How To Tell Your Microwave Is Going Bad
Microwave ovens used to be a thing of wonder, a sign that modern times were becoming futuristic and even space-aged! Now they’re just a regular part of the average kitchen, and it is important to know the danger signs when you see them; to know when it’s worth getting yours fixed, or whether you should simply dispose of it.
Are Microwaves Dangerous?
It’s a less common concern now that microwaves are so well established, but it is still worth emphasizing that food heated in a microwave does not becomes ‘radioactive’. Neither does any microwave energy stay in the food or cavity after it is switched off. Your microwave is like a light bulb; when turned off, there is no energy being emitted.
If you boil water on a regular stove, steam escapes and bubbles form. Not so if you do it using a microwave, and there is a chance that water could ‘super-heat’ and cause severe burns. Certain foods that have non-porous surfaces (hotdogs), or that heat at different rates (yolk, egg whites, chestnuts) can explode, so again it behooves you to exercise caution when removing such items from the microwave.
Microwaves are great for re-heating, or even cooking certain foods. They’re not so efficient at cooking thicker pieces of food; there is a risk of food poisoning due to harmful micro-organisms not being killed off. Either cook such food in your conventional oven or allow the heat to fully distribute through the food, to prevent this risk. It is also worth noting that not all microwave ovens are designed to sterilize baby bottles, so you should check the specifications if this is a requirement.
Can Old Microwaves Leak Radiation?
There is a school of thought that says that microwaves are dangerous, period. However, the microwave’s design ensures that it can only ever be switched on when the door is closed. Any leakage through the glass door is negligible. That said, with an older or slightly broken machine this might not be the case; if in doubt call a qualified technician. This has to be weighed up against the cost of purchasing a new one.
The level of quantum energy emitted in a microwave oven is about 30 to 50 million times weaker than regular light. Such radiation cannot disturb molecular bonds, damage DNA, or cause cancer. All microwave ovens have some leakage but it is comparable with a small LED light such as you might use on an outdoor garden display or on your Christmas tree. The radiation leakage from a microwave is no less than that from a lightbulb!
Why Is My Microwave Making A Loud Noise?
There could be a number of things wrong with your microwave, which could explain a loud noise. It could be the:
- Drive Motor – The turntable is powered by a drive motor, which is secured by a retaining screw with two wires attached. A grinding noise may mean it needs to be replaced.
- Magnetron – This component provides the microwaves that create the heat. If defective you may hear a loud humming or buzzing noise.
- Drive Coupler – A motor driven coupler rotates the tray on a roller guide. If cracked or worn it will become noisy and should be replaced.
- Roller Guide – Roller wheels support the rotation of the glass turn tray and can become damaged or worn. Check for cracks or damage; replace if necessary.
- High Voltage Diode – A loud humming noise may indicate a problem with the high voltage diode. You can remove the cabinet and use a multi-meter to check for continuity, in both directions. If there is continuity in both directions, then it should be replaced.
- Cooling Fan – This is another common problem. The cooling fan is used to cool the magnetron and can become blocked or obstructed by small objects. It may also just be a bit worn.
If you decide to replace fairly simple component parts yourself, the increasing number of online videos and tutorials that will help with basic replacement or repair jobs has never been easier. You may wish to call out a technician if you have diagnosed the problem but don’t want to dabble in electrics and wiring. Overall, it’s reassuring to know that microwaves are safe and user-friendly, ideal for you and your family.