Should I dispose of my microwave?
April 4, 2014 11:39 AM   Subscribe

It burned ramen (and the cover inside the microwave), damaged both the plastic cooker and cover, and smells smoky.

(Stop judging me on the ramen, IT'S A COMFORT FOOD, DAMMIT.) I've microwaved ramen using this plenty of times before, but this time the ramen burned and the plastic was distorted/melted. No actual fire/flames occurred, just smoke and slight melting of the plastic and the splatter cover occurred and I ended up throwing both of those out.

Everyone I've asked IRL is all, "I have no idea, microwave something else and see what happens," but it took long enough for my place to stop reeking of smoke and I am afraid to try it again. Tomorrow is Free Microwave Disposal At The Dump Day (or something like that, I forget what the flyer said), so I have to decide ASAP if this needs disposing of.

After checking the previous questions: no visible scorch mark is on the microwave, but it still smells a bit smoky if you open the door, so I'm not sure if the "microwave some water and see" trick is gonna work. Microwave is god only knows how old by now, but probably old enough to get rid of. It does have a rotating platter.
posted by jenfullmoon to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Do you like this microwave otherwise? Would getting a new microwave be a financial burden for you? Or would you secretly be happy to have an excuse to upgrade to a new one?

I don't know at all if this microwave is fine or not, but if it's old anyway and not terribly hard for you to replace, maybe it's just time.
posted by brainmouse at 11:44 AM on April 4, 2014

A typical life span of a microwave is ten years. If yours is older than that, get a new one on GP. They're cheap enough.

If it's younger than that, I'm thinking it's fine, it's just that the plastic that failed.

So 10+ years old, get new one. Less than that, test it by boiling a mug of water. If it takes longer than 2 minutes, replace. If it works fine, keep.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:46 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not totally clear from your question - did it burn because you accidentally left it in too long or were the timer settings the same as usual but it unexpectedly burned? If the former I'd say just clean it and it'll be fine. If the latter I'd ditch it, new microwaves are more energy efficient anyway.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:55 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Settings were the same as ever, it just burned unexpectedly.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:48 PM on April 4, 2014

Can you take it outside, use a long extension cord, and test where it won't smoke up the house?
posted by theora55 at 1:05 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The melting is a bad sign; that means a lot more energy was going in than usual. I would toss it.
posted by Standard Orange at 1:17 PM on April 4, 2014

I think I may have had something like this happen before, although it was so long ago I can't be sure I didn't dream it. My idea was to put a microwave-safe glass bowl filled with water and let it run until the water started boiling. The thinking being that the steam would exit the machine along the same route that was currently filled with stinky smoke smell, perhaps cleaning it a bit on it's way out. Sadly, I forget if this worked or not.
posted by blueberry at 1:25 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had a similar thing happen with my families microwave when i was younger. It was fairly new, so the company said to take it to a local service depot and let them check it out. They said it was fine, so we kept using it for a few years.

literally, 5 years later it STILL stunk when you opened it and would still make the kitchen stink a bit if run for more than 30 seconds or so. It never, ever went away. Eventually we gave it away to someone.

Even ignoring the issue of there potentially being something goofy going on with the magnetron, i would bet cash money it will never stop stinking. And seeing as how since i moved out before college i've always paid somewhere between $0 and $5 for a microwave, i would never put up with that.
posted by emptythought at 3:38 PM on April 4, 2014

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