There is no doubt that microwaves are popular and most welcome domestic appliances. First of all, this device offers the convenience that you cannot find from conventional cooking methods.
With a microwave, you can, for example, warm or cook a meal fast, eat and run off to do some other business. Microwave cooking simply means that your food will absorb the microwaves that will make the molecules therein to vibrate at approximately 2500 million times per second.
In the process, this high vibration of water generates heat within thereby cooking it. It is pretty much like someone rubbing their hands to warm up, and this is the logic behind the machine’s fast cooking. Besides speedy cooking, you can also confirm that meals cooked by this device are indeed nutritious.
Interesting to note as well is the fact that microwaves don’t flare up the temperature in the kitchen, unlike gas and electricity. Your kitchen and the rooms around it remain cool when you are cooking because it has less heating effect even on the utensils.
It is also safe and clean. Safe because of the absence of fire and its clean because it takes a very little time to clean since food spatters in an oven don’t stick hard. You just have to make a point of wiping up the spills occasionally using a damp cloth.
Wi-Fi on the other hand is a wireless concept that uses radio waves to offer wireless fast internet and connected networks. It is traced to a number of wireless networking technologies that are premised on the IEEE 802.11 standards that mostly apply to internet access and local area networking
The Microwave and Wifi signal difference
Microwaves and Wi-Fi operate on a similar frequency but different range. That notwithstanding, these two gadgets have two very significant differences with regard to focus and power. A microwave usually sends out its signal in a single direction while a Wi-Fi router does it in an Omni-directional manner.
Omni-directional means that the router can send its signal in a rough circle in every direction. The microwave sends its signal to hit the area near the centre of the oven and continues to hit the wall after which it bounces back at a different angle.
The nature of radio waves means that the gadget’s system isn’t perfect, and that is why every microwave has cold and hot spots. It is for this reason that these devices have spinning plates.
Comparatively, a microwave uses much more power than a Wi-Fi router. Typically, it generates 1000 watts of power while the Wi-Fi routers generate approximately 100 mill watts which is 0.1 watt of power. Therefore, to cook anything on a Wi-Fi routers power, you would have to boost its power output by about 10000 times.
Electromagnetic Radiation exposure
Did you know that your entire being is always entangled in or exposed to some form of electromagnetic radiation? Well, that is true because even the visible light we enjoy every day is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Many other gadgets including TV remotes, cell phones, Wi-Fi, microwave ovens and plenty more leverage electromagnetic radiation.
Electromagnetic radiation varies, and it manifests depending on its frequency. X-rays and Gamma rays for example come in high energy and frequencies as well. On the other side, microwaves and radio waves have lower frequencies
Wi-Fi routers and Microwave ovens, which present as the most common domestic appliances both emit electromagnetic rays to function. To heat the food, the oven emits microwaves while Wi-Fi routers emit or release radio waves.
Although physically different, radio waves and microwaves are primarily classified under electromagnetic radiation, and it makes sense for them to clash or why Microwave affect Wi-Fi and can microwave kill Wi-Fi connection?
Despite the above flowery attributes about the microwave, it is also true that the technology behind its function and operation can be annoyingly disruptive to your home or office Wi-Fi signal.
In fact, it may not only affect your Wi-Fi signal, but you will experience a loss of internet connectivity on most of your wireless devices once a microwave oven starts running.
You must have noticed that when its running, the network signal on other gadgets like your laptop, and Smartphone immediately become weak, and suddenly you start having challenges with loading web pages. This happens more when your router and microwave are located within each other’s range.
What explains this phenomenon? Well, this interference happens because both gadgets (The Microwave oven and Wi-Fi) operate at the same 2.4 GHz frequency. Ideally, a properly built microwave should not emit any radiation, but that is what happens typically. They leak significant measures of radiation causing radio frequency or electromagnetic interference.
Wi-Fi is a radio signal that operates on a higher frequency than the one most regular broadcast radios operate on. If your Wi-Fi is running at 2.4 GHz, then it can be also be jolted by common 802.11g and 802b wireless devices like baby monitors, Bluetooth devices, video senders and cordless telephones.
Other devices that can slow or interfere with you Wi-Fi connectivity are touch-controlled lamps, electric bug zappers, and ultrasonic pest control devices, heating pads, electric blankets and toaster ovens.
How to fix microwave interference with Wi-Fi
Are scratching your head wondering how to block microwave from Wi-Fi? Well, the best way to resolve this issue is to upgrade to a Wi-Fi system that works on a 5 GHz band. This includes the most recent routers, like the 802.11n and the 802.11ac.
You could also resort to using the auto channel although this option is more favorable to users with several Wi-Fi signals in a commonplace. In such a setting, you can switch channels to mitigate the micro-wave jamming effect hence resolving the Wireless router microwave interference
If, for some reason you are unable to upgrade your Wi-Fi to 5GHz, you can move your router away from the microwave. This idea has proved quite effective in stopping those erratic Wi-Fi interruptions. If you live in a smaller house, it may be a challenge to create the distance, so you can just move the router close to the device.
