We all love to use the microwave in our homes, but how long do microwaves last?
In reality, they can last for a long time, but there are things we can do to extend the life of our microwaves and make sure we get maximum usage out of them!
How long do microwaves last?
The average lifespan of a microwave is about 9 years.
However, this number will vary depending on how often you use the appliance and how well you maintain it.
If you use your microwave regularly and keep it clean, it could last up to 15 years.
However, if you don’t properly maintain your microwave or don’t keep it clean, it may only last for 5 years.
Signs that your microwave is going bad
Buttons no longer respond
If your microwave isn’t working right and it’s not getting signals, the buttons might no longer work.
While the microwave might still be perfectly functional, having to repeatedly press a button can be frustrating.
This can be caused by something as simple as dust or debris in the button controls, which can be easily cleared away.
Push the power button. If it doesn’t respond immediately, or if it seems unresponsive at all, your machine is probably on its way out.
It takes a long time to cook
It could take more time to cook than it used to, and sometimes the food might not get cooked at all.
If your microwave is taking longer than normal to cook the food, that could be a sign that the device is about to break down.
This may be a clear indication that a certain component in your microwave is failing.
Most likely, it’s the magnetron.
It makes loud noises
When your microwave makes loud noises, there’s likely something wrong with it.
This can happen from extensive use and age or there could be some faulty components.
Try to identify what kind of sounds you hear. If it’s a clanking sound, it could have something to do with the turntable.
If you hear loud popping noises, and you’re sure it’s not because of the items you’re cooking, then it could be the electricity bouncing off the exposed unpainted walls.
If this happens, the best course of action is to repair it or replace it as soon as possible to avoid further problems.
It’s been over 10 years
A microwave that is over 10 years old and still running is a great accomplishment. If your microwave is over 10 years old, it might be time to replace it.
Older microwaves can begin to break down in a few ways:
- They may turn off while running and you have to restart them
- The door doesn’t close properly or the seal is damaged
- The microwave runs for a shorter time than usual, or it doesn’t shut off automatically when the timer expires
- You notice strange noises coming from the microwave, such as loud popping or crackling sounds
- There are sparks inside the microwave oven, or the interior light is flickering abnormally.
- The timer may not work correctly
- Any buttons on the microwave will stop working
These problems can cause food to remain in the microwave for too long, which can lead to greater damage and potentially a risk of fire.
The door is not fully closing
If the door is not fully closing, there might be a problem with the door latch, door seals, or gasket.
Usually, over time, the doors on microwaves become damaged after opening and closing so many times for so many years. Most microwave doors are made of mostly plastic, so it’s understandable that with age, they will crack.
Unfortunately, a cracked microwave door isn’t usually repairable after a certain extent. It might even be considered dangerous since the door protects you from microwave radiation.
If you have a broken microwave door and you’re unable to repair it then it’s time to replace your microwave.
Cracks all over the body
If your microwave has cracks all over the body, this is really a sign that it is getting old.
Cracks in most cases are not a good thing, especially if they form on the insides of the machine. Cracks in the body of a microwave can significantly reduce its performance.
Cracks in the body of your microwave are a sign of wear and tear. These cracks could compromise the functionality and efficiency of your microwave, so it’s important you address them immediately.
Radiation is not harmful unless it leaks out of the microwave. If the screen in the window of the microwave is damaged, then you could be in danger.
To avoid other dangers, pay attention to the signs and take action accordingly.
The display is not showing
If the digital display is not displaying correctly, it may be time to replace your microwave. Also, you may have an electrical issue with your microwave.
This can be caused by a blown fuse, faulty wiring, or even a faulty power supply board inside the unit.
If the display is not showing any numbers or just random numbers, it could mean that your microwave is going bad. You should contact your local repairman
The turntable no longer spins
If the turntable no longer spins, it’s likely that the motor is broken and needs to be replaced.
Using the microwave with the turntable off can lead to other problems with the microwave, such as burning food or uneven cooking.
Peeling, rust, and burns are forming
It is important to keep your microwave clean and well-maintained.
Signs you should look out for include paint peeling, rust, and burns all throughout the inner walls of the microwave.
One sign may not necessarily mean that your microwave has to be replaced, but if all signs point toward getting a new one, do so before an accident occurs!
I do suggest if this is an issue, you can repair it with a new coat of microwave paint but in some cases, if the rust has eaten deep into your walls, then you might have to consider getting a new one.
