How Do Microwaves Cook?
Just as sunlight shines through a window, microwaves pass right through some materials. Materials such as glass, paper, and plastic are transparent to and generally unaffected by microwaves.
Microwaves are reflected by metal surfaces, much as a ball would bounce off a wall. The metal walls of the cooking space actually form a cavity resonator. In other words, the enclosure is designed to resonate the microwaves as they are radiated from the magnetron tube. The principle of resonance may be illustrated using sound waves. When a piano key is struck, it produces sound vibrations or sound waves. Sometimes a note is played on a piano, and an object across the room, perhaps a wineglass, can be heard vibrating and producing the same sound. This is the result of resonance. The resonating characteristics of the wineglass are the same as those of the piano string. Therefore, the wineglass is in tune, or in resonance, with the sound wave produced by the piano string. In the same way, the cooking cavity of a microwave oven is designed to be in "tune" with the resonant characteristics of the microwaves.
Metal racks are physically proportioned so as not to disrupt the energy pattern. Microwaves penetrate and are absorbed by some substances, primarily food products. As the energy penetrates the food, its power is gradually absorbed, or lost, to each successive layer of molecules. The rate of energy loss and depth of penetration vary with the depth, density, chemical properties and temperature of the food. However, on the average, the power is cut in half about every three-quarters of an inch of penetration. Therefore, since the intensity of the electromagnetic field is less at the center of the food than at the surface, the molecules closer to the center of the food do not feel the full effect of the energy.
How can the burnt smell be removed from a microwave oven?
First, clean away all remnants of the burned product using a manufacturer-recommended cleaner. Then add fresh slices of lemon to a microwave-safe container of water and place the container in the microwave. Next bring the water to a slow boil for about 10 minutes. Be careful to make sure the container does not boil dry. Allow the water cool sufficiently to safely remove the container. Finally, place freshly used coffee grounds on a paper towel and leave them in the oven overnight (do not operate the oven) to absorb any residual odor.
Why is there moisture on the interior of my microwave oven?
Condensation inside the unit is normal and especially prevalent when cooking foods of high moisture content for extended periods of time either inside the microwave or on a cooktop beneath an over the range microwave.
Steam and vapor escaping from around the door is normal.
If minimal moisture is noticed between the glass, allow the microwave door to stand open for approximately 15 minutes to accelerate the dissipation of the moisture. If the moisture does not evaporate in a reasonable amount of time, contact service
Can I dry food or herbs in my microwave?
Drying fruits, vegetables and meats in the microwave is not recommended. Microwaves are designed to retain the moisture content in foods, not dry them. Also, fruits have a high sugar content and will have a great tendency to burn if they are overcooked in the microwave. Herbs, such as parsley, celery leaves and other herbs can be dried in the microwave. They contain a very minimal amount of moisture.
Directions for drying herbs: Wash the herbs and partially dry them between paper towels. Microwave on a paper towel using HIGH POWER two to four minutes per cup of herbs.
- Rearrange the herbs every 30 seconds of drying time.
- Remove the herbs from the microwave and allow them
- Rub the herbs between the paper towel to crumble.
- Repeat the process, if necessary.
May I use metal in my microwave?
Metal cookware should not be used in a microwave. Metal will not allow microwaves to penetrate; the food behind the metal will not be cooked. The metal could also cause arcing in the oven. However, microwave convection ovens can use metal and foil safely during the convection cooking.
Metal (aluminum foil) can be safely used in a microwave but certain guidelines must be followed to prevent damage to the oven. The following describes the proper use: Aluminum foil is used to shield portions of a food item to prevent overcooking. (i.e.: leg tips and wings of a turkey or ends of a leg of ham). It should be a small amount of foil when applied and it should also be pressed close to the food item. No foil should be sticking up or out away from the food product. "Flags" or pieces of foil standing up will work as an antenna which could cause arcing.
Do not completely cover any food item with aluminum foil. Do not leave metal twist ties on bread packages or other plastic bags when warming a food product. The metal twist ties act as an antenna, and will cause arcing and possible damage to the oven.
May baby food be heated in the microwave?
