problems with powerful domestic microwave ovens being used with small amounts of food

I have added an extract from a report from Panasonic detailing the issues arising from using increasingly more powerful microwaves with only small amounts of food. The results of which can be damaging and expensive to rectify. Modern microwaves can output up to and even more than 1000 watts, 10 years ago this power would be considered commercial and yet the ovens are being used for heating very small amounts of food at a time. I would recommend that if you use the microwave to heat anything small either reduce the power or put a mug of water on the turntable to absorb some of the microwaves. It wont reduce the cooking time much. This is  particularly relevant when heating products that don’t contain much moisture. Defrosting small amounts of frozen goods, melting chocolate and especially cooking popcorn, even in the bag.

Low load operation of microwave – Panasonic report

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About microwaveexpert

The Microwave Service Company is based in Sellindge, Kent and provides repairs to Domestic and Commercial Microwave Ovens including 24 volt Samsung Roadmate microwaves.
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5 Responses to problems with powerful domestic microwave ovens being used with small amounts of food

  1. Renata says:

    heating small portions of food with a more powerful microwave can cause the microwave to leak?

    • Possibly. if there is little food inside the oven to absorb the microwave energy it will bounce around and may find any weaker parts of the oven including the door seal which by its design is able prevent leakage usually, we have found on commercial ovens that the amount of leakage does increase with a smaller load inside. When we measure for leakage we always use a similar size load for consistent testing.

      • Renata says:

        But that kind a leakage is dangerous, or would be in the acceptable limitis?
        I usually heat small plate of food for my children only using that 30 sec button…

  2. Katrina says:

    Is this for real? I’ve been heating up small plates just like what Renata said.

    How do you guys check for this kind of leakage?

    • Microwave ovens work by making moisture particles warm. Only a very small amount of energy can be absorbed your plates as essentially they are ‘dry’ Therefore the excess energy being produced will overheat and shorten the life of the magnetron – the device that produces the microwaves. If you must heat plates in the microwave you should place a beaker of water on top of the plates to absorb that excess energy.
      We check for leakage after every repair by using a RF (radio frequency) test meter. This is laboratory calibrated annually.

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