Sparks forming inside your microwave
Sparks forming inside your microwave are one of the top signs that the appliance is going bad. When sparks develop in the cooking chamber, it can lead to electrical damage, fire, and other hazards.
The most likely reason for this is, again, the wall’s paint has peeled off or rust has made its way into the walls and the metal frames are being exposed.
First, determine that it’s not your food that’s causing the sparks. Some foods have metals and minerals inside of them which can cause the electrons to bounce and create sparks.
If you’ve determined that it is, in fact, the metal exposed walls inside your microwave chamber, then try and repaint them with microwave paint or replace them completely.
A bad power supply
A bad power supply is a very common reason microwaves fail.
A microwave with a bad power supply usually has no lights or sounds inside, or it will work for a minute or two before cutting off.
A bad power supply will mean that your microwave won’t be getting the power to properly cook your food.
You can diagnose the issue using a multimeter.
If the power supply is damaged, it’s time to replace the microwave. If it’s under warranty, contact the manufacturer for help.
How to make your microwave last longer
Keep it clean
The first tip is as easy as it sounds: keep your microwave clean. By simply wiping down the inside of your microwave with a damp cloth, you can help eliminate food particles and grease buildup that can accumulate over time.
This is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your appliance and ensure that it’s always working at peak performance.
Don’t overcook your food
Don’t overcook your food. Overcooking can cause the food in your microwave to dry out and become tasteless, which is a waste of money.
If you’re cooking anything for more than two minutes, check it every minute or two for doneness.
And if you plan on eating the same meal again soon, make sure to keep an eye on it and remove it from the microwave as soon as it’s done.
Don’t slam the door
The door on your microwave should never be slammed shut. This causes the door seal to get out of alignment, which could lead to an exhaust leak and a potential fire hazard. Slamming the door can also cause the hinges to break or loosen.
To avoid slamming your microwave door, push it closed instead of pulling it shut with force.
Don’t bang on your microwave
One of the best ways to make your microwave last longer is to not bang on it. Banging on your microwaves can cause them to break, which will require expensive repairs.
Plus, banging on your microwave can also cause the glass door to shatter. Instead of banging on the microwave like a madman, try using a spoon or another object.
Handle it with care
Handle your microwave with care.
We’re not just talking about when you’re cooking, but also when it’s not in use.
The heat from the magnetron can cause damage if it is left on for long periods of time. If you don’t need your microwave, unplug it and turn off the power or set it to a low setting.
Give your microwave room to vent air
This is a really easy one. You just need to make sure that your microwave has enough room for air to vent.
This means that if you have a countertop microwave, the unit needs at least an inch of clearance on all sides.
If you have a wall-mounted unit, it needs at least three inches of clearance on both sides if it does not vent from the bottom. In either case, if you’re not sure how much space there is around your device, take some measurements and make sure there’s enough room!
Clean the vents regularly
The vents in your microwave are there for a reason, and that’s because they help keep your microwave from getting too hot. To make sure the vents are doing their job properly, you should clean them regularly.
There’s no set schedule for when you need to clean the vents, but it should be done about once a month or more often if you cook greasy foods on a regular basis.
Don’t microwave metals
One of the worst things you can do is put metals in a microwave.
It will create sparks and could potentially cause a fire. Aluminum foil, steel wool, and anything wrapped in tinfoil should never go into a microwave.
It’s also not a good idea to put anything that’s non-microwaveable in there either (i.e., plastic).
Don’t press the buttons too hard
Using more force than necessary can damage the buttons. To avoid this, don’t press too hard and press gently when using your fingers.
Use a surge protector
One way to make your microwave last longer is by using a surge protector. A surge protector diverts excess power that might otherwise overload the appliance.
This will protect the microwave from any spikes in power and can also protect other electronic devices that may be plugged into it. Plus, a surge protector is inexpensive and easy to install!
Don’t turn it on without food
One of the most common mistakes people make is running their microwave without anything inside, which can lead to a burned mess and a very unhappy owner.
Having a bunch of loose microwave frequencies running around inside with nowhere to go will end up cooking your appliance from the inside out.
Give your microwave its own outlet socket
The average microwave has a lifespan of about 10 years, but this can be extended by preventing circuit overload. Because of this, we recommend not using a wall adapter with multiple plugs and letting your microwave share an outlet with other appliances.