"THE" has not performed specific tests on preparing baby food in a microwave oven. It is strongly recommended that the baby food manufacturer be contacted regarding microwave instructions.
Some baby food manufacturers recommend baby food should NOT be heated in the microwave for the following reasons:
- The container may not be microwave safe.
- The food may have already been cooked and would only need to be warmed slightly above room temperature. Microwaving heats the food rapidly and there is concern that the food may be too hot and will burn the baby
How can I tell if a dish is microwave-safe?
Follow the directions below to determine if a dish or utensil is microwave safe.
- Fill a cup with water.
- Place the cup in the oven on or beside the utensil in question.
- Microwave for one minute on high.
- If the water becomes hot and the dish remains cool, the dish is microwave safe. If the dish heats up, it should not be used for microwaving.
Note: You cannot have one cup of water in the microwave with a power level of 10 for more than two minutes. If you leave it for more than 2 minutes, there is a higher risk of spontaneous boiling. If both items fit in the oven without placing water on the utensil, the test results will be more apparent. This happens because some heat will be generated downward and the utensil may become warm. This would be a normal condition.
My microwave runs but doesn't heat.
If the microwave runs, but does not heat, it could be one of many parts. For safety reasons, THE offers no do-it-yourself repair advice on microwave ovens due to: Safety requirements due to high voltage (capacitor hold a high voltage charge even after it has been unplugged) Complexity of electronic circuitry. Special equipment needed to make diagnosis.
PCH urges our consumers NOT to attempt any microwave repairs.
How do I change the power level on my microwave?
Microwave - Changing the Power Level
- Press "Time Cook" or "Micro Cook."
- Enter cooking time.
- Press "Power Level".
- Select a desired power level 1-10 (default is 10).
- Press "Start"
How do I set the clock on my microwave?
The electronic clock and timer not only provides a hi-tech appearance but is easy to clean and set the time. It has less moving parts to minimize maintenance. It also has solid state reliability. The electronic clock uses state of the art microprocessor chips to provide a wide range of performance. It eliminates knobs and other control panel features that may have collected dirt in the various cracks and crevices, leaving an attractive, contemporary, and uncluttered appearance.
Note: Microwave clocks use less than 2 watts of power.
How to Set the Microwave Clock?
Follow these directions:
- Press CLOCK
- Enter time of the day
- Select AM or PM
- Press START or CLOCK
How do I test whether my microwave is performing properly?
Place a glass bowl (preferably a 2qt. Pyrex measuring bowl) with 1qt. of water in the center of the microwave cavity. The water must be 59-75 degrees Fahrenheit (15-24 degrees Celsius).
Heat the water for exactly 2 minutes 30 seconds on High (this is the default setting). A temperature rise in the range of 28-40 degrees Fahrenheit (15-22 degrees Celsius) indicates that the oven is cooking properly.
What do the fault or error codes that appear on my microwave display mean?
Fault codes are programmed in many electronic microwave controls. These codes help GE Service technicians quickly diagnose issues with the microwave.
Fault Code Definition F1 Open Thermal Sensor, due to excessive heat in microwave cavity F2 Shorted thermal sensor F3 Shorted touch pad panel F4 Open humidity sensor F5 Shorted humidity sensor F6 Shorted temperature probe. F10 Shorted Touch Screen on JVM2070
In order to attempt clearing the code yourself, please follow the steps below:
- Press CLEAR/OFF or CANCEL.
- Program control again.
- If the fault code appears again, disconnect power to the microwave for 30 seconds. Program the cooking functions again
- If fault code appears again, service will be required. If you would like to schedule a service appointment, please contact THE Consumer Service
- THE does recommend unplugging the microwave until you have it serviced.
- If probe appears in the display, make sure probe is firmly inserted in to the wall of microwave and also into the food item. If you are not attempting to use the probe, follow directions above to reset the control.
How do I replace the oven light in my over-the-range microwave?
To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug this appliance from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning. To replace the oven light in most models:
- Disconnect the power at the main fuse or circuit breaker or pull the plug.
- Remove the top grill by taking out the two screws that hold it in place.
- Remove the screw that secures the light housing. It is located above the door near the center of the oven.
