What would humanity do without the trusty magic microwave? Probably use some other device for reheating, like their conventional stove or oven as well as an electric kettle for heating up water. Regardless, it’s quite dependable when warming up leftovers, defrosting frozen meats, and heating up convenience store meals.
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Like with any appliance or even pets, microwaves don’t last forever. They’re not even built to last any longer than any other electric oven types out there. So you’re probably curious…
What are the Signs You Need to Replace Your Microwave?
Here are the signs of a microwave that’s breaking down. Some of these signs are more minor than others. You might even get away with delivering your oven to a repair shop and having it fixed with spare parts and whatnot even if it’s already off-warranty. However, once these symptoms are present, you should seriously consider buying a new microwave oven.
1. Smoke, Sparks, and Burning Smells:
The most obvious sign that your microwave requires replacement if there are smoke, sparks, and a burning smell emanating from the device every time you use it. Now keep in mind that it’s possible for it to do all these things because of the presence of microwaved metal. In those cases, just take the metal out and you’ll be fine. However, you know your microwave is failing if you end up with smoke and sparks even without microwaving metal.
This means that something must’ve corroded or malfunctioned in your microwave and its metal parts. This is an urgent and serious problem. Turn off your microwave, unplug it, and so forth. There’s no going back once you see sparks or smoke from the device. Ditto if you smell something burning, like an ozone-like smell. This is a failing microwave that requires replacement ASAP.
2. Food Isn’t Cooking Properly:
This is a cardinal sin when it comes to microwaves. The whole point and main advantage of a microwave over a conventional oven is the fact that it saves you time by speeding up the cooking time, from heating up water in a minute to heating up popcorn in two minutes. Its microwaves use friction from the molecules reacting to the rays to heat anything up relatively fast.
However, if your microwave is heating up food much slower than usual or isn’t heating up anything at all then something is amiss with it. Give it a test now that its power is starting to wane. Heat up a cup of water on high power for 2 minutes. If you don’t end up with a piping hot cup of water you can use for instant coffee, then it’s about time you invested in a new microwave.
3. It Makes Horrible Sounds as It Cooks:
Your microwave should purr like a kitten. If it makes strange sounds, there might be a problem. It’s like your car in that sense. A microwave, especially the latest ones, tends to cook food or heat water with a gentle hum. However, it does have moving parts that wear down, like the glass part that spins as it bombards its insides with microwave rays. Over time, they can end up making disconcerting noises that serve as your oven’s death rattle.
If you hear any rattling, buzzing, or grinding noises that have no place during microwave operation, then you should have the oven checked out or replaced. Hopefully, it’s something minor and at most only requires a part of it to be replaced, like the fan blades and the turntable. A misalignment or leftover piece of food stuck somewhere it’s not supposed to be should be easy enough to fix. If those areas are fine, you might have a problem so big that the entire microwave should be replaced with a new one.
4. The Door Doesn’t Seal Properly:
Like in the case of refrigerators, a microwave should be able to close its oven door properly to make a seal. This way, the microwave rays of the microwave won’t be able to escape, since they’re also blocked by the metal shielding of the device. When you close the microwave door, it should make a complete seal. Many microwaves that have door problems don’t even turn on until the door is properly shut.
This important safety feature ensures that the radiation from the microwave is contained within the microwave only. This is also the reason why the oven won’t turn on unless the door has a complete seal. Sometimes, bits of food can end up in the door lock, leading to it not sealing properly or not even opening properly when you press the door opener button. If the door itself is severely worn, cracked, or broken, this is enough to warrant a microwave oven replacement.
5. The Keypad Doesn’t Function:
The keypad is required in order to make the microwave work. If you don’t want to only use the microwave to quickly heat up a cup of water or leftovers because you only use the “1 Minute” button, you need a fully functioning keypad. You know things have gone south if your microwave fails to respond to your keyed-in commands from the keypad.
You should be able to push the start button, power setting, or cook time and get a result. Sometimes, a good cleaning is all your keypad requires in order for it to continue to function. However, if after you’ve cleaned it, it still doesn’t work, then that’s all she wrote. A replacement is now called for in order to get a microwave oven with a fully functional keypad.
6. It’s Over 10 Years Old:
Like with most pets such as cats or dogs, you should brace yourself for the worst once your microwave oven hits the big one-oh. Most microwaves are built to only last a decade or so, and the warranty reflects as much. Like with CRT TVs, blenders, and most other appliances, it will last depending on how well you take care of it and how often you use it.
Like ol’ Fido or Kitty, once your microwave machine goes beyond 10 years and ends up in its teens or even in its twenties, you might have to watch out for the abovementioned symptoms and be prepared to upgrade it. Technology always marches on. Most appliances become more energy efficient even though microwave tech itself hasn’t really changed since the 1980s and 1990s.
Additional Things of Note Regarding Failing Microwaves
The warranty for these amazing devices lasts about 10 years or so. They can last a bit longer but if you regularly use them, they could break down within or a little over that warranty period. There will come a time when your microwave oven will break down.
- The Love for Your Microwave Isn’t a Forever Thing: A microwave won’t last forever. Like all appliances, they’ll die eventually. Consumer reports claim that microwaves only last 9 years or not even 10 years. It depends on the brand and how much you use them.
- Keypad Wear-Down and Microwave Heating Time: If you have to push, re-push, and push again the keys on the keypad, that’s an indication that it’s already been compromised. Also, if it takes longer and longer to heat your food then that’s an indicator that your microwave is dying. Microwaves work in dog years apparently.
- A Broken Latch and Turntable as well as Noises: If you can’t close the door to your microwave properly no matter how much you clean the latch then it’s time to buy a new microwave. The motor on your turntable might also be busted if the food stops rotating on the glass turntable. Ditto if you hear any noises other than a droning hum during microwave operations.
- Sparks and Smoke Mean It’s Your Last Meal: Once your machine starts making sparks or emitting smoke as though it’s a barbecue grill instead of a microwave oven, then whatever meal you’re heating is the last meal your device should ever heat up. Unplug the machine immediately and get an upgraded or replacement microwave post-haste.
- To Repair or Not to Repair? In regards to whether it should be repaired or not, it’s a relatively affordable appliance that some might even give away as a wedding present and some such. Therefore, buying a new one might be more economical down the line than a quick fix. Otherwise, if you’re too broke to buy one immediately, a repair bill or two might be in order as long as it’s not more expensive than buying a new microwave.
Your microwave isn’t built to last forever. You have the option to have it repaired to extend its life after warranty or you can buy a new one, whichever is the cheaper option. Just be aware that there will be a point where you’ll need to replace your microwave oven. It’s more a matter of how instead of when. You can tell if it needs replacing once you come across the abovementioned tell-tale signs. This way, you can shop and buy a new microwave in advance so that you won’t have to shop for one on short notice once your old oven goes kaput.