what happens if you microwave nothing

What happens if you microwave nothing?

In today’s post, we’ll learn more about how a microwave oven works, what happens when it’s empty, and what to do next.

Let’s get this started right now.

Operating a microwave for long periods when empty may harm its electrical components. Microwaves can operate for up to 10 minutes when empty, depending on how well they’re made.

Your microwave will trip or catch fire after the grace time.

How Does Microwave Work?

how does the microwaves work

Microwave ovens operate in a way that is both simple and complicated.

And, as we all know, opening a microwave oven while it’s on is a safety danger.

Microwave ovens cook food equally without needing an external heat source using non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation.

How Does it Produce Electrons?

A transformer in the microwave oven raises the supply voltage to 4,500 volts and feeds it to the magnetron.

A filament inside the magnetron immediately warms up and begins releasing electrons.

These electrons are guided via a waveguide and attack the water molecules in the meal, forcing them to oscillate and collide.

This creates enough friction to warm your meal. And, by definition, meals with a high water content cook faster than those with lower water content.

Electromagnetic energy or waves typically have a frequency of 2450 MHz or a wavelength of 12.24 cm.

As a result, you’ll find that most microwaves are the same size.

 Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, microwaves do not cook food from the inside out.

Instead, they cook the outside layers first and then enable conduction to cook the inside layers.

What Happens If You Microwave Nothing?

What happen if microwave nothing

This occasionally happens when it is best not to operate a microwave while it is empty.

The good news is that running your microwave empty for a short period will not harm it for less than 10 minutes.

However, there are certain consequences if you use your microwave when it is empty.

1. The Microwave Will Explode

Inside the microwave oven, certain protection mechanisms screen the magnetron from the waves rebounding back from the cooking chamber.

Furthermore, the cavity, door, and tray collect extra energy while cooking your meal.

Electromagnetic radiation takes around 5 minutes to overpower these defensive components while they are empty.

Running the microwave for a lengthy amount of time, say more than 15 minutes, results in sparking, melting, and the components catching fire.

2. Melting Electrical Insulations

the electrical insulations

What happens if you microwave nothing? If well-designed, your microwave will trip before any harm can occur.

If it does not trip, it will enter a thermal runaway, in which some random section of your oven will overheat until a critical part breaks.

It might be a breaker tripping, electrical insulation melting, or exploding fuse.

Melting electrical insulations is the most serious of the three issues since it exposes your oven to short circuits. 

If you use your microwave oven, it will explode into flames at this moment.

If you start cooking when your microwave is empty, the most you can hope for is that it trips.

However, this is not always the case.

If it doesn’t catch fire right away, you’ll have shaved months off the life of your microwave by operating it when empty.

3. Damage The Magnetron Tube

a damage magnetron tube

When you run a microwave with nothing inside, the radioactive waves will bounce randomly, repeatedly striking the microwave’s interior walls.

This causes long-term damage to the microwave’s structural integrity, causing it to perform inefficiently.

A magnetron tube generates the radioactive waves used by microwaves by causing electrons to interact with a magnetic field.

This is to provide the energy that allows your food to cook.

However, If there is nowhere for these radioactive waves to go, they will continue to bounce about the oven until they reach the magnetron tube.

Eventually, the magnetron tube will absorb more radioactive waves than it produces.

This may cause significant damage to the magnetron tube and leave the microwave inoperable.

4. A Broken Control Board

The control board is located just beneath the control panel of your microwave.

To reach the control board of your microwave, open the case and search for evidence of arcing or melted insulation.

In addition, watch for evidence of burning around the relays since this indicates a short circuit inside your control board.

If you see any evidence of burning, you’ll need to replace your control board.

5. A Molten Turntable

molten turntable

When you run a microwave when it’s empty, you get a lot of heat. This force is occasionally strong enough to melt the porcelain turntable.

If your microwave oven isn’t operating and the turntable is molten, it’s likely broken.

It should be noted that a damaged turntable does not indicate a malfunctioning microwave.

Instead, it’s a warning indicator that your oven has more serious underlying problems.

If your turntable is molten, call an electrical specialist first.

6. Faulty High Voltage Circuit

The high voltage circuit of a microwave is made up of a magnetron, a transformer, a high voltage diode, and a high voltage capacitor.

If any of these components fail, your microwave will not be able to cook or warm your food.

To determine which is defective, use a multimeter and check for continuity.

However, carefully approach the high voltage circuit to avoid short circuits, electrocutions, and even fires.

Before you begin your diagnostic, unplug your oven from the power supply line as a precaution.

What Should You Never Put In A Microwave?

what never put in microwave

Can you microwave nothing?

Yes, however using improper material or cooking the wrong food in the microwave might be hazardous or even destroy the appliance.

So, here’s a list of everything you should never put in a microwave.

Drying Clothing

Never microwave clothing. Instead of drying garments, a microwave may make the water quite hot.

You might burn yourself, damage, or burn the cloth. Overall, it’s a bad concept.

Hidden-Metal Dishes

Metal may harm the microwave’s magnetron and cause a fire. Some plates and containers hide the metal.

Dishes with metallic paint may be difficult, and some containers feature brass handles or foil liners.

Warming Breast Milk

warming a breastmilk

The microwave might cause uneven heating of breast milk. Microwaved milk may generate hot patches that burn an infant’s mouth.

Shell-Cooked Eggs

Closed skin or shells are harmful to the microwave. When microwaves ignite food’s moisture, steam forms.

Food erupts when pressure builds up. You won’t want to clean it up.

Leftovers in Carryout Containers

Some plastic objects contain toxins such as BPA that might seep into food when cooked.

Animal tests suggest excessive quantities of these substances may be hazardous.

I realize people may be lazy and microwave takeout, but I discourage it.

Using Ceramic Dishes

Not all ceramic plates are microwave-safe. Low-fired ceramics are fragile. Thus they absorb moisture.

In a microwave, the moisture heats and fractures the plate.

Heating Raisins

heating a raisins

Some recipes need softened raisins.

But you shouldn’t microwave raisins. Raisins may smoke and catch fire in the oven.

Heating Packaged Food

Microwave food only when the package says to. Reuse packaging.

Puncture the box to release steam.

Cooking Hot Peppers

Hot peppers may rupture. Capsaicin in hot peppers makes them microwave-hazardous.

Capsaicin may soon become airborne, turning a microwave hot pepper blast into homemade pepper spray. It’ll burn your eyes and nose.

Final Verdict

What happens if you microwave nothing? Running an empty microwave, as we’ve seen, is quite risky.

However, if you’ve only done so for 5 minutes or less, you shouldn’t be worried.

If you've been operating it on empty for a lengthy period of time, you should unplug it from the power source.

Allow it to cool for a few minutes before doing a basic test by inserting some food inside.

Turn it on, set the time, and wait for the results. Was it successful? If so, consider yourself fortunate.

If so, I suggest you get an electrician to diagnose and fix the device.