Kitchen space can often be tight especially if you enjoy cooking and find you have a number of appliances you use often. A way to save space is by placing appliances on other surfaces such as shelves or on top of microwaves. But you might be wondering if that is safe to do.
While kettles are generally safe on top of microwaves, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you’re minimizing risks. Make sure that there is a barrier between your kettle and microwave, and that the weight of your kettle isn’t adversely affecting the casing of your microwave.
There are a few more things to bear in mind, however, so make sure to read on to see how best you can help yourself in your kitchen.
What Are The Risks Of Placing a Kettle On A Microwave?
To really consider how dangerous it can be to have a kettle on or near a given appliance, you need to consider the big three risk factors that kettles have in any environment. These big three are heat, water, and weight.
Kettles are, of course, designed to heat water throughout their body to a uniform temperature. They are designed to do this efficiently, and quickly. This is all well and good, but it does mean that you can guarantee that the contents (and thus the body) of your kettle will be scorching hot.
While the water within a kettle can only get to be roughly a hundred degrees Celsius (as that is the boiling point of water), the metal of your kettle can get hotter than that.
This is because the water inside the kettle is very volatile, and the heating element is designed to achieve heat a little greater than one hundred Celcius – this is done to heat water more rapidly.
Therefore, the heat of your kettle is a force to be reckoned with.
The secondary risk factor that you need to consider when placing a kettle on anything is the water that the kettle will be filled with. Water can do a surprising amount of damage – as anyone who’s had a burst pipe will tell you.
Water being on top of or adjacent to a given appliance poses two problems – mold and short circuits. A short circuit happens when water gets into the circuit of an appliance, and leads to the trip switch in your home activating – thereby turning off the power for your kitchen or even your whole home.
This isn’t too dangerous in a modern home, but it is still worth being wary of. It isn’t unheard of for homes that have experienced a short circuit to also experience a power surge that damaged appliances – that’s something to avoid.
Mold is something that will slowly damage appliances, though it will deal more damage to counters and cupboards than appliances themselves. Slowly, it will create a damp environment that needs to be addressed – often through removing and replacing affected wood. This can be costly and time-consuming, so, naturally, it should be avoided.
The third and final risk factor to consider is the weight of your kettle, especially when it is filled with water. Water is deceptively heavy – a cubic meter of water weighs a ton, literally! This weight can cause shelves and appliances to sag or otherwise be damaged by the pressure exerted upon them.
If your microwave is particularly lightweight, then this could be of particular importance to you. The reason that microwaves are safe to use is that the outer casing of a microwave has shielding which protects you and anyone nearby from being exposed to microwave radiation.
If the outer casing of the microwave has a gap in it, then that is a gap through which microwave radiation could escape. While this is not a pressing concern as most modern microwaves are designed with failsafe shielding, it is a problem to bear in mind.
If you are near a microwave with an old, warped, or otherwise damaged casing, you may be exposed to radiation while it’s active.
How Can You Be Safe When Placing A Kettle On Your Microwave?
Well, as we discussed above, there are three main risk factors to bear in mind: heat, water, and weight. We’re going to break down a few good ways to address them all in your home.
Firstly, let’s talk about the heat. In the body of a kettle, the walls will get the hottest out of everything. This is because they are directly in contact with hot water, while the base of the kettle is more insulated.
This means that, overall, while the base of the kettle is where the element is housed, it is much less likely to get hot.
Therefore, the part of the kettle to be most concerned about (with regards to heat) is the external sidewalls. The two ways to combat heat damage are both very easy.
Firstly, you can simply move the kettle away from anything prone to heat damage. These could be things liable to melt (such as chocolate) or things liable to scorch (such as a wallpaper or a painting).
Secondly, you could wrap the kettle in something which will help to insulate it from its surroundings. A great option is something that is both insulating and fairly breathable, like a tea towel.
This can be used to insulate the sidewalls and be draped over the top to prevent steam from coming directly in contact with anything above the kettle. Then, simply hang the tea towel up to dry, and you can use it again next time.
Next, we come to the water from the kettle. Amazingly, a tea towel is your best defense here too! Simply place a tea towel under the kettle, any stray drips will get caught and absorbed by the fabric. This is also a good chance to accessorize in your kitchen – there are plenty of aesthetically pleasing options available to use in your home.
All you really need to bear in mind here is to replace the tea towel every few days, it will mean that you can watch out for any mold growth while also cleaning the towel that you aren’t using – making sure that your kitchen is clean and tidy.
Finally, we come to the inherent weight of a kettle filled with water. Frustratingly, there’s no way to resolve this problem other than to physically move the kettle off the microwave.
This will mean that the weight is distributed over another surface, allowing you to make sure that your microwave will be safe when in use.
The only other option would be to install a shelf above your microwave, which your kettle could sit on. This is a good option, as you can ensure that the shelf will hold the weight of a full kettle easily. However, it may also be a poor option due to the fact that you’ll have to spend money on materials and tools, when you could simply move your kettle instead.