Microwaves do not last forever, but how long do they last, and how often do they need to be replaced? Look no further for the answer. We did the research to find out just how often you can expect to replace yours.

You should replace your microwave every ten years. That is the average life expectancy that a manufacturer expects out of a microwave. Some variants can cause your microwave not to last that long. You can expect the whole ten years of use out of your microwave by taking care of it properly and not overusing it.

Although a microwave is expected to last a good ten years, that does not mean they are always able to. Please keep reading to find out what to avoid to make your microwave last longer and signs to look out for when your microwave is near the end of its time.

A microwave on a kitchen counter, How Often Should You Replace Your Microwave?

What To Do To Extend Your Microwave's Life

First, it is crucial to keep up with cleaning spills in your microwave. This will help your microwave continue to heat food evenly instead of creating hot spots on the small pieces of food left in there over time. Also, preprogrammed times are there for a reason.

It is important to use them to avoid running your microwave for too long and overheating it. For example, it is easy to accidentally put ten minutes when you meant one minute by accidentally clicking the zero one too many times.

Another tip is always to use your exhaust fan when cooking on the stove for over-the-range units. This is to avoid moisture from getting into the electronics in the microwave, therefore shortening its life span. Also, make sure to clean the grease filters that are underneath the microwave. This tip is especially important in the over-the-range units because of the stove's constant grease, moisture, and heat.

A small plate of broccoli inside a microwave

Avoid These Things To Make Your Microwave Last Longer

Avoid using metal bowls and silverware in the microwave. Metal in the microwave can cause sparks and potential burn holes, which are unable to be fixed. You can use other materials in your microwave instead. Your microwave is fragile, be gentle and avoid slamming the door. Slamming it can cause the mechanical latches to fail and make the microwave leak radiation.

Make sure to avoid running your microwave when there is nothing inside. It is an easy mistake to make when attempting to start a timer. However, with nothing inside, there are no water particles to excite and nowhere for the energy to focus, which can cause overheating and potential burns inside the microwave.

If you notice something wrong with your microwave, it is imperative that you do not try to fix it on your own. It is dangerous for you to attempt to fix it because of all of the electrical parts inside of the microwave and the potential for accidents once it is “fixed.” If not fixed correctly, it could start a fire or other related events. It is best to leave the repairs to the professionals.

Ceramic ware and kitchen ware setting up on the counter in the kitchen

What Are The Signs Your Microwave Is Going Bad?

There are many signs that a microwave is not going to last much longer. There are five main signs that are very easy to notice and important to look out for. The first sign is that you are smelling smoke or seeing sparks while the microwave is running. This is an urgent sign that requires you to stop the microwave and unplug it immediately. You will need to buy a new microwave at this point.

The second sign is noticing your food is not heating evenly or as quickly as it used to. This could mean the microwave is slowly losing its power. One way to test this is to place a cup of water in the microwave on high heat for two minutes. If it is not incredibly hot after this, your microwave is not as powerful as it should be.

More Signs That You Need A New Microwave

The next sign is if the keypad begins to malfunction. If you cannot punch in the time settings or the power settings, you will be unable to use your microwave. Sometimes by cleaning the keypad, this problem will disappear, as the sensors may just be blocked. If cleaning it doesn’t work, then you will need to look into getting a new microwave.

The fourth sign is that the door doesn’t close. The door needs to seal to maintain the safety measures in place completely. If your microwave's door seal is torn, broken, or cracked, then it is time for a new microwave.

Finally, if you can hear unusual and loud sounds coming from your microwave while it is running, there is probably something amiss. First, check the fan blades and turntable for misalignment, but it may be time for a new microwave if these don’t seem to be the problem.

Is It Worth Fixing A Microwave?

Usually, countertop units are not worth fixing. This is because they are generally cheaper units. The price to have a technician come to see the problem would equal a good portion of what a new unit costs. On top of that, the technician would also have to fix the problem and charge you for it; therefore, it is not usually worth it.

Microwave oven on the table

Over-the-range units are different, however. They are usually more expensive and more challenging to install. Because of this, it may be in your best interest to have a technician troubleshoot the problem and see if it would be worth it to fix it. This is especially the case when the microwave is pretty new or still has a warranty. You need to note that if your microwave is not easily accessible, it may cost you a bit more to have a technician repair it.

How Often Should You Change A Microwave?

You should replace your microwave at least every ten years. As learned previously, some issues can arise that will require replacement earlier than ten years. There are also, however, ways to make your microwave last to that ten-year mark. The way to make it last longer is to keep up with cleaning, be gentle and do not overuse or overwork your microwave, and make sure you use the microwave the way it was created to be used.

Are Old Microwaves Dangerous?

If your old but functioning microwave is well taken care of, it is not necessarily dangerous to continue using. Rust and damage can change that. If your microwave has any damage to it, including dents, burn marks, or the door seal is broken, it is wise to consider a new microwave.

Radiation is usually the first thing people suspect as being dangerous. Radiation is not as harmful as many believe. You are not likely to be harmed significantly because of radiation leakage. This is for two reasons, one being the amount of radiation is small and insignificant normally. The second reason being that the radiation is non-ionizing, meaning it does not directly damage your DNA.

Radiation is not the only danger you should worry about. You can avoid other dangers such as fire by paying attention to the signs listed previously to see if your microwave is experiencing any issues. If the screen in the window of the microwave is damaged, then you could be in danger.

Modern kitchen microwave oven

How Can I Tell If My Microwave Is Leaking Radiation?

The best way to test if your microwave leaks radiation is to buy a leakage tester and follow the instructions. This will tell you if any radiation is leaking and where it is leaking from. Usually, the door is the culprit, as it is easy to have the seal broken and not know it.

Final Thoughts On the Longevity Of Microwaves

You should replace your microwave every ten years. There are times, however, when you may need to replace it earlier. For example, when you damage the microwave, when it smells like smoke, when food is not heating up correctly, or when the keypad no longer works. In these situations, you will probably want to replace it very soon. When you return it, you could check if a toaster oven would work better for you.

One comment

  1. 10 years??? My big Amana lasted 1978-98. Its replacement was a Sharp Carousel Nice and Easy, the one with the pretty pink buttons…so its on year 24. Survived three moves. Heats as well as ever. All the buttons work and the door is like new. Is it just me getting older or are appliances not built to last anymore? Neither of these were the most expensive when I got them, just nice mid-range models. And used a LOT. I have always been careful about not overheating, forbidden materials, cleaning, etc. I do think part of overheating is caused by not providing enough ‘breathing room’ for the appliance and I leave 3-4″ on every side. But, still? A good microwave should last longer than 10 years!!

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