Most Americans use a microwave to heat up food almost every day, whether they’re heating up their lunch at work or making something at home. In fact, nearly 90% of US households own a microwave. This small appliance provides a quick and easy way to make a meal. But just like the stove or oven, they can catch fire. Here are 3 reasons why your microwave may have caught fire.
Your Food’s Packaging
When cooking your food in the microwave, it’s important to consider what the material of the container is made of. Most kitchen plates and bowls will be okay, but you should always check to make sure it is “microwave safe.” If you’re heating up a pre-packaged frozen meal, read the cooking instructions prior to heating it up in the microwave. Depending on how it’s packaged, you may be instructed to remove certain packaging prior to cooking. Aluminum foil for example, should never be placed in the microwave.
Overcooking Your Food
One of the common reasons why your microwave may have caught fire is from overcooking your food. According to the FDA, microwaves cook food by producing microwaves inside the oven by an electron tube called a magnetron. “The microwaves are reflected within the metal interior of the oven where they are absorbed by food. Microwaves cause water molecules in food to vibrate, producing heat that cooks the food.” This process doesn’t cause a smoke or a fire on its own, but if the food becomes overcooked, the food can catch fire. Different microwave ovens cook at different wattages, so be sure to keep an eye on your food as it’s cooking.
Electrical fires can be caused by anything that’s plugged into an electrical outlet, and that includes small appliances like microwaves. With all of the electrical components of a microwave, it’s not uncommon for some to malfunction, causing a small fire. A fire can also occur if the appliance shorts out while cooking with it, or if you experience a power surge. This would cause the microwave to turn on without you telling it to, and running until you shut it off.
Some Quick Tips
- Never heat food that isn’t approved for use in a microwave, including aluminum foil, foam trays, and plastic wraps. These can either cause a fire or cause harmful chemicals to seep into your food.
- Don’t leave your microwave unattended when in use, especially when making popcorn, because it can burn quickly.
- If you experience a small fire in your microwave, turn it off immediately so that the fan doesn’t feed oxygen to the flames. Don’t open the door until you’re absolutely sure the fire is out.
Call ServiceMaster of Baltimore After a Fire Emergency
ServiceMaster of Baltimore has over 60 years of experience restoring people’s homes and businesses with their cleanup services. Our expert technicians guide our clients through the process of returning your property to its pre-loss condition, in as painless a manner as possible. Give us a call today at 410-780-1700.