Microwaves have become essential in most homes, and the last thing you want is for this food-heating appliance to break down because of poor maintenance. Since the life span of a microwave significantly depends on how you take care of these appliances, it is vital to adopt good preventative maintenance habits.
What is the average life of a microwave?
The average life expectancy of a microwave is between 5 and 10 years. However, the exact period your microwave will last depends on its maintenance and usage.
If you use your microwave heavily and poorly maintain it, it will wear out fast. On the other hand, with proper care and maintenance, your microwave can last for more than a decade.
10 tips to take care of your microwave
Here are some tips to take care of your microwave:
Keep your microwave clean
Regularly cleaning your microwave on the outside and inside will keep it running optimally while ensuring food safety. The easiest way to do this is using a sponge, soapy water, or natural solutions such as vinegar and baking soda. Take care not to have the water get into the touchpad or interior components when cleaning your microwave.
Consider your microwave’s placement
If you own a countertop microwave, it is critical to consider its placement, as it needs to be in a position that allows effective heat discharge from its vents. As a rule, you need to:
- Place your microwave at least three (3) inches to five (5) from the walls.
- Ensure your microwave is never close to water or heat-producing appliances such as cookers, gas ovens, and refrigerators.
Use the right dishware
Strictly use microwavable dishware to avoid the risks of fires, explosions, or your containers melting. A rule of thumb is to use items marked as microwave-safe, especially glass and ceramic dishes.
Invest in an electric surge protector
Protect your microwave from power fluctuations by plugging it into a surge protector. Remember to unplug your microwave when it is not in use to save energy and avoid accidental running.
Always cover your food
Splashes are bound to happen during microwaving as the food or liquid heats up, and the best way to protect the walls of your microwave is by covering your dishware. Use microwave-safe lids, avoiding plastics that can melt or items that will leave toxic elements in your food.
Know what to put in your microwave
Not everything needs to be put in your microwave, given the extremely high temperatures released during the microwaving process. Some foods you should avoid heating with your microwave are water, eggs, potatoes, hot dogs, chili peppers, dry non-food items, and anything covered with aluminum foil.
Pay attention to the door
Microwave doors are heavily abused as most people slam them, forcefully shut them with elbows, or pull the door open while the microwave is still running. All these actions cause damage to your microwave latches/switches and should be avoided for the safety and longevity of your unit.
For example, opening your microwave without first turning it off can lead to a blown safety fuse, while loose latches allow microwave leakage.
Do not run the microwave when empty
Your microwave should never run on empty as the energy produced will be absorbed by its interior components leading to rapid wear and tear. If you have to use your microwave as a timer, check if your model has a separate time function that can run without producing internal energy.
Use preprogrammed cooking times
While most people avoid using the pre-set cooking times on a microwave, adhering to these cooking modes helps these appliances work more efficiently. These preprogrammed times minimize energy loss while heating your food as efficiently as possible. It also helps avoid cooking accidents or the need to re-microwave food because it did not heat properly.
You must also adhere to the weight capacity of your microwave, especially when you need to heat heavier dishes or large frozen foods. You can find this information on your microwave door, owner’s manual, or online.
Keep up with basic replacements
Your microwave has several components that wear out over time and should be regularly replaced to function optimally. These include your door latches, light bulbs, charcoal filters, and turntables. Fortunately, you can easily replace these parts whenever you notice any problems. For example, if your microwave produces strange odors when running, this is a sign that you need to replace your filter, while a loose door indicates the need for new latches.
The bottom line
Microwaves make a huge difference in a home, and they need to be well taken care of to avoid replacing them after a short while. By following these simple steps, you will be guaranteed a microwave that will always be in good shape throughout its lifespan.