Should I Unplug My Microwave When Not in Use? (Explained)

Almost every home has a microwave, and with that comes the responsibility of taking proper care of it.

A microwave has always been an important kitchen appliance for heating meals on time with little to no stress.

It is common to turn off your microwave’s timer without turning off the switch or going the extra mile to unplug it.

We’ve got all the right answers if you’re wondering whether to go the extra mile to unplug your microwave.

Unplug your microwave when it’s not in use. When you leave the microwave plugged in while it isn’t in use, electricity is actively being consumed by the digital clock. The microwave oven is on standby while the timer isn’t set. However, as long as it is plugged in, it consumes energy.

In this article, I will explain how a microwave consumes electricity while not in use. This article also points out the difference between switching off a microwave and unplugging it. 

By the end, you will make a more informed decision on whether to unplug your microwave after use or leave it plugged in.

Should I Disconnect My Microwave’s Power When Not in Use?

Should I Unplug my Microwave When Not in Use

It’s a regular practice to leave your microwave plugged in after turning off the timer or when not in use.

However, since your microwave is still connected to your power source, it still consumes power.

While this does not threaten you or your home, unplugging your microwave saves power when it’s not in use.

The amount of power a microwave uses when it’s on standby might be insignificant to some people.

However, disconnecting your microwave from the power source after use still saves a relative amount of electricity.

If you’re still having second thoughts, below are the reasons you should unplug your microwave when not in use; 

It Helps to Reduce Electricity Costs

The trend of leaving your microwave plugged in when not in use is slowly becoming unpopular, and rightfully so.

When you leave your microwave plugged in after the timer goes off, it consumes electricity, reflecting on your energy bills.

However, it only consumes a little electricity because only the digital clock is powered.

Despite this, as it constantly piles up year after year, it will cost you a significant amount of money. 

You can save energy and money by unplugging your microwave after every use.

It Helps to Reduce the Chances of Electrical Incidents 

Electrical incidents happen when there is a circuit overload or unstable electricity. 

If you make a habit of leaving your microwave and other appliances plugged in when they are not in use, it could cause circuit overload.

Leaving your microwave plugged in after use also risks damaging it when there’s unstable electricity or a power trip.

You are also likely to save members of your home from electrical incidents when they make wet contact with the microwave. 

It Helps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Asides from saving money on energy bills, unplugging your microwave is a step towards reducing your carbon footprint. 

In your little way, you can preserve the planet’s atmosphere by unplugging your microwave (and other appliances) after use. 

You can save energy costs and the planet’s atmosphere by unplugging appliances after use.

It Increases the Life Expectancy of Your Microwave

The danger in leaving your microwave ( or any home appliance) plugged in when not in use is that it shortens its lifespan.

Allowing your microwave to spend more time being unplugged from power increases or preserves its expected lifespan.

However, when you leave an appliance connected to power at all times ( especially when not in use), it wears out the appliance slowly. 

How Much Power Does a Microwave Use When Not in Use? 

A microwave can use up as much as an average of 35 kilowatt-hours in a year while left on standby mode. 

This is a small amount of power to lose in a year, but it is worth saving by unplugging your microwave after use. 

The extra power that a microwave uses is not consumed by the heating oven but by the digital clock.

A microwave left plugged in despite not being used for two weeks consumes as much power as having a hot 40-liter shower at 40°C. 

Another part of the microwave that consumes electricity while it is not in use is the user interface. 

While the microwave is connected to power, the user interface is actively powered because it expects a command input to power the oven.

If you’re an advocate for saving energy to conserve the planet rather than electricity bills, you would understand the need to conserve energy.

Luckily, you can save the planet and reduce your electricity bills by unplugging your microwave when not in use. 

Is Unplugging a Microwave the Same as Switching Off? 

Unplugging a microwave from its power source has the same effect as switching off the socket.

For example, switching off your microwave from the socket on the wall without unplugging it can no longer consume electricity while on standby. 

Unlike appliances like hairdryers, microwaves don’t have transformers that harbor residual power.

Residual power/charge is potentially dangerous in a home when an appliance’s switch is turned off but it is still plugged in.

Microwaves do not have any residual charge due to the absence of transformers, so when you switch them off, they are entirely disconnected from electricity.

However, if you want to be sure that your microwave isn’t consuming power, you can go the extra mile and unplug it. 

What Other Appliances Should You Unplug When Not in Use?

Aside from your microwave, several other appliances in your home should be unplugged while not in use.

These appliances include; laptops, desktops, coffee makers, printers, blenders, chargers, toasters, and lamps.

Turning off the power button of your appliances after use is just as important as ensuring they are turned on before use.

We have established that leaving appliances turned on and plugged in when not in use affects power bills and the planet. 

Therefore any appliance in the home that is left plugged in when not in use is said to consume “ghost load” or standby power

These appliances increase your energy bills monthly significantly as they consume power while not in use. 

Here are a few tips to ensure that you save energy, money, and the planet by unplugging appliances not used at home; 

  • You must ensure you turn off your TV and computers when leaving home.
  • Make a mental note to turn off night lights religiously.
  • You must never forget to turn off all your lights when leaving home.
  • Ensure that your laptop or desktop is unplugged when not in use.
  • Always remember to unplug chargers when not in use.
  • Kitchen appliances, except dishwashers, fridges, and stoves, should be turned off immediately after use.
  • Do not leave your hair dryer or blow dryers plugged in after use.

Below is a table that shows how much standby power is accumulated by some appliances in the home when left plugged in; 

AppliancesWattsKilowatts Per Hour (kWh)Annual Standby Power (kWh)
Desktop computer devices8 Watts5.84 kWh70.8 kWh
Power tool charger 4 Watts2.94 kWh35.04 kWh
DVR37 Watts27.01 kWh324.12 kWh
Modem6 Watts4.38 kWh43.80kWh
LCD TV 3 Watts2.19 kWh26.28 kWh
Audio system 8 Watts5.84 kWh70.08 kWh

Finally, your microwave should be unplugged when not in use for the following reasons; 

  • You can reduce energy bills cost.
  • You can reduce your carbon footprint.
  • You can reduce electrical incidents.

These reasons above apply to all appliances in the home; ensure that they are always switched off or unplugged after use.


What Do You Unplug When Not In Use? 

You should unplug game consoles, TVs, computer devices, lamps, phone chargers, blenders, laptops, toasters, and lights in the home when not in use.

How Much Does it Cost You to Leave Your Microwave Plugged in? 

As your microwave consumes electricity daily while not in use, it is estimated to cost you $13.46 yearly.

Do Appliances Use Electricity When Plugged in But Not in Use? 

Yes, most electrical appliances in the home still consume what is referred to as “standby power” when they are left plugged in.

What Appliances Use the Most Electricity When Left Plugged in? 

The appliances that consume the most electricity when left plugged in are; computers, televisions, stereos, lamps, coffee makers, and microwaves.

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