For modern Colorado Springs kitchens, there are few appliances that compare with an over-the-range microwave oven for convenient heating, defrosting and melting of our favorite foods, all while saving valuable countertop space.
Because installing an over-the-range microwave is labor-intensive and more expensive than countertop models, many Southern Colorado homeowners are searching for ways to keep this vital appliance in tip-top shape. Here are our top tips for maintaining over-the-range microwaves.
Note that while this article specifically addresses over-the-range microwaves, many of these suggestions are applicable to any microwave. So, read on!
Maintaining Your Over-The-Range Microwave
Clean Spills Right Away
Whether it is bubbling pasta sauce or overflowing oatmeal, microwaves get their fair share of drips, spills, and splatters. Do yourself and your microwave a favor and wipe up the mess right after removing the offending dish.
Even if you do not see anything to clean, scrubbing it out once a week with soapy water will go a long way in preventing a lot of problems. The build-up of food particles, grease and grime can cause malfunctions and even fires!
And, that polka-dot pattern on the door actually serves a purpose. This film prevents interference from the metal screen in the door itself. Keeping the door clean from caked-on food and grease prevents this necessary film from wearing down and sparking while cooking.
Keep The Turntable Turning
Most modern microwave ovens have a glass turntable that rotates the dish to ensure even heating. Ensure that the turntable is on the guides correctly and that the guides aren’t bent or brushing up against the edges. Sometimes food particles can get stuck in there and cause the turntable to malfunction.
Close The Door Gently
Do you hear that click as you shut the door to your microwave? That is the sound of several plastic latches locking in place. Slamming the door on your over-the-range microwave causes unnecessary wear and tear on these hinges, and may keep the latch from lining up correctly and securing the door during operation.
Use The Preset Cooking Times
Instead of just guessing how much time it will take to defrost your chicken, use the microwave presets. These presets are determined by the manufacturer as the best cooking, defrosting and melting times for the size and voltage of your particular microwave. Trust the technology to do its job. Your food will come out better, and you will reduce energy consumption.
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Never Run The Microwave While Empty
This appliance maintenance tip has to do with how the microwave functions. An empty microwave provides nothing for the waves to cook. As a result, the waves will bounce around with nothing to absorb them. While this may not damage the components immediately, an extended period of running on empty can damage the magnetron and other components, and cause burn marks in the interior.
If you see evidence of burn marks in your over-the-range microwave, don’t take any chances. Discontinue use and call an experienced microwave appliance repair company to schedule a diagnostic appointment.
Don’t Use Aluminum Foil Or Other Metals
While this might be common knowledge, it's important to reiterate that aluminum foil, metal utensils, or even a small piece of steel wool leftover from cleaning an especially big mess, can damage your microwave. Using metal in a microwave can result in damage to the magnetron and other components, and can even cause a hole to be burnt into the cavity wall.
Not only do you risk damaging your over-the-range microwave, but you also create an easily avoidable fire hazard.
If you see sparking or hear a popping sound not coming from a bag of popcorn, turn the microwave off immediately, unplug, and ensure that there is no metal on the inside of the unit.
Turn On The Exhaust Fan
While the above tips are applicable to all microwave oven models, the next two are specifically related to over-the-range microwaves. The first is to ensure you are using the range’s exhaust fan. You may not realize it, but the moisture and heat from cooking on your stove-top can damage your over-the-range microwave if you do not have the built-in exhaust fan turned on and clean. This moisture and heat can impact the electronic components of your microwave and cause it to fail sooner than later.
Clean The Grease Filter On Your Range
The grease filter is another range feature that resides directly under your over-the-range microwave. The filter collects grease that, if left unchecked, can cause your microwave oven to not function properly and cause a fire hazard. The grease filter is usually easy (although messy) to remove, and can be cleaned in the sink with dish soap and water.
Know When To Call In The Pros
When the above tips for maintenance of your over-the-range microwave oven are not enough, don’t immediately assume that you will need to spend money on an expensive replacement appliance and installation costs. At Reliable Appliance, we have been repairing and maintaining microwaves and other household appliances since 1999. We welcome the opportunity to live up to our name and reputation by providing the best, most reliable appliance repair services on the Front Range. Call us today to schedule your free diagnostic appointment.