What Are The Signs That A Microwave Is Going Bad?

Are you wondering what are the signs that a microwave is going bad?

Similar to all kitchen appliances, microwaves come with an expiry date.

But when should you replace it? 

Below are some telltale signs you should remember that call for a new unit. 

  • Semi-functioning.
  • Faulty door.
  • Sparks or smoke.
  • Weird sounds.
  • You’ve been using it for ten years.
  • Food isn’t heating correctly.

Troubleshooting microwave problems 

an image of microwave


Being semi-functioning makes people think that it’s a minor problem.

However, this can be caused by a big problem with the voltage transformer.

Rather than pressing the button repeatedly, get it checked by an electrician.

The door doesn’t completely close.

All the microwaves have to be contained within the chamber.

If the frame or door is cracked, broken, or not suctioning, hit the store. 

Sparks, smoke, or burning smell 

These are the symptoms of an urgent and severe problem.

Please turn off the oven and unplug it instantly.

There’s no turning back after seeing smoke or sparks.

It simply means that the appliance is failing.

Get the opinion of a microwave expert.

Unusual Sounds 

While it’s cooking, the microwave is supposed to be quiet, emitting only a low hum.

But if you hear loud noises, like rattling, buzzing, or grinding, something’s wrong. 

First, observe the fan blades and turntable.

You can fix a misalignment or remove leftover food easily.

But if those components are okay, only a new microwave can solve it.

The usage time has exceeded 10 years. 

The majority of microwaves have a capacity of ten years.

But even if yours is in usage for a more extended period and appears functional, it’s still important to consider an upgrade. 

This is because technology keeps getting improved and the latest appliances are more efficient. 

Food isn’t heating up 

An appealing aspect of a microwave oven is that it drastically speeds up the cooking time.

If your appliance is taking more time to cook food or isn’t cooking at all, there’s a problem.

If you think your oven’s power is starting to fade, conduct a test.

Cook a cup of water on high power for 2 minutes.

If the water isn’t hot, it’s time for a replacement.

Related Reading: Best Wattage For Microwave – Find Out Here.

How Long Should a Microwave Last?

A standard microwave oven has a lifetime of 7 years if it’s normally used.

In case the oven is handling heavy usage on inferior maintenance, you can expect the lifetime to shorten accordingly. 

A big family is more dependent on this appliance, which is why their oven will last for 4 to 5 years.

However, it should be noted that if inappropriate items are placed inside the oven, it will lead to a fire or damage. 

When is a microwave unsafe to use

  • Sparks or smoke

These are undeniable symptoms of a failing microwave. Stop using the appliance immediately upon viewing these indications. 

  • Food isn’t being cooked perfectly.

It’s simple logic – the inability to cook or heat food is directly correlated to the failing mechanism of the microwave. 

  • It emits unusual sounds during operation.

While quiet hums are okay, shrill sounds are not. Take notice if you hear weird noise. 

  • The door isn’t sealing properly.

When it’s closed, the door needs to be totally sealed. This is a critical safety feature so that radiation doesn’t escape. 

If the sealing is worn out, cracked, or deteriorated, it’s time to invest in a new microwave. 

  • You’ve been using it for 10 years.

All appliances have their lifetimes, and 10 years is the limit till when all microwave ovens should be replaced.

Microwaves that last the longest 

According to Consumer Reports, units having a small footprint are underpowered and don’t have optimum performance. 

Models from :

  • Hamilton Beach
  • Breville,
  • LG,
  • Insignia,
  • Signature Kitchen Suite, and
  • Proctor-Silex

are the most reliable brands with high ratings.

These are the microwave ovens that boast the longest lifetimes. 

Does a microwave oven use more energy than a normal oven?

an image of microwave oven

Opting to cook via a microwave oven as compared to a standard oven can utilize 30% to up to 80% less energy, as per ENERGY STAR

Moreover, a microwave oven doesn’t heat up the kitchen in the summer, which is normal with a standard oven.

This can reduce air conditioning expenses. 

Microwaves utilize high-frequency radio waves to heat up the water molecules in the food.

Food items basically cook from the inside out, forcing the air surrounding the item to stay at room temperature. 

This means that microwaves heat the entirety of the food at once.

This technique cuts down the cooking time and energy consumption, particularly while cooking a minimal amount of food. 

Comparatively, a standard oven heats largely by convection

The hot air gathers around the food

And the heat emitting from the hot coils is a result of the temperature difference between the food and hot air. 

As the external parts of food get hot, the heat goes inwards to warm up the inner parts of the food. 

Is it okay to run a microwave empty?

In simple words, it is not a good idea to run a microwave oven empty.

Doing so will lead to damage.

When there’s food in the oven, it absorbs a big percentage of the microwave transmitter’s output.

But when the oven is empty, none or almost none of the microwaves are absorbed. 

A big amount of energy reflects around the inner chamber that leading to standing waves.

This can harm the appliance. 

What can cause a microwave to explode?

Among many other objects, boiling any measurement of water in the oven can cause an explosion.

Water can be overheated (even beyond the boiling point), as it won’t stop heating unless the time limit is over.

When it’s moved or disturbed, it’s possible for the heat to release violently.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, heat a minimum amount of water and keep an eye on it. 

How often should a microwave be replaced?

As stated before, standard usage and optimum maintenance will offer 7 years of service.

For a big family, the lifetime gets deducted to 4-5 years. 

With the decrease in maintenance and increase in usage, the lifetime shortens. 

Is it safe to run a microwave for 30 minutes?

It’s not advised to leave the microwave oven on for a long time.

Doing so will either make the food dry or burned.

Remember not to set the timer for more than 5 minutes without shaking or stirring the food to distribute the food.

Instead, cook the food in divided increments – 30 seconds or minute intervals for optimum results. 

What is the reason for a microwave taking longer to cook 

Diminished heat is usually a result of a faulty circuit board or magnetron, which can only be fixed by a technician.

But before you splurge money on repairs, search for the appliances that are cheaper to replace. 

Inside of microwave peeling – Reason 

When food splatters on the inside of an oven, and it’s left there, it can bake onto the surface and get hardened with time.

This will create a hot spot that’s warmer than the remaining interior in the cooking procedure. 

Hot spots are the major cause of paint deterioration.

Another cause can be sharp utensils that can scratch off the paint. 

Does the microwave make my food radioactive?

Microwaves employ electromagnetic radiation for heating food items.

This non-ionizing radiation does not induce radiation in the food.

Microwaves are manufactured to ensure that electromagnetic radiation doesn’t leave the oven. 

Related Reading: Kichenhood Fire Suppression System – Learn More Here.

Wrapping It Up 

To conclude, microwaves are affordable, so buying a new one is more budget-friendly than the components and labor costs that emerge with repairs.