How It Works

One of the most convenient appliances in our kitchens is also one of the most complex. Microwave ovens use microwave radiation to cook and heat foods from within. A typical microwave has an energy efficiency of 64 percent, consuming about two-thirds of its electricity to heat your food.

What Can Go Wrong

Microwaves sometimes lose their ability to heat food for a number of reasons. They may continue to buzz or hum without producing any real heat. A professional diagnosis and repair is usually possible, but it may be more economical to replace the unit.

Environmental Impact

Small microwave ovens use between 500 and 1,000 watts (W). Medium capacity units, which are most common, use between 1,000 and 1,500 W. Large capacity units are designed for heavy use and for cooking large meals with a range over 2,000 W. A 1000 W microwave used 15 minutes a day will consume about 91 kilowatt-hours (kWh), producing 140 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2).

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