Almost every modern household owns a microwave because it is a convenient appliance that helps people heat previously stored food. They are handy for a number of dishes and are highly practical but they can also come with their downfalls. One of these is leaking water.
Microwaves often leak water due to the amount of water evaporating from the food which can then turn back into a liquid and then appears to leak from the microwave. You can prevent this by using paper towels or lids on foods that cause a lot of steam.
In this article, I am going to talk about what causes a microwave to leak and how to prevent it.
Should My Microwave Leak Water?
If you find out your microwave is leaking water, do not be alarmed. The probability that your microwave will leak water is high, especially when microwaving a food item with high moisture content.
Finding excess water in your microwave, especially when the room temperature is low, should be no cause for concern.
During the heating process, steam forms and may start to drip down the oven door. This is not strange and should not affect the microwave’s performance. When you have finished using the microwave, clean up the condensed water with a soft sponge or cloth.
Microwaves work by heating the water molecules, which eventually creates steam. This condenses on the inside surfaces of the microwave, which are still cold.
Why Is My Microwave Leaking Water?
The main reasons why microwaves leak water are condensation and improper maintenance.
Condensation is a process where water vapour becomes liquid. Liquid can condense inside a microwave oven when you heat food that has high moisture content. This condensation is normal, and can even make a puddle inside your microwave if you cook the food for a long time.
Let any condensed water in the appliance cool before wiping it up with a cloth or paper towel because it can get hot and burn human skin upon contact. Condensed water can also coat the outside of the microwave. It forms when you boil water or heat food with a high moisture content on a stove below the microwave.
Although normal, it can pose a problem if the water gets in between the layers of glass on the microwave door.
Solve this issue by leaving the microwave door open for several minutes until the water evaporates completely.
Microwaves, like every other appliance, are to be regularly maintained to be in tip-top shape. Food items that spill inside the microwave chamber have to be cleaned up as soon as possible to avoid decay.
The microorganisms that feed on leftover food items can decay the interior of the microwave and cause it to leak. To avoid this issue, have a rag or paper towel handy to clean up all food spills quickly before they stick to the appliance.
What to Do If Your Microwave Is Leaking Water?
If your microwave is leaking water, it is not strange or dangerous but these are what you need to do.
Wipe water off the microwave often
Make it a habit to regularly wipe off all traces of condensed water in and around the microwave with a napkin and you are good to go. Try to avoid condensation in the first place by covering food containers when heating them in the appliance.
Also, cover pots and pans when boiling water, cooking vegetables or preparing other meals that have a lot of water in them. This is especially useful for microwaves because the condensation can run down the microwave walls and cause water marks or food stains on the microwave walls.
In the event of any other kind of leak, here are three ways to discover them.
- Find a light bulb that reacts to microwaves like a straight fluorescent light bulb (not a compact one), a neon “NE-2” bulb from an electronics store, powered and hooked up to a voltage divider so it is just barely glowing.
After that, darken the room or if you are using a light bulb, dim the lights so you’ll be able to see the bulb glow. You can skip this step if you are using a microwave tester.
The next step is to put a glass of water in the microwave. Using a glass of water reduces the level of unused magneton which heats the food. Running an empty microwave exposes the magnetron (the part that creates the microwaves) to high power levels, which can damage or destroy it. A small glass of water (roughly 275 mL / a little over 1 cup) will reduce this risk while leaking plenty of absorbed magnetons to test with.
Turn on the microwave and set it to run for one minute. Move the object slowly around the microwave. Hold the light bulb or tester at least 5 cm (2 inches) away from the surface of the microwave, including the handle. Move the object slowly (about 2.5 cm/1 inch per minute) around the door seal and any areas that look damaged.
If your microwave leaks, the fluorescent tube will glow, or the neon bulb will become noticeably brighter. Electronic testers react in different ways, so check the manual.
If the tester displays a measurement, anything about 5 mW/cm2 at a distance of 5 cm (2 inches) is cause for concern.
All of these methods are just quick tests, even the consumer-grade tester. These results do not necessarily mean your microwave is dangerous. Cheap, consumer-grade microwave testers are often inaccurate but fine as a first test. A professional-grade microwave tester can cost so much that can be used in a professional setting.
Check the seals around the door of the microwave. Microwave leaks are often the result of worn or broken elements on the microwave oven’s door. If you have detected a leak, look for these common causes:
- Cracks on the hinges.
- Worn areas or cracks on the seal.
- Dents or breaks in the door itself.
- Broken door hinges or door that fails to close firmly.
- Damage to the metal mesh of the door (especially holes wider than 4.7 in / 12 cm).
- Broken door latch that does not immediately turn off the oven when you open the door.
Using your phone: This is a simple DIY test to check whether your microwave is leakage-free or not. All you need to do is to switch off and unplug the microwave from the electrical socket. After that, place your mobile phone inside the microwave and shut the door. Using another phone, dial the phone that’s inside the microwave.
If the call does not go through, it means your microwave is safe but if your phone lights up and rings, your microwave is leaking and you need a quick fix immediately.