Microwaves are one of the most affordable and easy-to-use kitchen appliances of this era, but your microwave blowing air from top can be cause for concern.
They’re perfect for those who enjoy meal prepping and need to reheat their leftovers and those in a rush who need a quick meal. These appliances offer you a hot meal in minutes.
Your microwave oven could be blowing hot air for many reasons. Reasons for this include benign broken, dirty, the appliance has been misused, and even malfunctions out of your control.
The good news is that while feeling your microwave blow air from the top may be concerning, it’s harmless. It’s not ideal, but the danger isn’t on the table.
If your microwave is blowing air from the top, here’s what you need to know.
Every microwave has a venting system in place, but when the appliance is blowing air from the top, it could be due to a number of issues.
Before you can fix why it’s blowing air at the top, you need to determine why it’s doing this.
More often than not, your microwave is still salvageable and not beyond repair.
One of the most common reasons you’ll feel air blowing from the top of your microwave is that the seals on the door aren’t correctly working.
When the seals aren’t sealed correctly, hot air can seep out of the door, through the top too.
The seal keeps your food hot as the appliance cooks your meal.
So, this reason isn’t dangerous, just slightly inconvenient since you may get food that varies in temperature from bite to bite or takes longer to heat up.
While your microwave is running, run your hand along the top of the door. If you can pinpoint that the air is blowing from around the door, your issue is probably your seal.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to repair it. Fortunately, it’s one of the less-costly fixes for something like this.
Tip: Before replacing the seal or microwave entirely, try cleaning it.
How to Fix It
Replacing a microwave seal isn’t too tricky, but it’s probably best if you have a professional handle it.
However, if you’d like to do it yourself, you’ll need to start by finding the part number for the seal.
Once you have it, you can follow your manufacturer’s instructions to replace it.
Another reason your microwave may be leaking air is one you might not think of. If your appliance is too dirty, air may start leaking out the top.
Anyone who uses their microwave regularly knows how dirty it can get after a lot of use.
You can check to see if there is any air leaking by placing your hand near the doors and top of the microwave. If there is air leaking, you can further inspect the appliance.
Dirty microwaves tend to have a build-up of food or grease.
When you have this build-up of grease, food, or a combination of the two, it can cause your microwave not to seal accurately.
How to Fix It
Fortunately, cleaning up your microwave is a pretty simple task.
Keep in mind that you will be focusing on the areas that help seal the door, not the entire interior of the appliance, for this fix.
However, since you’ll be cleaning soft rubber seals, you’ll want to avoid any harsh scrubbing or cleansers because that could damage the seal and cause more air to leak out.
Instead, start by microwaving a bowl of water for a few minutes to steam the inside.
Then, use a washcloth with warm water and dish soap to break up the gunk that’s formed on the seal. Make sure to get all around the frame, too.
Tip: If your microwave is extra greasy, you can use a bit of white vinegar mixed with Dawn to break it up.
Let’s face it. Microwave ovens see a lot of abuse and wear and tear over their lifetime.
Whether you slam the door on purpose or by accident, you use the appliance more than once a day; it’s put through the wringer.
When you’re constantly opening and closing the microwave door, it’s eventually going to crack or break in some way that lets air escape where it’s not supposed to.
If air is leaking from the top of your microwave, the best way to confirm the door is the issue is to step back and look at it.
If the door looks crooked, then it’s probably out of alignment. There are two potential culprits for a loose door: the hinges and the door latches.
The hinges are pretty strong, so it's more than likely that the issue is a broken latch.
How to Fix It
To fix a broken door, you’ll need to figure out what, exactly, is broken. So, start by opening the door all the way.
Next, examine the hinges and see if you can see any bends, warping, or loose areas.
Then, gently wiggle the door up and down to see if there’s any give on the hinged side.
If the hinges seem intact, move on to the safety latches. First, take a close look at the latch components on the door and the unit’s body.
Examine them for cracks, chips, or movement. Then, open and close your microwave a few times, paying attention to how well the latches connect.
If they appear loose or the door is tough to open or close, that might be your problem.
Last but not least, another reason you may feel air blowing from the top of your microwave could be its exhaust.
If you keep your microwave on your countertop, it will emit exhaust from wherever the vents on the appliance are. This is typically the sides or bottom.
Since exhaust usually comes from the sides or bottom, you can expect the exhaust to come from the top if you have your microwave lifted or mounted onto the wall.
This is mainly to do with the fact that hot air rises.
The problem with an over stove microwave blowing hot air from the top is that the air is going in the wrong direction. Any exhaust should be going directly into the vent hood in your wall.
If you feel air blowing from the top, you or whoever installed your microwave didn't install your machine improperly, or your vent is blocked.
How to Fix It
Follow any of the above steps to attempt to diagnose the problem if your issue is a countertop machine.
They’re typically easier to fix, so any of the previously-listed options will likely address your issue.
On the other hand, if your over-the-stove unit is acting up, the repair might be more complicated.
These machines act as an exhaust for both the microwave and the stove, so it’s crucial that they’re working correctly.
If you’re handy in the kitchen, you can check the installation to see if it was done properly. However, this could require removing the unit from the wall and disconnecting it from the ductwork.
So, if you’re uncertain how the microwave should be installed or simply aren’t confident in your skills as a handyperson, you may want to contact a professional.
If you still find that you have questions regarding your microwave blowing air from the top, you’re not alone.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic.
For almost all microwaves, you’ll find the vent at the back of the appliance on top.
If your microwave is venting back into the room, most of these appliances will have venting on the top but in the front.
Yes. All microwaves, including over-the-range (OTR) microwaves, have vents. These appliances can vent in one of two ways.
They’ll vent through the manufacturer’s grease or carbon filter then to the exhaust port, or vent through the carbon or grease filter but recirculate the air back into the home.
A self-venting microwave is one that has a ductless, recirculating vent. This allows the appliance to pull air through the filter and then exhaust it back into the home or kitchen.
Fortunately, if your microwave is blowing air from the top, there are ways you can address it.
Microwaves are one of the most convenient appliances for people of all ages.
They’re great for quick and hot meals and don’t take up too much space in your kitchen.