While this may not guarantee to end your woes, you can rest assured that the signal will be more reliable and it will give you better reception. This should satisfy this ever nagging question; why does microwave interfere with the Wi-Fi?
If after trying most of the above remedies you are still getting interruptions, then you may have to turn your full attention to the microwave. Only a faulty microwave can defy all the above solutions, and if that is the case, then most likely the door or shield has a severe leakage. Think about replacing the device and ignore the idea of repairing because there is no guarantee that it won’t leak again.
Testing your microwave shielding
Testing the shielding after fixing can be a tricky affair, but one tried and tested idea is to put a 2.4 GHz cordless phone inside the device. Without turning on the microwave, check to confirm if it is communicating with its base station. If the shield is working well, the cordless phone will not pick the base station signal.
The last and most inexpensive option is to expect much less in terms of internet while the microwave is switched on. Meanwhile, you can pause or disconnect the internet and wait patiently for the microwave to wind up its task.
Such an approach can forestall any disappointments as you manage the challenge. It is quite annoying to keep losing connectivity but when you understand the challenges involved, just take a break from work to give room to the microwave to cook
Is Wi-Fi bad for your health?
For many years electronics have leveraged the 2.4 and 5GHz spectrum, and so far, there is no real evidence that Wi-Fi is harmful to human health. Apparently, its ubiquitous nature in modern society has provoked a reactionary response among an increasing minority who cling to a near-religious belief that Wi-Fi signals are dangerous to human health.
They sensationally claim that too much exposure to the Wi-Fi signals may or actually leads to a condition called electromagnetic sensitivity.
Anti- Wi-Fi activists rely heavily on onerous scientific terms like radiation which average people associate more with X-rays, nuclear accidents and related exposure. But, what is precisely is radiation? Well, scientifically speaking, radiation is energy moving through space which means that even all the light around us is a form of radiation. The main difference is that RF or Radio Frequency signals constitute non-ionizing radiation which cannot destroy cells and tissues.
Besides, all RF (Radio Frequency) signals generated by phone antennas, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in any device are tested by the US authorities to ensure that they fall with the safety limits. Wi-Fi signals account for a relatively small amount of the total radio frequency exposure that people swim in every day.
One study was conducted by the University of Barcelona measuring the RF of 529 European youngsters aged eight to eighteen years over a period of three days. The results showed that Wi-Fi Signals represented just 4 % of the total radio frequency exposure.
1. 62 % originated from cellular base station signals
2. 23% from radio systems and broadcast TY
3. 11% from cell phones
Overall the exposure was roughly 0.001% that of the acceptable safety limits set by the European Commission. These are much similar to the safety limits imposed by the US Federal Communication Commission.
A 2013 report issued by the Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety in France similarly issued that exposure beyond the5GHz and 2.4GHz does not show any health risk from radio frequency signals.
“No available data necessitates the proposal of new exposure limit values for the general population,” the report said
Furthermore, in 2016 the same agency looked into the Radio Frequency exposure to kids from walkie talkies, toys and various other sources. They concluded that the available data did not warrant any alarm to that effect. Instead, they established that the so-called electromagnetic sensitivity is more likely due to the use of mobile phones and not the frequencies that they emit
All there is to know about the microwave oven
As mentioned earlier on, a microwave is a wave of electrical and magnetic energy that moves through space. It is a type of electromagnetic radiation. Microwaves have different uses including
1. Sending television and telephone communications
2. Detecting over speeding cars.
3. Industries also use this technology to dry and cure plywood.
4. It to cure resins and rubber
5. Bakeries use it raise doughnuts
6. It cooks potato chips
7. Cooks domestic foods
Three characteristics make it possible for microwaves to cook and these are;
1. Metal reflects them
2. Microwaves pass through plastic, paper glass and such materials
3. Food absorbs them
How microwaves cook
There is within this device an electron tube called a magnetron whose primary purpose is to produce microwaves. These are then reflected by the metallic oven interior to be absorbed by the food.
They then cause the water molecules in the food to rub against each other, thereby creating the heat that is necessary to cook the food. That explains why any foods that have higher water content, i.e. vegetables cook much faster than other foods.
Does food get contaminated or radioactive? Not at all, because the microwave energy usually converts into heat as the food absorbs it. It may also help to mention that even though heat is generated directly within the food, the ovens do not cook, say, the vegetables inside out.
The outer food layers are primarily cooked by the bouncing microwaves while the inner portions cook mainly by the heat conducted from the heated outer layers.
Glass, plastic, ceramic containers and paper are used in these cooking devices because their material conduct microwaves well. And while the microwave activity cannot heat these containers, they will become hot because of the cooking food.
