Microwaves are electrical appliances we use daily. Therefore, we sometimes leave it on so we can easily use it for whatever purpose we require.
However, you may ask, is it safe to leave it on like that even at night when we sleep, or is it better to turn it off for safety and bill reduction?
Yes, you should turn off your microwave at night, as it is more energy efficient. Although your microwave drains a little power while off, turning it off still saves you some money. However, leaving it on won’t damage your microwave; it will only consume more power when on, racking up your electrical bills.
In this article, I’ll explain why you should turn off your microwave at night. I’ll then further explain if you can leave it running and how long you can leave it running continuously.
Should I Put off My Microwave at Night?
The answer to this question depends on you. If you’re big on saving money, you should put off your microwave overnight.
You might be unable to monitor what’s happening because it’s night, and you won’t use it at night.
Although merely putting it on standby mode won’t stop your microwave from consuming power, it will only reduce it.
The time your microwave uses on standby during the night will be more than the time spent heating food.
Which equals more electricity bills on standby, and only unplugging your microwave can stop your microwave from consuming power.
However, unplugging it has its downsides, as you might need to set the clock again. But if you only put it off, you don’t have to deal with this issue.
Turning off your microwave at night is good because you are not using it then, and it doesn’t have to be on standby mode.
Leaving your microwave off at night also has other benefits apart from being energy efficient and saving on electricity bills.
Turning it off at night can also help prolong your microwave’s lifespan.
That’s because the off switch will protect your microwave from damage if there’s a power surge while you sleep.
Besides the possible power surge, there’s nothing wrong with leaving your microwave on at night.
Leaving your microwave on wouldn’t damage it; the only thing is that it will consume more electricity than when it is off.
So, if you’re mindful of bills, turn your microwave off before sleeping. You can unplug it from the power source to avoid resetting the timer in the morning.
What Happens If You Leave a Microwave Running?
If you leave your microwave running, you may likely damage the microwave. A microwave is not supposed to be running without anything in it.
Simply put, a microwave uses the water in the food you place inside to cook it. But, if you do not place anything in the microwave, the microwave is running empty.
When that happens, the magnetron in it is running, and there’s no food to heat up. So the energy released has to find a way out and go back into your microwave.
When this happens, a component like a magnetron gets damaged in the microwave. It then loses its heat production ability.
This occurrence makes your microwave useless because what’s a microwave without heat?
If it stops working, it isn’t something you can fix yourself. Instead, you will need the help of a technician.
You will need to replace your microwave or repair the damaged magnetron, which will cost you the money you didn’t budget for.
Choosing between a repair or replacement depends on how old your microwave is before this happens.
For example, if it’s an old microwave, say 7-10 years, you’ll need a new one because it’s almost at the end of its life expectancy. But a new one can get away with a repair.
If you run it empty for a short time, your microwave might escape damage.
If your microwave works after this continuous running, you can use it but be careful not to leave it running without anything again.
Likewise, if there’s food in the microwave and you leave it running for a long time, it can also damage the microwave.
That’s because while heating the food, the microwave absorbs the water. So after continuous running, the water dries up, and the microwave and the food will get spoiled.
The food will overheat and burn, and the microwave will keep running and absorb the magnetron. That can damage the microwave and also result in a fire outbreak.
How Long Can You Run a Microwave Continuously?
How long you can run your microwave depends on the brand and design of your microwave.
However, most microwave designs can cook food for an hour, but you shouldn’t.
So, running it continuously under that hour is fine. Although doing this can damage the lifespan of the microwave.
How long you can run your microwave depends on its capacity. It varies for different microwaves.
For instance, you can run your microwave continuously for 10 minutes without any problem, while another model might be for 2-3 minutes.
The difference between both models is their design. Your microwave is probably more expensive than the other model, so it has better insulation and doesn’t require much power.
Microwaves shut down automatically once the food cooks. How long you can run it till the food cooks depends on the microwave capacity, the size of the food, and how frozen it is.
You can keep cooking your food continuously in your microwave till it cooks. However, it would be best if you did not let it exceed 30 minutes so you don’t damage the microwave.
Also, while running it continuously, remember to take a break so you don’t strain the microwave and damage its magnetron.
You should know that continuous running of your microwave can’t cause more harm to it than if you use it once in a while.
The only thing that the continuous running of your microwave does is that it makes your microwave hot to the touch and consumes more electricity.
So, continuous running of your microwave racks up your electricity bill. You can also damage your microwave when continuously running it without a break for over 30 minutes.
Is It Advisable to Leave a Microwave on Standby?
It depends on you. To reduce phantom load costs, you shouldn’t leave your microwave on standby but unplug it.
However, unplugging it will reduce what draws power, like the digital display and the control panel you use to control your microwave.
The table below shows the pros and cons of leaving your microwave in standby mode.
|You don’t need to set your clock every time you plug it in.||It isn’t energy-efficient.|
|Your microwave is always active; you only need to time it to use it.||You spend more money on electricity when in standby mode.|
|A power surge can damage your microwave if it is old and on standby.|
So, if you want to save up, I advise you not to leave it in standby mode. According to Simplyenergy, leaving your microwave on standby mode costs you $6.28 yearly.
Although this might not look like a large sum when you add it to other appliances on standby, it amounts to a large amount. That’s because you are paying bills for the power you didn’t use.
Your microwave might be unable to always be on standby mode as it ages, as doing this can be dangerous to the appliance.
That’s because as it ages, it has less capacity than a new one. So if the power is unstable and your microwave is on standby, it can result in a short circuit.
Therefore, your microwave will be out of commission, and you’ll have to spend money repairing or replacing it depending on its age.
Sometimes, it isn’t worth repairing as it’s near the end of its life expectancy, and you will eventually need to buy a new one. So, you spend money you did not budget for.
To avoid these issues, do not put your microwave in standby mode. However, you can leave it on standby if you are okay with it or don’t want to keep unplugging it when not in use.
Your microwave on standby won’t affect anything; it only consumes a little more power.
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