The top of your microwave getting hot can easily spike your anxiety, worrying whether it is normal or defective. This brings us to the answer to your question: Is it normal for top of microwave to get hot? Yes, it is normal for the top of your microwave to heat up, but only to a given extent. Generally, heating food in your microwave for a significant amount of time will cause the generated heat to transfer to the exterior of your microwave oven. However, your microwave should simply be warm to the touch, not burning hot.
The exterior temperatures of your oven will often vary depending on the food type and the cooking duration. Foods that naturally contain a lot of moisture will generate a lot of steam when heated, which in turn heats up the microwave components. On the other hand, dry foods such as popcorn have no water molecules to absorb the waves emitted by the appliance’s magnetron, resulting in overheating and damaging of its magnets.
While a considerable amount of heat may be normal, if the top of your microwave consistently overheats in every use, it may be time to investigate the possible causes. Excessive heat can not only cause a fire within your microwave oven, but it can also shorten the appliance’s lifespan.
Why Does the Exterior Case of Over-the-Range Microwave Get Hot?
Mounted above your cooktop, over-the-range microwave ovens often double as a hood vent in your kitchen. That said, the first possible reason for the heating of its exterior could simply be because it is positioned above a heating appliance. Additionally, leaving the cooktop lights on for an extended duration could cause the exterior case to heat. Usually, microwave ovens are marked with a triangular symbol with waves to indicate that the exterior could heat up due to normal cases such as the magnetron tube and the interior lamp transferring heat to its casing.
Besides these common reasons, a hot exterior case could be caused by a faulty fan. The microwave fan often serves to ventilate the interior components allowing the oven to maintain a reasonable temperature. If you can no longer hear the low humming sound of your microwave fan, then the fan may be defective. Furthermore, for the fan to easily expel the heat, it is important to keep the vents unobstructed from any barriers around it.
Your microwave will heat up if there is any congestion around the vents. Maintain at least 8 inches of space from the vent to the nearest surface. This will allow your microwave oven adequate space to cool down.
Why is the Top of a Microwave Still Hot After it is Turned Off?
Generally, a microwave oven takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to cool off after prolonged use. Therefore, the top of your microwave is likely to still feel hot minutes after it is turned off. If you are using your microwave oven too frequently at a time, it may be advisable to take breaks in between to allow it to cool off. Keep the oven door open to allow your appliance to cool faster.
The top of a microwave oven staying hot long after it is turned off may however be a cause for concern and a potential safety hazard. While the continuous heat may be caused by your microwave being positioned too close to a heating appliance, it could also be caused by a fused component or a fault in the control board.
Check if your microwave is correctly switched off, unplug it from the switch, and look out for any stuck buttons to ensure that it is completely disconnected. Microwaves with inbuilt safety features are designed to automatically switch off in case of excessive overheating of the magnetron. If the overheating continues, you may need to replace your microwave oven or contact an expert to help you find the best solution.