You need to be careful when choosing the plastic to use because very-low-density plastic can quickly melt or lose shape due to the heating food. Also, aluminum foils and metal pans should not be used since microwaves naturally bounce off, and this can cause the food to cook badly. At worst, the oven can be damaged. Make sure to read the user manual carefully because therein is indicated which containers to use and which one to avoid.
How to avoid injuries from superheated water?
Several years back, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) filed numerous reports regarding people who had sustained severe injuries as a result of hot liquids erupting from an overheated cup. Usually, superheated water seldom shows signs of boiling until it is disturbed, and most people have suffered injuries while pouring in a spoon of coffee or sugar.
Such addition may trigger a violent eruption that may spill the heated contents to any vulnerable part of your body. To minimize this risk, you may add the sugar or beverage in advance before heating. Also, ensure that you do not heat beyond the recommended heating times.
Microwave Oven Safety Standards
The FDA through the Center for Devices and Radiological Health has set benchmarks within which electronic products must perform to ensure that the consumer is not affected by emission from radiation. In one Federal standard [21 CFR 1030.10], the regulator says that the amount of microwaves that should leak from an oven should not exceed five mill-watts of radiation in every square centimeter at about two inches from the oven surface.
This mark is way below the levels known to affect a person, and it also encourages learning that the further you are from the microwave, the weaker the leaked energy.
Furthermore, the regulator expects an oven to come with two separate interlock systems that should stop producing microwaves immediately, the door is opened or once the latch is released. Equally critical is a monitoring system that should stop the oven from working just in case any of the interlock systems fail.
Each oven must have a label clearly indicating that it meets the FDA safety benchmarks. What’s more, the manufacture must stick a label detailing precautions for use. Exceptionally, though, this requirement may not apply to a manufacturer who proves that his product will operate within the leakage limits.
Interestingly FDA leaves nothing to chance because they usually test every microwave oven in their labs before allowing them into the market. They also walk into factories to evaluate the manufacturers’ quality control policies and radiation testing standards.
Microwave Ovens and body Tissue
Excessive exposure to leaked microwave radiation can have adverse effects on body tissue. It can act on body tissue pretty much the way heats food, and if not handled well, the gadget can inflict painful burns. The two body parts that you must shield from these radio frequencies are the testes for men and your eyes.
They are vulnerable to the radio frequency because their blood flow is not enough to carry off the extra heat. What’s more, the eyes are sensitive to heat and can easily develop cataracts when exposed to higher levels of microwaves.
How do Radiation Injuries compare to Microwave Ovens burns?
The majority of injuries attributed to microwave ovens are related to heat burns from exploding liquids, overheated foods or hot containers. Radiation related burns are quite rare, mostly due to unprofessional servicing among other unusual circumstances.
As earlier indicated, radiation injuries can only occur due to excess radiation leakage through gaps in the seals. On this one though, the FDA has got your back since they require optimum oven designs to prioritize the prevention of high radiation leakage.
Do Microwave ovens affect pacemakers?
At some point in the past, some concerns were raised regarding the possibility of microwave radiation leaks interfering with some electronic cardiac pacemakers. Related concerns followed citing interference to these support machines from auto ignition systems, electric shavers and more electronic products.
Although the FDA doesn’t specifically impress upon microwave ovens to display warnings for people using pacemakers, this challenge is entirely resolved since modern pacemakers are designed to counter any such electrical interference. Nonetheless, pacemaker users are advised to consult their personal doctors if they have any reason to worry.
How to check your oven for Leakage and related radiation safety problems?
You should not be overly concerned about the possibility of microwave leaks happening unless your seals, latch or hinges are damaged. The regulator [FDA] advises examining your oven very keenly and not using it once you notice the slightest structural error.
This entails flaws like if it is warped, bent or maybe not just closing correctly. The FDA closely follows up radiation-related issues, and indeed they have filed reports of microwaves that still operate when the door is open. Ideally, a standard microwave must-have safety features that discontinue operations the moment its door is open.
Should you continue heating the food when the door is unlocked, then you cannot be assured that the gadget is not emitting radiation. Any such turn of events must alarm you to stop using it immediately, and that is what the FDA recommends.
What to do once you notice a microwave oven radiation safety problem?
Immediately you notice a radiation leak on your microwave; you can contact the gadget manufacturer. By law, such a manufacturer is supposed to notify the FDA as soon as possible. As a requirement, anyone whether a manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or retailer who picks up a defect that is likely to leak radiation must also report.
Quick tips on safe Microwave oven operation
1. Carefully read through the user manual and observe all the safety precautions
2. Only use the specific cookware provided the manufacturer
3. Never use an oven whose door is faulty.
4. Never use a microwave even if it works with an open door
5. As an added layer of safety, keep a reasonable distance from a cooking oven and discourage your children as well.
6. Never heat liquids in the oven for periods beyond the manufacturer’s recommendation
7. Regular cleaning of your microwave oven is highly recommended but while cleaning avoid steel wool, scouring pads and similar abrasives.
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