The average microwave now lasts up to seven years with standard, everyday use and sometimes lasts that long with heavy use and improper maintenance. Families and other households will typically find themselves replacing their microwave five years after their last purchase, as they become reliant on their microwave oven to reheat frozen meals, heat up after-school snacks, and defrost that night’s dinner. However, this lifespan may be cut short if you place the wrong items inside the microwave, which can cause fires or even irreparable damage.
Making Your Microwave Last Longer
You can get the most out of your appliance with these easy tips:
- Check if you have adequate air circulation around the microwave.
- Safeguard all electrical components by investing in a surge protector. A repairman can usually do this for you.
- Never place metal objects, such as cutlery, inside of the microwave.
- Use gentle soap and water for a deep clean. Do this when the microwave hasn’t been in use for a few hours, as this will prevent burns to yourself and microwave damage.
- Never turn the microwave on while it is empty.
When You Need to Repair or Replace
At some point in our lives, all kitchen appliances must be replaced. The same goes for our microwave ovens. However, there are times when a repair is the simpler and cheaper option. Signs you are in need of a new microwave are:
Off Cooking Times
If your food is cooking too quickly or too slowly, you can easily test by placing a mug of water inside the unit and turning the microwave on for two minutes. If the water is not boiling when you take it out, it is a sign of a faulty unit.
Issues with Your Door Seal
If your door seal refuses to fully latch, replace the microwave immediately. The door seal is an important function of the microwave, as it prevents bacteria from getting in and out, and it also protects you from the radiation within the microwave.
If you have unresponsive keys on your keypad, you may need to replace your appliance immediately. Unresponsive keypads significantly alter the performance of your microwave. Typically, a good scrub-down of the keypad can cause drastic improvements. To clear the keypad of grease, food stains, and other nasties, get a damp cloth and gently swipe. If this doesn’t work, it could be an issue with the keypad sensors. If this is the case, then you need a replacement.
If your microwave is approaching 10 years in your home, then you will want to throw it out and get a cheaper, energy-efficient appliance. Invest in your local appliance store or look online to find your best options, and consult with your manufacturer.
If odd smells are your issue, such as burning when you’ve just switched on the microwave, unplug and switch off the unit and call in for a repair. Random flashes and sparks can also persist when odd smells are involved. Typically, this is a sign of a short-circuiting microwave. If the repairman cannot fix the issue, save yourself the trouble and buy a replacement.
Maintaining Your Microwave
Maintenance is something we should all practice with our kitchen appliances. They run smoother, perform better, and save us money and effort. The same is true for our microwave ovens. Repairs and replacements are natural and common for when yours is on its last legs, but proper care comes first. You should maintain your microwave efficiently by:
Cleaning with Vinegar
- Fill a microwave-safe bowl or cup with two cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar. Place the container in the microwave.
- Turn the microwave on high for five minutes. Don’t open the door for 15 minutes. This will ensure the grime and bacteria have a chance to soften and die off.
- Carefully remove the container. Use mittens or a towel, as it will be hot.
- Remove the microwave turntable and wipe it down with a damp rag.
- Wipe down the whole microwave interior. Get the sides, door bottom, and top with a damp rag or paper towel. Be sure to avoid getting any liquid in the vents, as it will cause short-circuiting issues.
- Replace the turntable and close the microwave door.
Checking Your Warranty
This is something many people overlook, but warranties on home appliances are there for a reason. They ensure your appliance is in the best possible shape when you buy and tell you that the product is long-lasting and safe for use.
Check your warranty by simply:
- Looking at the box your microwave is packaged in.
- Failing that, if you use an older microwave, you should consult with your manufacturer or get a repairman to assess the age of your appliance.
- Optionally, you can check the instruction manual for troubleshooting services.
- Check the “support” page and affiliate links on the manufacturer’s website.
- Phone the manufacturer for more details about your warranty.
Remember that you always have lines of support and that you can look for them by reading guides similar to this, asking for help in forums, or assessing the issue with repairmen and manufacturers. Hardware and appliances can be an issue to maintain, especially if they are older models, but with the right tools in place, you should know when it’s time for a completely new unit or whether it’s worth a simple repair job.