I've been in the repair industry for nearly 7 years and find that a couple of simple tips will help keep your microwave running without cooking your hip pocket!
- Many people use their microwaves to heat Wheat Bags/Lavender Bags or to warm plates. This is likely to kill the Magnetron, which is the component that creates the microwaves. Microwaves work by heating water molecules in whatever your cooking, the molecules starting moving causing heat thus heating the food. Wheat bags are not food. Nor are lavender packs, dinner plates or underwear. The magnetron will dry out and the magnet will fail, causing a costly repair/replacement. If you have to do it, invest is a small, microwave safe, plastic jug, fill it partically with water, and put it in the microwave at the same time. The wheat bag etc will warm but you have a better chance of prolonging the life of your microwave
- Putting metal in a microwave is a no-no. Let me give the example of my 7 year old, who was reheating croissants on the aluminium tray in our microwave last week. The tray touched the side of the microwave, which caused sparking, flames and damage to the enamel in the microwave. Sure, we took it to work and fixed it same day, so no problem for me. Best to avoid this problem. I've seen it written that some metals are OK to put in, I'd avoid altogether.
- If you have your microwave in a cavity in your kitchen cupboards, make sure that there is plenty of ventilation around. The microwave needs to breathe. If in doubt, measure the cavity, note the model of the Microwave, and check with the manufacturers Customer Service or call your local Microwave repairer.
- Keep the microwave clean. This isn't just safety, it's also hygiene. Food crumbs attract vermin, cockroaches love the warmth of electronic components and can cause damage. Also, food will get baked on. If you have a water spill, let it cool before you clean it up. A hot glass plate is hard to hold and easily dropped.
- Don't slam the door. You can damage the door switches. These switches, if faulty, may cause the microwave to operate when it shouldn't. Also check the cavity for rust. Rust damage may be dangerous and should be checked.
- In nearly 7 years I think I've come across only 1 microwave which had a leakage problem. If you're concerned about how it's operating, safety first. Many repairers will do a "Leak and Efficiency" test for you for minimal charge.
- That "cardboard" on the inside of your microwave is the wave guide cover. It protects the magnetron, and is where the microwaves enter the unit. If damaged, get it replaced. If it's not intact do not use the microwave, and get it checked out.
Hope this guide helps you keep your microwave running safely for many years to come.