Microwave ovens operate on the principle of electromagnetic waves.
The magnetron generates the waves, which are located in the center of the oven.
Then, these waves are converted into energy waves felt by the food being cooked in a microwave oven..
These energy waves cause food molecules to vibrate, reproduce and rotate at a very high rate, i.e., thousands of rotations per second.
Thus, the energy waves cause water molecules to absorb the energy waves and change their molecular structures, resulting in the food’s cooking.
This process of cooking is called browning..
Since the microwave watt is the unit used to measure cooking power, it is essential to have a general idea of how many watts are needed by microwave ovens.
In this article, we will discuss how many watts are required by a microwave oven..
A watt is an energy unit used to measure the power required by electrical devices and other systems.
It is a unit for measuring how much power a machine has..
To understand how many watts are required by microwave ovens, you must be familiar with some fundamental electrical terms..
Efficiency is defined as the ratio of output power over input power.
In other words, it is the ratio of output power divided by input power, which results in incorrect operation of a device or system.
Generally speaking, electrical appliances have high efficiency only if they have low losses (wasted energy).
A watt-hour – a unit used to measure energy or work.
A watt-hour is equal to 1 watt over 1 hour, and it is usually written as W H or kWh and represented as “W/h,” “kWh,” etc.
The more significant number in front indicates that this number represents a larger total quantity of work done in one hour than the smaller number behind it when written in numbers.
For example, one kilowatt-hour equals 1.3 megawatt-hours..
A watt is an energy needed to produce one joule of work.
A joule is a unit of energy that represents work over 1 second or 1 unit of time.
It is used as a standard unit in scientific calculations.
One watt equals 3600 joules per second or 0.0368 kilowatts, or about 3314 Btu per hour (1 Btu per hour = 3.6 gallons of fuel)..
A microwave oven uses from 600 watts to 1200 watts or more.
This is the energy needed to heat the food placed in it.
The exact number of watts required varies from model to model, and we will discuss that in the following paragraphs..
The number of watts used also depends on how many tablespoons of water you place in a microwave oven and how many minutes you turn it on.
Most microwaves average about 1200 watts of power, and most need at least 600-800 watts or more, which means they use 5300 – 7600 Btu per hour or 0.7 – 1 kilowatt per hour..
Even though these numbers are approximations, they give you a good general understanding of what is happening in a microwave oven..
Microwave ovens come in 3 main types: ovens with internal fan-assisted heating, ovens that use microwaves to heat the water or food placed inside them, and microwave-only ovens..
The two types of ovens that use microwaves to heat the food or water are those with internal fan-assisted heating and those without fans.
Every microwave oven has a primary frequency at which it turns on and heats up.
This is usually about 2450 MHz for US model microwave ovens, but slightly higher or lower depending on the manufacturer..
The higher this frequency is, the faster the oven heats up and the smaller it will run.
However, the higher the frequency is not suitable for cooking because of microwave absorption of nutrients in foods.
This causes a loss of vitamins and minerals in foods.
As a result, the manufacturer has to use lower frequencies for efficiency reasons – this is why some models can run on 700 or even 606 MHz..
Now that we know what a watt is and how microwave ovens use it to heat food let us look at input and output wattage..
The input wattage is the power used to turn the microwave oven on and heat up.
It is measured in watts and is listed on the meter or label inside the microwave..
The output wattage is the power consumed to heat up food placed in it.
It is measured in watts and listed on a label inside the microwave oven..
The input wattage and output wattage are not necessarily equal.
If a microwave oven has an input power rating of 1000 watts, it will only be able to heat food if it uses at least 1200 watts to keep the microwave running.
The output wattage is always higher than the input wattage because the latter can never exceed 1200 watts, even if you add more energy (watts) into the microwave..
The average American uses about 2,500 kWh of electricity a year every day.
Of this, approximately 30% is used for “residential” purposes.
The rest is used in industrial production, transportation, and other non-residential uses.
This means that a microwave oven uses about 5 % of the average household’s yearly electrical usage..
Microwave ovens typically consume less than 50% of their input wattage to heat up food placed inside them – the remainder goes to heating up their parts and keeping the magnetron operating at an efficient frequency..
For example, suppose you eat a frozen meal and place it in your microwave oven with its default settings (which are usually very conservative).
In that case, the oven will heat up much faster than necessary due to high input wattage use.
This higher input wattage will be partially offset by longer cooking times because of lower output wattage demand from heating food placed inside it..
The problem with using too much energy and cooking food too fast is that the oven thermostat may not be able to regulate the temperature correctly.
So you will start seeing varying cooking times when you open the oven door to check on your food..
Q. Does Microwave Use Electricity When Not in Use?
A. Microwave ovens draw electricity from their normal household electrical sockets only for their on/off switch to start and stop the microwave magnetron.
This switching is so fast that the magnetron stays on most of the time and therefore does not require additional electricity from the mains..
Q. Can I Change the Wattage of the Microwave?
A. Unless the exact type of microwave oven you have is specifically designed to allow for this, you will only be able to change the output wattage and not the input wattage..
Q. Can I Replace the Magnetron in a Microwave Oven?
A. Yes, but you will need to replace the complete magnetron unit and not just replace its motor.
If you purchase a replacement magnetron, make sure it is marked for use in food preparation equipment..
Q. Why Does My Microwave Oven Overheat?
A. The most likely reason for your microwave oven becoming too hot is that the magnetron has stopped operating correctly and therefore cannot provide adequate power output to heat your food placed inside the oven any more quickly.
Also, if the magnetron is too close to an exhaust vent or air vent near it, excessive heat will be given off and may burn out or otherwise damage it over time due to extreme heat exposure (metal will become hot enough to ignite).
If the magnetron is not operating correctly, then you should contact a professional repair technician as soon as possible..
Q. How do I find out how many watts my microwave is?
A. The easiest way to find out how many watts your microwave oven is producing is to look at the product specification sheet that came with it or call the device’s manufacturer and ask them..
Q. How well does a 700-watt microwave work?
A. 700 watts is an excellent output for a microwave oven.
It is about standard for first and second-generation models.
However, many people with second or third-generation models have found them to be too powerful for their purposes and have upgraded to larger models or replaced them with conventional ovens. .
The main problem with 700 watts is that it does not produce enough power to cook foods quickly fast enough.
A 1000 watt microwave will generally match the time that 700-watt units require in most (but not all) applications and is acceptable if you are keen on food being cooked quickly using only one recipe per day..
Q. Can I Overclock a microwave oven?
A. There is no way to overclock a microwave oven.
All you can do is make the magnetron produce more power, but this will only increase the amount of time it takes for your food to be heated. .
However, you can make your microwave oven more efficient by placing more significant amounts of food inside the oven at once or by cooking a more significant number of items at once (e.g., one or two dishes compared to one dish at a time) using one or two cook settings or cooking times.