Do Microwave Ovens Lose Their Power Over Time?

Microwave ovens have become a staple of kitchens, and many people love their microwave ovens because they make it easy to heat food.

Even so, like all other kitchen appliances, your microwave oven wasn’t built to last forever. In fact, most good-quality microwaves last ten years or so.

If you are concerned about how your microwave oven functions, you might wonder…..

Do Microwave Ovens Lose Their Power Over Time?

The simple answer is YES. Microwave ovens lose some of their power and cooking ability over time due to the weakening of magnetron tubes. Essentially, magnetron tubes are the microwave oven’s source of energy and power, so when they weaken and become less effective, your microwave also becomes less powerful.

A microwave losing its power is a tell-tale sign that it needs to be replaced.

In this post, you will learn more about microwave ovens along with signs that it is time to start shopping for a new microwave oven.

Why Does A Microwave Lose Its Power Over Time?

Microwave ovens provide a way to heat food quickly and easily. For this reason, they make for one of the most common appliances in our kitchens.

If you have an old microwave oven that has started slowing down, the appliance could be losing its power.

Every microwave oven has a magnetron tube, an electrical element that converts electrical energy into microwave energy.

At its core, a magnetron tube is a high-voltage system that utilizes magnetic and electrical fields to create oscillating waves that bounce around the oven to heat food.

While a couple of things can cause your microwave to work less efficiently, the weakening of the magnetron tube is a major factor.

The permanent magnets inside the magnetron tube get weaker over time, causing the magnetron to become less effective. This causes the appliance to lose its power.

If you have bought a microwave recently and are wondering how long the appliance may last, the simple answer is that it depends.

Typically, a standard magnetron tube has a lifespan of 2,000 hours of operation on average.

This means your microwave can operate for this long before it starts losing its power.

If you are like most people who use their microwave ovens only a few minutes every day, your oven may last for ten or more years.

When using your microwave, always remember other factors that may cause your appliance to become less effective, including installing it improperly, obstructing the waveguide, powering it through an extremely high or low voltage, and using the oven at the upper limit.

Six Ways To Tell If Your Microwave Is Failing

Electronic kitchenware like microwaves are meant to make your experience around the culinary area awesome.

However, they are not designed to last for eternity; they will at least fail at some point.

There are a few signs that might imply your microwave oven is failing, and you need to take immediate action to prevent chances of accidents.

1. Unusual Noise

When in good condition, a microwave oven may produce a moderate hum; otherwise, it is not functioning well. If your microwave produces a rough buzzing or rattling noise, there is a problem.

To identify what causes the annoying sound, you may check the fan blades and turntable to confirm if they are well-aligned or if there is leftover food inside.

In case you find leftovers, you can easily remove them.

Similarly, if there is a misalignment, you can carefully realign the plates correctly.

However, if there are no leftovers or misalignments, you obviously need to replace this kitchen equipment.

2. Presence Of Smoke, Burning Smell, Or Sparks

Any of these three signs is a clear sign of approaching danger. If you see smoke coming out, sparks within or on the wires, and or a burning smell, then you need to switch off the socket switch and unplug the microwave immediately.

If you delay, it may cause a fire that can burn down your entire house.

3. Keypad Failure

The keypad is a fundamental part of the microwave that helps you to regulate or direct its functionality.

If it fails to function, you may not be able to use your kitchen micro cook correctly.

For instance, if you press the power button and it doesn’t respond, you will not be sure of whether you need to use it or not.

Similarly, if the temperature buttons do not respond, you may end up overheating or underheating your food.

Basically, if the keypad does not function, you will have to repair it or just buy a new microwave.

4. The Door Doesn’t Seal Tightly

A microwave oven door should close up tightly to enable the radiations to stay right inside and warm your food.

When the door fails to close up and seal completely, it is probably because it’s worn out, cracked, or broken.

In such a case, you will need to replace it and prevent any danger that would have otherwise arisen.

5. It’s At Least 10 Years Old

As earlier said, this kitchen appliance is designed to serve you best for a 10 years lifespan or so.

However, you may still get proper services from it for more than ten years.

Even though you still get the service you expect, you should be planning on how to acquire another one because this old appliance may shut down sooner than you might expect.

Additionally, technologies improve more frequently, and after a decade, you should opt to buy a more energy-efficient and developed kitchen appliance.

6. Improper Cooking

Microwaves are loved by many homeowners because they can cook within a very short period.

When it takes too long to cook food that would have been cooked in a short time, then there is automatically a problem.

On some occasions, you may notice that the oven cooks food faster than expected, overcooks, or has high temperatures.

You may need to do a replacement to avoid destroying your delicious meals.

You may take a cup of water and put it to boil within two minutes and then check its temperature.

If it is not hot, your oven is clearly failing, and you should consider replacing it.

Can You Repair A Worn-out Microwave?

Typically, almost all electric appliances can be repaired. The main concern of most homeowners is determining if the repair is worthwhile.

To repair a microwave is more expensive than buying a new unit.

First, you will have to buy the spare parts, employ a technician to check the problem, and then fix it.

The cost will be higher than purchasing a new microwave.

If you have a new appliance and it fails, you may consider inviting a technician to troubleshoot and see if it is worth fixing.

If your oven is hard to access, the technician might charge you more money.

Still, if the oven is within the warranty period, you may opt to call a technician to help solve the problem.

Typically, the cost of doing a microwave repair is higher than buying a new one, thus making it unworthy to do a microwave repair.


Microwave ovens, just like other kitchen appliances, are not built to last forever.

Over time, your oven will become less powerful and probably fail when you most need its service.

If you have an old microwave oven that is slowly dying, hopefully, this post helps you understand all that happens to your microwave.