Many of us benefit from the ease of using a microwave. You pop it in, you wait a bit, then its at the right temperature and you are happy. Microwaves have been round since the 60s, so although they are still new, most of us just see them as ‘part of the furniture’. Although it must be said, many supermarkets sell what they call ‘microwavable food’. Which is generally described as food that you can put straight in the microwave then eat. This food is often unhealthy due to its number of chemicals, however this is not what we will focus on in this article. In this article we begin by describing what goes on inside a microwave. We then give clear instructions for how you can use your microwave as safely as possible.
How does a microwave work?
Microwaves contain an electron tube, which is generally referred to as a magnetron. This Magnetron produces electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength a little bit shorter than a normal radio wave. These waves are non-ionising, which means that instead of directly breaking up food that they come in contact with, they pass radiation through it. This radiation causes the food to vibrate which then produceses heat. This is the reason why food with a high water concentration heats up faster. This definition was taken from Electrical Safety First.
Are the microwaves dangerous?
We’ve been using microwaves in our home since the 50s. Although there have been no conclusive evidence that microwaves can be dangerous, we still recommend not to stand near a microwave when it is on. There will always be a small amount of radiation leakage, and although this may not be detrimental, it can be avoided by not standing close to the microwave.
So now you know a bit about how a microwave works lets explore some safety tips for use of microwaves on a daily basis.
Safety tips for when using your microwave
Keep the vents open
As with many electrical appliances the vents on the microwave are there for a reason. As by definition a microwave deals with heat, hence the vents allow the microwave to keep cool. It is important to keep the vents clear, as a blocked or partially blocked vent can cause the microwave to malfunction. This could even result in a fire.
Have you fitted a smoke alarm?
Today microwaves are generally safe, but there is always a small chance that someone may forget to put the right thing in the microwave, or someone may leave a microwave running for too long. There is always a small risk of fire so a smoke alarm or smoke detector is important.
Clean your microwave
Build up of grease and food can actually be flammable in the long run. So keep your microwave clean. We recommend that you clean your microwave at least once per week.
Maintain your microwave
When you buy your microwave check the manufacturers instructions. It should specify how often you should get your microwave checked by a professional. Don’t leave it too late.
Never use an extension cable with your microwave
Never use an extension lead with a microwave. A microwave needs its own power source and using an extension will increase the possibility of overloading the extension lead, which will in turn cause a fire.
So in conclusion although microwaves are very useful it is important to be careful when using them. Follow our safety tips and if you have any questions please feel free to call us.