Can you turn on an empty microwave: the answer will surprise you
Not only can some appliances be turned on when they are empty but they also need to. For example, a washing machine or dishwasher can be cleaned this way. But is it worth turning on the microwave when it is empty?
OBOZ.UA asked experts for their advice on this matter. They are quite categorical and unequivocal.
How does a microwave oven work?
To heat food, a microwave oven generates microwaves of ultra-high-frequency radiation using a magnetron. They act on the dipole molecules in the food, primarily water, causing them to rotate rapidly. This causes molecular friction, which makes food to heat up very quickly. At the same time, dishes that do not contain dipole molecules remain cold.
Can I use an empty microwave?
If there is nothing in it, the microwaves begin to propagate directly through it, reflect off the walls, and heat the appliance itself. In particular, they act on the magnetron, which will eventually fail from such use. It absorbs as many microwaves as it produces, and the appliance is not designed for this.
At the same time, if you turn on an empty microwave for just a few seconds, it will cause no harm. The magnetron needs some time to overheat and burn out. The duration of this time depends on the microwave model. The designers claim that you will smell a burnt odor from the magnetron before any serious damage occurs. But still, they do not advise experimenting in this way. During the operation of the device, there should be at least a glass of water inside.
Can I leave the door open while the microwave is operating?
By design, the device is a so-called Faraday cage. This means that all the emitted microwaves remain confined within it and do not go beyond this circuit. If the integrity of the circuit is broken (by opening the door during operation), the microwaves will begin to go outside and act according to their usual principle: to quickly rotate dipole molecules that fall into their zone of influence.
What does this mean in practice? Foods that are in the microwave range will begin to cook, and metal objects will spark, which is dangerous as it can cause a fire. Moreover, electrical wires in the room where an open microwave is operating will also transmit high-frequency energy to the appliances to which they are connected. This usually has no tangible consequences but it can still cause harm. However, the worst thing is that these waves will begin to intensively affect water molecules inside living organisms. Thus, people and animals can suffer thermal damage to internal organs, including fatal ones. Therefore, you should always close the microwave before turning it on.