot of appliances in the kitchen burning out. You should make sure that the microwave is unplugged or plugged into a surge protector.
Tip 10: Look Out For Easy Replacements
Sometimes maintenance can reduce strain on your microwave but after a while, you might have to constantly replace parts like the turntable motors, light bulbs, and door latches. Most problems can be easily diagnosed and the charcoal filter can be easily replaced. If the filter appears greasy or if there is a strange odor then it is time you changed your filter.
Home Warranty on Your Microwave
Among other things, microwaves are power hungry appliances that use complex electrical systems and store a large amount of energy. The capacitor in a microwave could even maintain a large charge after the microwave is unplugged. This is enough reason for you not to try and repair a microwave on your own. Lucky enough, your microwave can be easily repaired by connecting with a home warranty company.
If you haven’t got a home warranty then you should submit your zip code and email for a free quote. Also, if you feel otherwise about having a home warranty then you know the difference between a home warranty and a home insurance plan. Enjoy your microwave for years with these simple habits and tasks that ensure that you maintain it well. This effort will pay off in the next several years or so. If you have oven racks that have grease, grime or caked stuff on them, you could also read through our article on How to Clean Oven Racks?
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