By doing so, the microwave can be used without being affected by any other items plugged into the same circuit.
To prevent overloading an outlet, you should give your microwave a dedicated outlet.
Avoid cooking foods that produce a lot of steam
Certain foods should be avoided because they produce a lot of steam when microwaved, which will damage the inside of your microwave.
What’s the first component to go bad?
One of the first components that go bad in a microwave is probably going to be the magnetron. The magnetron is one of the most important components in a microwave.
You could very well call it the heart of the entire microwave. It’s the part that basically cooks your food when it’s inside the microwave. A microwave simply will not work without it.
The less critical things that could fail in your microwave could be the light bulb, the ventilation fan, or even the turntable.
One could argue that if the turntable fails, you could still use your microwave. To avoid burning and hot spots, you just have to keep turning or mixing your food by hand every few seconds.
These issues also occur quite often and can sometimes be the first component to go.
It ultimately depends on how you use your microwave. If you maintain it well and keep it clean, then chances are you’ll have your microwave last for a long time.
How long does a microwave magnetron last?
A magnetron can last anywhere from 1500 to 2000 hours of usage.
With magnetrons, we have to take into account how long they are actually actively being used.
Somewhat similar to the mileage on your car.
However, if you wanted to translate these amount of hours into longevity, in the average household magnetron should last about 6 to 7 years.
When to replace your microwave
Some microwaves may have a lifespan of five years, while others could last for up to nine.
It’s important that you know when your microwave is nearing the end of its life so you can make the best decision on when it needs replacing. One way to tell is by checking the door gasket.
If it has any holes or tears in it, then this is a sign that your microwave is too old and should be replaced. If you notice any excess steam coming from underneath the glass plate while cooking food, this may also be an indication that your microwave is nearing the end of its life.
Luckily, microwaves are relatively cheap today at under $300, compared to $5,000 when they first came out.
When to repair your microwave
There are a few ways to know when your microwave needs to be repaired.
- One is the smell of burning rubber. This often happens when food spills and starts a fire in the microwave.
- Another way is a lot of smoke coming out of the vents and smells like something is burning inside.
- The third way is if you hear popping sounds or see sparks coming out of the vents while it’s running.
If you notice any one of these signs, turn off your microwave and call an electrician as soon as possible. The microwave was invented in 1940, less than 100 years ago, so there is still room for continuous improvement.
Is using an old microwave dangerous?
As we all know, microwaves heat food by emitting electromagnetic radiation. This radiation is non-ionizing, which means it doesn’t have the same harmful effects as other forms of radiation, such as X-rays.
However, this doesn’t mean that microwaves are completely safe.
Microwaves are electronic devices, and you should always use caution when handling them.
And like all electronic devices, as they age, they become faulty, stop working, and can pose a risk to your health.
If the window screen on your microwave is damaged, it could allow harmful radiation to leak out.
If the walls inside your microwave have metal exposed, it could cause sparks and even a fire.
If the turntable isn’t working properly, your food could end up getting scalding hot spots.
If you’re concerned about using an old microwave, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risks.
First, make sure that the window screen is intact and in good condition.
Second, watch for signs that your microwave is having problems, such as sparks or strange noises.
If you notice anything unusual, stop using the microwave and contact a qualified repair person.
How to dispose of an old microwave safely and responsibly
Many people don’t know how to properly dispose of an old microwave. Some local recycling centers will accept microwaves and recycle them. Just make sure you call them to ask before making the trip there.
If your microwave is still working, donating your microwave to a charity or thrift store is another option.
You can also contact the manufacturer of your microwave to find out how to dispose of it properly.
Depending on the type, there are many ways to get rid of an old appliance.
When is the best time to buy microwave ovens?
The best time to actually buy a new microwave is during certain types of holidays.
Luckily for us, in the US, there’s almost a holiday every single month.
There are also certain other days that are labeled total sales days where the prices of appliances and electronics are slashed to make way for new models.
- July 4th for Independence Day
- The first Monday of September for Labor Day
- November 11th for Veterans Day
- November 25th for Black Friday
You can also look into companies that regularly update their models. Whenever a new model comes out, chances are the old models are on sale.
Unfortunately, every day has its own release date. I’ve found that the best way to follow their updates is to drive to their social media or Twitter.
Other interesting articles: