How To Dispose Of A Microwave Oven

Are you upgrading your kitchen? Your old microwave will only landfill instead of adding any value in the kitchen. 

Also, you don’t need to wait for the microwave to expire silently or die with a spark. It would help if you took the responsibility to dispose of a microwave oven.

A microwave oven is a versatile appliance in the kitchen that saves lots of time and tonnes of energy. But if it’s not rendering any service, it will only be garbage occupying space in your kitchen.

But before you opt for microwave oven disposal, you can check for microwave oven repair. 

A microwave oven repair can be something extremely simple or something life-threateningly dangerous. It can cost a few cents or more than the price of a new machine.

So is it worth the time, the cost and the effort?

Microwave Ovens Are Dangerous

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic here, but a microwave is potentially the most dangerous household appliance you have. Put quite simply – it can kill you.

When a microwave oven is working, it has a very high current (Amps) and a very high voltage (up to 5000v). Put together, these make a lethal combination, and the really weird thing is that the danger is still there even after you’ve unplugged the machine!

And that’s not all! Even if you survive being electrocuted, there is still the potential of exposing yourself to microwaves.

Of course, some repairs are much more straightforward and totally without drama, but even with these, it’s essential to know what you’re doing. For example, you’d think changing the door lock would be easy, but once it’s done, you need to check for leakage. The door contains a switch that only allows the machine to turn on if the oven is sealed. Get that door lock misaligned, and you could have the oven starting when it’s not sealed, and that’s not good.

I will guide you through some of the most basic repairs on the following pages, but please follow all the safety precautions.

If you can’t repair yourself, you’re going to need to call in an expert, which will cost you a fair bit. So the next question is…

Is A Microwave Oven Repair Worth The Cost?

If the repair is something you can’t do yourself, then the answer is “rarely”. Now I’m normally the sort of person that would try to repair something. I don’t like waste, and I believe we all have a part to play in reducing carbon emissions and not filling up landfills sites, but I don’t think it’s usually worthwhile to do big repairs on a microwave yourself. (I’ll explain more about what to do with your broken one to lessen its environmental impact later on).

All the bigger repairs need to be done by a professional, and they charge quite a substantial fee. That, together with the new parts, will probably make upgrading your machine a viable alternative!

Furthermore, most microwaves that need to be repaired are a good few years old, so it may be time to upgrade anyway. If that’s the case, then think about how you will dispose of a microwave oven. 

Microwave Turntable Motor Repair

Your microwave turntable motor may be in trouble if: –

a) the turntable stops turning

b) the turntable turns, but there are clicking or grinding noises indicating.

Warning: Inside the microwave is a high voltage transformer which boosts the incoming power up to 5,000 CD.

This can be lethal even when the oven is unplugged.

Diagnosis – Eliminating Other Problems

A couple of other microwave problems might cause the same symptoms, so let’s eliminate those first.

Check that the power is turned on and the microwave is running

If you can turn off the microwave turntable motor can be turned off – check it’s not turned off.

Turn your turntable off (if you can) and run the oven for 30 seconds (with a glass of water in it). If the oven still makes strange noises, the chances are it’s the stirrer, not the turntable motor that’s at fault.

If you can’t turn your turntable off, you’ll have to skip this step. It’s not important as turntable motors fail much more frequently than stirrers.

All manufacturers sell spare turntable motors, so you’ll be able to source one easily. Buying online is usually cheaper.

The only information you need to place your order is the make and the model number of the oven you are repairing.

How to dispose of a Microwave oven

If you own a microwave, you need to consider microwave oven disposal issues; in particular the environmental and legal consequences.

Here is a guide to your options: –

Microwave Oven Disposal – The Guiding Slogan

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – the time-honoured environmental slogan – let’s look at how it 

The question here is, “Do you need a new one?” and it’s a point worth reflecting on. If your oven is still working and upgrading solely because you want all the latest gadgets and gizmos, ask yourself if it is worth waiting a little longer?

Are there even newer goodies just about to be released that will have you walking the aisles again, wishing you’d got an oven like that? If your oven is broken or is no longer appropriate (ex, you now need a combination oven as you’ve moved into a small apartment that doesn’t have room for both a microwave and a conventional oven), then you’re out of options. It’s time to consider what to do with the oven you’ve got.

Reuse

The aim here is to ensure the oven continues to be used.

If you are going to pass on or sell a broken or leaking microwave oven, please be 100% sure that the person who receives it is aware of the problems.

Your options are: –

  • Pass the oven on to a family member or friend
  • Please pass it on to a local charity shop (however, many of these don’t accept electrical goods because of safety issues
  • Advertise it for sale on CraigsList, Gum Tree or E Bay – I’d advise selling locally as you don’t want to be involved in posting issues.
  • Ask local shelters if they could use it. They will need to get it tested but it shouldn’t cost too much.
  • Ask your local council if they have recycling plans that include microwave oven disposal.
  • Use it as a garden feature! Yes, I’ve heard that’s a possibility, but I’ve never seen it done yet.

Recycle

If you’re at this stage, the chances are your oven is broken and too expensive to consider repairing.

The reason it’s too expensive is that you need to pay for a technician to do the work – and their time is costly. 

A repair may be economically viable for other people and organisations who have free access to technical labour.

Ask any home appliance shop if they’d like to take it off your hands for parts or to mend it.

Find out where your local microwave technicians train and offer it to the college as a project.

Ask at your local charity shop if they have someone capable of mending it (doubtful, but who knows ’till you ask?)

Disposal

If all else fails, you may need to dispose of it, and for this, you’ll need to be sure you comply with any local bye-laws relating to microwave oven disposal.

Call your local council and ask how they can help and what they advise you to do. If they are unhelpful (and some are), call a local environmental group who might help you directly or tell you who to speak to.

There is a new scheme called Take Back in the UK, which obliges stores who sell electrical appliances to take back a similar used one at the point of sale. They are obliged to dispose of the goods responsibly.

Your Ideas for how to dispose of a Microwave oven

If you’ve got any other ideas to add, please let me know, and I’ll add them to the list.

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