When you buy a microwave oven you expect it to provide many years of dependable service. Modern microwaves are well-made and most are built to last. However, there are things you can do to keep your oven in good condition and prolong its usefulness. These seven tips will help you get the most from your microwave and avoid many headaches.

1. Read the instructions. Learning all about your oven will keep you from making mistakes that shorten its lifespan. These papers may contain valuable information. For instance, you can find out how to cook, defrost, and use all of the other functions. In fact, you may discover functions that you didn't know you had.

2. Keep it clean. A dirty oven makes for unhealthy cooking and can cause people in the household to become ill. Also, when bits of food become lodged in turn table rollers, it can result in premature wear. Dirty appliances corrode much quicker than clean ones and you could be buying a new oven before you know it. The best way to keep your oven clean is to cover everything before cooking or heating. This will keep you from spending your weekends scraping cheese from the inside walls and ceilings.

3. Utilize child lockout functions. Raising kids is one of life's great pleasures, but also one of life's biggest challenges. Nothing shortens the life of a good microwave like scientific experiments. Kids have been known to place aluminum foil inside of microwave ovens, just to see what happens.This can cause serious damage and may result in a fire hazard. There is only way to insure that children do not use the appliance unsupervised, and that is to lock them out.

4. Maintain the door latch. When you clean the oven make sure to clean off the latch too. If not, it will soon get sticky and the door may not operate properly. In time, this will cause excessive wear on your door latch. Keep it clean and if it sticks, apply a tiny amount of cooking oil.

5. Consider surge protection. If you live in an area with frequent lightning, you should invest in surge protection for your appliances. Whole house protection is best and will more than pay for itself with one major power surge. Many power companies have special offers and programs for home electrical surge protection, and they will provide you with a free inspection. If you cannot afford a whole house system, buy surge protection strips and be certain that you use one with the proper rating for your oven.

6. Know when to say goodbye. At some point your old oven will see its better day. Instead of hanging on and making life inconvenient for you and the family, buy a new microwave oven. Today's ovens are not overly expensive and come with more power and features than ever before. Also, consider buying a two year extended warranty. They do not cost much and if you have a major problem in the first two years, you can return the appliance for a new one. Not everyone advises buying extended warranties but they provide something very important, peace of mind.

7. Microwave ovens must be disposed of properly. Never place them inside of trash barrels to be picked up. They contain radioactive materials and are considered hazardous waste. Contact your local refuse company and find out how you can properly dispose of your old oven.

Alice Folsom is a free lance writer that writes about many things in the home. You can visit her product review blog site at http://aj-product-reviews.blogspot.com/ for honest reviews on a variety of home products.

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