- Replace the bulb with a like bulb.
- Replace the light housing screw and grill.
- Connect the electrical power to the oven
Who can I remove the odor in my microwave?
To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug the microwave from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.
For burned food odors: Clean up spatters and spills as they occur. We recommend washing the interior with baking soda, or a non-abrasive detergent, and letting it dry.
If the odor persists, we recommend you try one of the following: Mix 6 tablespoons of baking soda and one cup of water
Mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice and one cup of water. Place either solution in a microwave safe dish of appropriate size and heat for 2 to 3 minutes on high power. We also recommend leaving the door open for 2-3 hours when the microwave is not in use to let the microwave "air out." Some extreme odors like fish or burned popcorn may take several days to wear away. For "newness" odors in a microwave: First-time usage of a microwave may produce some smoke. This is typically a very small amount and is perfectly normal. An electrical odor in new machines can be normal because the electronic board is "curing" as the circuit board material is heated for first few uses. On microwave/convection models, dust particles can accumulate on the convection element and burn off when in use producing a small amount of smoke. Once dust has been burned off, the smoke will dissipate.
How do I clean my microwave?
To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug the microwave from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.
Spills and spatters clean up easily with a damp, soapy paper towel or sponge. It is best to clean soil as soon as it appears. Baking soda and water may also be used.
If the food has cooked onto the interior, heat one cup of water on full power for three minutes. The heat and steam help to soften the food. After the three minutes, allow five additional minutes stand time then clean as usual. A non-abrasive scrubbing pad cleaner works well for stubborn stains.
You may use mild dish washing liquid or cleaners specifically listed for cleaning interiors of microwave ovens such as MicroBryte® (wx10x3030) or Microwave Oven Magic®. We do not recommend using other detergent based cleaners because they can cause the plastic parts to crack.
For stainless steel interiors of microwave/convection models, we recommend a plastic, soap-filled scouring pad. Rubbing gently with this pad will help remove soil. For the door surfaces (both interior and exterior) We recommend you use only mild, non-abrasive soaps, or detergents applied with a sponge, or soft cloth. For the control panel Wipe with a soft, damp cloth. Dry immediately with a soft cloth. Do not spray any solution directly onto the controls Important: Commercial Oven Cleaners, abrasive cleaners, or cleaners containing ammonia or bleach (can make the plastic brittle) should not be used on any part of the microwave.
Why do the walls or floor of my microwave feel warm to the touch?
Cooking foods in a microwave oven for an extended period of time can cause a heat transfer not only to the internal oven walls and floor, but to the external cabinet as well. Heat is generated outward from the food being cooked. Additionally, the oven's interior lamp and the magnetron tube will contribute to external heat transfer. This condition is considered normal. It should be noted that the internal and external temperatures after extended cooking will vary, naturally, depending on the preparation and the length of the cooking time.
How do I prevent food spattering inside my microwave?
Cover the food with a microwave safe lid, waxed paper, plastic wrap or paper toweling during cooking to prevent spattering. Do not use papers or other flammable materials to cover the food when they are being browned with a heating element or browning dish.
May a browning dish be used in the microwave?
Because microwaves do not brown as readily as conventional cooking, browning dishes are very helpful. Browning dishes simulate a fry pan or skillet so that foods such as steaks, chops, hamburgers, and even French toast can be prepared. Browning dishes are a pyroceramic material with metal imbedded in it. Most must be preheated in the microwave so that the metal superheats the surface creating a griddle effect. Be careful because they get very hot.
Below are a few guidelines:
- Do not use a browning dish on a microwave shelf. You must put it on a clean oven floor. If the microwave has a removable glass tray on the floor, be sure to leave the glass tray in place.
- Preheating times vary according to the size of the dish, food used, etc. Follow the manufacturer's directions.
- Always start with minimum time, increasing the time for more browning.
- Partially frozen foods brown more slowly than refrigerator temperature food.
- Excess moisture decreases browning. Dry meats with paper towel first.
- Flatten or press food with a spatula occasionally to increase browning.
- Do not use a cover for crisper, browner foods.
- When using the dish a second time, preheating time is usually cut in half.