A microwave has become one of the most relied-upon kitchen appliances.
I got so used to it that I forgot to look at how long it should serve me before noticing signs of failure.
But wait, do microwave ovens lose power over time?
Yes, a microwave will lose power over time due to the wearing off of the magnetron tube, making the microwave less powerful. An average microwave will begin to lose its power after at least seven to ten years of normal use and proper maintenance.
This article shares my experience on whether microwave ovens lose power over time, among other topics like signs that a microwave is going bad, What causes Microwave Power Loss, and How long microwave ovens last, among others.
What are Signs that a Microwave is Going Bad
Signs of microwave loss of power over time include malfunctioning of the keypad, smoke and burning smell, slower cooking, and unsealing of the door
1. Malfunctioning of the keypad
You notice your microwave is beginning to lose its power when the keypad suddenly stops responding to instructions, like when you set the timer or press the start button or power button. Most of the time, cleaning the keypad may help the situation. However, if the incident repeats itself more frequently, it is a sign that your microwave is going bad.
2. Smoke and burning smell
Suppose you notice some sparks, smoke and burning smell coming from your microwave, do not think twice. Stop the microwave and unplug it. If you do not seem to understand where the smoke or the burning smell is coming from, consider seeking a professional’s opinion.
If your microwave is old, it is probably because it has served you for years and can no longer keep functioning normally.
3. Slower cooking
After using your microwave for years, you get used to how fast it cooks or reheats your meals. Suppose it no longer cooks at the same speed, then there is a problem.
A simple meal that only took 2 minutes to reheat in the microwave now takes 4 to 6 minutes; then, the microwave is losing its power.
If you’re still unsure, give it a test run, pour some water into a microwavable mug, and heat it at high power for 2 minutes. If the water is not scorching hot after microwaving, you need to replace it.
4. Unsealing of the microwave door
Your microwave door should be able to seal to keep the radiation contained. It is a requirement that every microwave manufacturer has to abide by since microwave radiation can harm humans.
Suppose the door to your microwave no longer seals or holds the way it is used; it is cracked or wholly warned out, then it is time to get a new microwave or fix it.
5. Grinding or rattling noises
When a microwave runs, it should only produce a gentle humming sound. If this is no longer the case and you suddenly hear loud grinding or rattling noises, something is wrong.
What Causes Microwave Ovens Lose Power Over Time?
The most common causes of power loss in microwaves are old age, blown-up fuse, and defective main control board or door.
Below is why the above factors may cause loss of power in microwaves
1. Old age
The longer your microwave works, the more its magnetron tube wears off. It could be years, but when they finally get old, the microwave loses power.
Old age is not something you can avoid; your microwave will definitely get there someday, and when it does, make sure you invest in getting another microwave that will serve you even longer.
2. Blown-up fuse
Your microwave may lose power due to a blown-up fuse, especially the main fuse. The fuse might blow due to a defective door switch, a power fluctuation, or a magnetron tube.
A blown-up fuse can be replaced, and the microwave will continue functioning. However, it is essential to find out why the fuse blew up in the first place. A replacement might also blow in the same way.
3. Defective microwave door
Most microwaves are designed to cut off power or not function when their doors are open. If a microwave’s door is not properly closed, there is a high chance that it is experiencing power loss. A defective door could also be a sign of old age and needing a replacement or to be fixed.
4. A defective main control board
Loose wires or some corrosion may cause a defect in the main control board. It is not easy to know when a problem occurs from the main control board of a microwave, which is why you need a professional’s opinion on the matter.
How Long Do Microwave Ovens Last
An average microwave oven may last seven to ten years with proper care and maintenance.
How long a microwave lasts depends on several things, such as make, use, and maintenance. Heavy use of a microwave will reduce the life span of a microwave, especially in a household of many family members. They may find themselves needing a new microwave after every five years.
Normal microwave use will allow an average microwave to survive for seven years or slightly longer. However, it also has to be accompanied by care and proper maintenance—for instance, frequent cleaning and use of appropriate microwave containers.
How Long Does a Microwave Magnetron Last
It is believed that a magnetron can last 1,500 to 2,000 hours.
If a magnetron can work for 2000 hours, and the longest you can use your microwave per day is an hour, then the magnetron lasts longer slightly than six years. Therefore, the longer you use your microwave, the more you use up the magnetron life span. It could last for years, depending on how often you microwave.
However, the magnetron varies from one microwave to another depending on the make and the voltage level.
How Often Should you Replace Your Microwave?
An average microwave should be replaced after every seven to ten years.
Seven to ten years is the average life span of an average microwave. However, how long they survive also depends on how you take care of them by ensuring they are regularly cleaned and used appropriately.
Overusing your microwave is another way to ensure it does not live to its full potential. Therefore, only make use of your microwave when you need it.
Can You Repair a Broken Microwave?
Yes, you can repair a broken microwave. It is a better option, especially if you are not prepared for the expense of purchasing a brand-new microwave.
However, repairing does not add a few more years to your microwave; in most cases, it even reduces its life span. Also, it is advisable to seek professional help to repair your microwave.
Unless you are a professional, please do not do it yourself; you may end up causing more damage than good.
Occasionally, a microwave may need the replacement of spare parts that could be quite expensive. When you combine the cost of the spare part and the labour cost, it is almost equal to the price of a new microwave. In such cases, opting for a brand-new microwave is advisable.
Helpful Tips to Make your Microwave Last Longer
Use microwavable containers and surge protectors, avoid metallic objects, keep your microwave clean with gentle soap, and do not run your microwave when empty.
Below are reasons why the above tips will increase the life span of your microwave.
1. Use microwavable containers
There is a reason why microwaves have containers that are safe to use. Other containers of different materials like metals may end up causing fire or causing an explosion which might damage your microwave, reducing its life span.
2. Use surge protectors
Surge protectors regulate the amount of energy being allowed into the microwave. With a surge protector, it is not easy for your microwave to be damaged due to power failure or electric shock.
3. Avoid running an empty microwave
A microwave is designed to use its radiation waves to vibrate the water molecules in the food being microwaved to produce heat. Running an empty microwave only means no water molecules; therefore, the radiation bounces back and forth, which may cause damage.
4. Keep your microwave clean with gentle soap
Avoid using soups made from harsh chemical substances that may cause corrosion to the interior parts of your microwave.
Like all electronic devices, a microwave loses power at some point. It is believed that an average microwave may last for seven to ten years as long it is used and maintained appropriately.