Microwave Safety and Maintenance Tips | Jersey Coast Appliance
Microwave ovens have become a standard fixture in the kitchen, just like your conventional stove or refrigerator. With our busy lifestyles, they make everyday life easier. Microwave ovens are generally safe when used correctly. However, people have experienced burns and other injuries while using a microwave. In many cases, such injuries were the result of improper use or lack of maintenance. Understanding what makes a microwave work and following some simple but important microwave safety and maintenance tips can keep you and your family from experiencing any microwave-related accidents.
How a Microwave Oven Works
Microwave ovens cook our meals quickly and efficiently because they channel heat energy directly to the molecules inside food. The actual waves produced by these ovens are a type of electromagnetic radiation, which causes water molecules in food to vibrate. These vibrations produce the heat that cooks food.
The waves are produced by a magnetron, which is a vacuum tube within the oven. These waves are reflected in the oven’s metal interior and can pass through glass, paper, plastic, and similar materials to be absorbed by the food being heated.
Many people are alarmed when they hear the word “radiation” but microwave ovens produce non-ionizing radiation. This type of radiation does not carry the same risks as x-rays and other types of ionizing radiation.
Microwave Injury Risks
Most injuries resulting from the use of microwave ovens are heat-related burns from hot containers, overheated foods, or exploding liquids. Injuries from radiation are extremely rare and are the result of unusual circumstances such as radiation leaking through gaps in the microwave oven’s seals.
However, FDA regulations require that microwave ovens are designed to prevent these high-level radiation leaks. They set microwave safety standards that require any radiation given off by ovens to be well below the level known to cause injury. Manufacturers must certify that their microwave ovens comply with specific FDA.
Microwave Safety Tips
There are many things you can do to keep your microwave in good condition, ensure microwave safety and avoid any microwave-related injuries.The user’s manual provided by the manufacturer will supply recommended operating procedures and safety precautions.
Keep it Clean
One simple way to maintain and extend the life of your microwave is by cleaning it regularly. Food and liquid spatter can absorb energy and result in burn spots, potentially causing damage to components of the microwave. Most spills and spatter can be cleaned up with warm soap and water or a specialized microwave oven cleaner.
For tough-to-clean spills, try heating a cup of water in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. The steam generated should help loosen the grime. When heating food you can prevent messes by using a microwave cover or covering food with a paper towel.
Make sure to only use cookware, plates or containers that are safe for microwave use. Use cookware specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Don’t use metal pots and pans or aluminum foil as it can damage the microwave.
Some plastic containers can melt from the heat of the food. If you notice that a container or piece of dishware becomes significantly hotter than the food when microwaved, avoid using them in the microwave. The FDA recommends using glass, ceramic, and plastic containers labeled for microwave oven use.
Water heated beyond its boiling temperature, without signs of boiling, is considered super-heated. When water is heated beyond the boiling point, even the slightest movement can cause the water to violently explode out of its container. This can easily lead to scalding injuries or serious burns to the person handling the container. In addition to rendering it inedible, overheating food can also lead to scalding or burns.
Prevent Door Damage
Doors are one of the most commonly damaged parts of a microwave. It gets slammed, pushed shut with an elbow or opened before turning off the microwave, potentially damage the door.
Microwave door latches are more complex than they appear and can have as many as three switching mechanisms that must close in the correct order. Slamming the door may damage these switches. Opening the door while the microwave is running can result in a blown safety fuse. If the microwave continues to run when the door is opened, stop using it and call your local appliance repair service.
Inspect for Leakage
While there shouldn’t be a concern about microwave radiation leakage, the FDA recommends checking the door latch, hinges, and seals for damage. If any of these issues exist or the door isn’t closing firmly, discontinue using the microwave.
The Most Important Microwave Safety Tip
You should never try to repair a microwave oven on your own. You could cause additional damage or end up seriously injuring yourself. Consult with professional appliance repair technician to determine if the unit can be repaired or should be replaced.
Keep these things in mind when choosing an appliance repair service:
- Level of Experience
- Hours of Availability
- Quality Customer Service
Jersey Coast Appliance has the expertise and customer service that you can rely on. We offer a variety of services, including 24/7 emergency service for issues that need immediate assistance. Also, with our Night Owl Service available anytime between 4 P.M. and 8 P.M., Monday thru Friday, we can conveniently work around your schedule. Our service department has a wide variety of in-stock replacement parts, including Kenmore.
As a nationally approved, certified service center, we’ve undergone an extensive review of our management and customer service policies, dress code, adherence to Federal and local regulations, insurance coverage and technician qualifications to assure you, our customer, the best quality of service that is available today. If your appliances are in need of repairs, don’t hesitate, give us a call!