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Microwave oven safe after 10 years?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Guest

    My microwave oven is almost 10 years old. I didn't notice a change in
    the way it works, but I am still concerned whether there is a
    "radiation leak" after so many years in operation. Any expert advice
    will be appreciated.

  2. Dave D

    Dave D Guest

    I wouldn't worry about it. Even a microwave oven with a damaged seal is
    unlikely to cause health problems. Don't fall into the trap of believing
    urban myths about 'radiation', which people associate with radioactive
    particles and mutation :) There's no link that I'm aware of with microwave
    ovens and cancers etc.

    Microwave oven energy is just a very strong radio wave. It could in theory
    cause health problems and cataracts, but I've yet to hear of a single case
    of serious health problems from consumer microwave oven 'leaks'. If you
    aren't confident, take it to someone who can test it for leaks or look out
    for a microwave oven leakage tester, I know Radio Shack/Tandy used to sell
    them years ago before they realised they were pointless. However, I really
    wouldn't worry about it. The fact is that the microwave oven is mature
    technology, is considered a very safe appliance and microwave oven leakage
    detectors never took off because worries about leakage hazards are largely
    scaremongering and urban myth.

    Incidentally, probably the worst thing that would happen if your microwave
    oven leaked would be interference on nearby radios, TVs and cordless phones!

  3. Dave D

    Dave D Guest

    Take a look here, it should answer your question.
  4. Hi!
    There's nothing to be concerned about unless the oven has been physically
    damaged (e.g. "dropped") in that time. Microwave ovens are very reliable and
    age generally does not affect their safety. (Unless of course the oven has
    been abused over time.)

  5. Asimov

    Asimov Guest

    "Dave D" bravely wrote to "All" (06 Feb 06 16:51:19)
    --- on the heady topic of "Re: Microwave oven safe after 10 years?"

    DD> From: "Dave D" <[email protected]>
    DD> Xref: core-easynews

    DD> I wouldn't worry about it. Even a microwave oven with a damaged seal
    DD> is unlikely to cause health problems.

    Microwaves are good for us! We even get them for free from space!

    Okay, unlikely to cause a health problem in the immediate but what
    about 10 years on? So if it doesn't hurt you today should we then
    consider it 100% safe? How are you going to link a cancer with that
    early exposure you forgot all about? No way, right?!


    .... High Voltage Electronics: Life's a glitch, then you fry.
  6. Andy Cuffe

    Andy Cuffe Guest

    The only thing likely to cause leaks would be if the door isn't
    closing properly. This isn't likely to be a problem unless it has
    been dropped, or improperly repaired.

    My microwave is 29 years old!
    Andy Cuffe

  7. Puckdropper

    Puckdropper Guest

    I think there's an inverse relationship between age and reliability of
    mircowaves. The older the microwave, the more likely it is to still


    Old computers are getting to be a lost art. Here at Uncreative Labs, we
    still enjoy using the old computers. Sometimes we want to see how far a
    particular system can go, other times we use a stock system to remind
    ourselves of what we once had.

    To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at)
  8. Dave D

    Dave D Guest

    My point is that scientists seem happy that microwave ovens do not pose a
    health risk, and there are no recorded cases that I'm aware of where
    microwave oven radiation has been demonstrated to have caused direct injury
    or cancers to the operator. tests have been done on animals with MW
    radiation, and no link has yet been established with cancer.

    We either accept that, or we don't. The person more inclined to take the
    latter stance is going to end up doing a lot of unnecessary worrying. A
    small nick in a door seal is not likely IMO to release sufficient radiation
    to cause problems, especially taking into account the inverse square law. If
    a damaged seal really was a major health risk then I think there'd be a lot
    of publicity featuring dire public warnings to check the seal integrity
    every so often, and an abundance of cheap detectors, or perhaps even
    detectors bundled free with the ovens.

    The fact is, no-one is getting their knickers in a twist about microwave
    oven radiation. Maybe in 20 years time a link will be proved with cancers
    and there'll be a huge overhaul in MW oven safety, but until then, I
    personally am content that they are safe.

  9. Hi!
    You might be right! I've got a 1985 model Kenmore (made by Sanyo) in the
    kitchen that still works like new. The only thing I've ever had to replace
    is the light bulb...not because it burned out, but because the glue holding
    it into the socket came undone and then the little wires linking base and
    socket broke.

    Down in the basement I've got a 1986 model GE oven that was collected for
    free because its owner complained of "slow heating". Cleaning the dust out
    of the air inlet seemed the magnetron was overheating and
    cutting out. I also put a light bulb in this one. It still works like a

    My grandmother has a "downright classic" Litton-made oven that seemingly
    predates digital timers. It has only ever required a few lamps and periodic
    lubrication of the fan motor.

    Meanwhile I've got at least two Sharp ovens...both maybe 3 years old. One is
    dead to the world (haven't looked at it yet, but it is probably something
    simple) and the other will not acknowledge its START button. (Instant cook
    modes will start and run for however long is specified, but nothing (not
    even jumpering the contacts on the circuit board that represent the start
    button) will make it start when START is 'pressed'. I suppose this may be
    more difficult to work out and I'm not sure it is worth it.
    I don't subscribe to S.E.R on the majority of my IBM PS/2 systems, but I
    have a great number of them still out and running today. For a while I had a
    PS/2 Model 65SX running as a web server!

  10. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    My family had one of those growing up, it was huge! If I remember right
    it was 1200W and could nuke a hotdog in under 10 seconds. It never did
    fail, but by the time it was around 15 years old it was getting a bit
    cosmetically tattered and it was given away after a kitchen remodel.

    I actually wouldn't mind having an old Amana Radarrange, those are cool,
    my aunt has one of the very first sold with a digital timer, it has a
    stainless cavity.
  11. Guest

    As long as it wasn't dropped, smashed, sawed, or drilled and the door
    interlock is working properly (that is, oven doesn't run when door open
    even slightly), it's safe because the door uses a choke seal, which is
    very tolerant of misalignment, gaps, and even dirt. Amana once
    demonstrated just how tolerant in a commercial where they hit the door
    with a shot put on a pendulum and then chopped into the door opening
    with an axe, and the leakage remained below federal limits. It's much
    older microwave ovens, made before about 1975, that can become
    hazardous with age because many have door seals made of metal braid or
    metal fins that can deteriorate badly with use.
  12. My parents have an old Litton from '79 or '80, I think. It has a glass
    panel touchpad, a wire tray so you could have 2 levels, and a
    temperature sensor. The power transformer was replaced when relatively
    new, and I've replaced one of the door interlock switches a few times
    (they gum up), but as far as I know, it's still working.
  13. AZ Nomad

    AZ Nomad Guest

    Hell with that, I used to have one with the mechanical timer that I bought
    used around '85. Instead of having to press 7-10 button to turn it on,
    you'd just give the knob a quick twist, each twist being good for about 3-4
    minuts on the dial. A separate wheel bumped the time by increments of 10
    minutes. The variable power setting was handled by a separate knob and could
    be adjusted at any time.

    That microwave got retired after having put into storage without being
    cleaned first. When it was taken out of storage, the food grime had
    turned into a frightening new life form growing all over the interior walls.
  14. John

    John Guest

    I placed a fruit fly inside a glass container in a 700W M/W oven
    After 1 minute the insect was still a live
    After 2 minutes it had lost 1 wing
    After 3 minutes was death.

    What does this prove?
    A cooked insect can't fly ?

    Some people believe that small objects are not affected by the waves
    if they are small relative to the wave length. You probably need more
    that a quarter of the wave in order to create standing waves or
    something like that.
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