While some units from the 1970s remain in use, the typical service life for a microwave oven is about 2,500 hours. A number of signs will signify that a microwave may need replacing.
Here are three signs that a foodservice operator may need to replace a microwave oven.
Cooking Performance: Generally, microwaves either work or they don't. However, if cooking times are getting longer, there may be a reduction of power. For older units, this may signify that the unit is at the end of its service life.
Cost of Repair: When a component in the microwave needs replacing, it is time to evaluate the oven's value. A majority of owners will choose to replace the unit when the cost of repair exceeds 50 percent of the cost to replace. Often the most expensive parts to go out in an oven are electronics, including circuit boards, displays and touch panels. The cost of service can also be a big factor in the overall cost of repair.
Continuous Flashing Codes: Most microwaves have internal diagnostics and code flashes. If a code appears and unplugging the unit for a short period doesn't reset the system, call a service agent.
Note that door latches and switches have sensors that are required by code. Commercial microwaves will not operate if these are compromised.
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