Microwave question

Susan1

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Any electricians out there? I can't afford to have someone come and tell me it's not an electrical problem, so Here's the thing - a couple weeks ago, my parents' 19 year old microwave died. (me and my long stories - just trying to cover all the bases!) I know when they got it because it was when my mom was sick and my dad went out and got a new microwave because he was going to have to be fixing her food. The first one that had actually just had a dial!, But they only ever used it to heat up coffee or water for tea. I can't imagine! So, when I moved into this house in 2008, I brought my microwave, but kept it in a plastic bag in case of emergency.

So, a couple weeks ago, the 19 year old microwave worked in the morning, but in the evening, the turntable didn't turn and it smelled like it burnt out. I unplugged it. I don't know what dates were what with all the snow and ice and rain and below zero temperatures.........................I got out my old microwave and it was all rusted inside! Believe me, it was always sparkling clean after every use. I think because it was in a plastic bag on a counter next to an outside wall all these years?

So, I went out to Menard's to get a microwave because I could use the 11% rebate on a furnace filter later. I got a Criterion (I guess their brand?). I don't need a big one. It was cheap and cute and black. I had to have someone put it in my trunk and then when I got home I got it as far as the laundry room and scooted it the rest of the way. The box and styrofoam and everything weighs more than the actual oven. And it's all impossible to get out.

It worked for 8 days. Then it pretty much boiled my instant breakfast in one minute. I had to use a pot holder to get it out and couldn't touch the glass for 2 hours. So............I took that back - having someone at the store take it out of the trunk.

I came home and researched. The old microwave was a Sharp and that's on the lists of good brands. So I got one at Best Buy. All they had was white. This was this Saturday. Sunday night it started screeching. It worked, but I didn't think the screeching was a good thing! I thought it was the turntable or the roller guide, but the guy at Best Buy said it was probably the motor underneath.

So, electrician-wise - I couldn't have hurt the outlet where it was plugged in when the first one died, or none of them would have worked right when I plugged them in? Or am I just having "Murphy's microwaves" - that is my maiden name.

I returned it to Best Buy and got another. I had the guy in appliances test the floor model. He had to plug it in in the washers and go get a bowl of water to heat. It did not screech. I haven't dropped them or done anything different. I'm afraid to plug the new one in because I explained all that in the store and they won't take another one back if the outlet is killing them. All of them are 1100 watts. And they worked o.k. at first.

Man, I've had maybe three microwaves since the 80's. They get old (or get left in the house with the divorce) and you go out and get another one and everything is fine. One of the salespeople in Best Buy said things don't last as long anymore because of all the energy efficient stuff they have to have now. That's the same thing the refrigerator guy said when I had to get a new one because the old one didn't get cold enough after the three day power failure. Six months later, some part had to be replaced. I had to have the 25 year old water heater replaced and a year later I had to have it drained.

Anyway, should I plug in this microwave? It will work tonight, but for how many days. Thanks.
 

rvi5

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I am not an electrician, but I did renovate my basement a few years ago. Installing outlets, lights, switches, wall wiring, and circuit breakers. All done legally with a permit, and city inspections.

I don’t see how an electrical outlet would cause devices to become defective. If the outlet was damaged, it would either be open or a short circuit. If open, it just wouldn’t allow electricity to flow ie. nothing would work. If the outlet is shorted, the house circuit breaker would be tripped, stopping the flow of electricity. If the circuit breaker failed to trip, the wires in your walls would overheat and possibly start a fire.

Outlets don’t pump electricity into appliances. It is the appliance that draws the electricity it needs from the outlet. If an appliance draws too much electrical current, or you have too many operating appliances on the same circuit (exceeding the typical 15 amp current capacity of normal house wiring), the circuit breaker should trip.

I suspect you are just having a string of bad luck with your purchases.


ETA: It is possible for delicate appliances to become damaged from the house electrical system, if there is an abnormal change in voltage. In North America, the household voltage should be 120V, and is controlled by the power company. If there were to be a voltage spike ie. a power surge, an appliance could become damaged. A surge would likely affect all outlets throughout your home, not just one. However, I don’t think that is your problem.
 
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WildRose

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I’ve had the same problem with new microwaves. They just don’t make them like they used to. I had one that lasted less than a month and another that didn’t even make it through a week. Different brands. I took them back. The one we have now has been working for a couple of years.
 

Japanfan

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Airpopped, not microwave?
Actually, I preferring making popcorn the traditional way, in a pot on the stove. They put too many chemicals and flavors into the microwave popcorn. Though it's probably possible just to put the regular corns from the bag in the microwave, as opposed to actual 'microwave' popcorn.
 

Susan1

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I am not an electrician, but I did renovate my basement a few years ago. Installing outlets, lights, switches, wall wiring, and circuit breakers. All done legally with a permit, and city inspections.

I don’t see how an electrical outlet would cause devices to become defective. If the outlet was damaged, it would either be open or a short circuit. If open, it just wouldn’t allow electricity to flow ie. nothing would work. If the outlet is shorted, the house circuit breaker would be tripped, stopping the flow of electricity. If the circuit breaker failed to trip, the wires in your walls would overheat and possibly start a fire.

Outlets don’t pump electricity into appliances. It is the appliance that draws the electricity it needs from the outlet. If an appliance draws too much electrical current, or you have too many operating appliances on the same circuit (exceeding the typical 15 amp current capacity of normal house wiring), the circuit breaker should trip.

I suspect you are just having a string of bad luck with your purchases.


ETA: It is possible for delicate appliances to become damaged from the house electrical system, if there is an abnormal change in voltage. In North America, the household voltage should be 120V, and is controlled by the power company. If there were to be a voltage spike ie. a power surge, an appliance could become damaged. A surge would affect all outlets throughout your home, not just one. However, I don’t think that is your problem.
thank you, thank you, thank you! I really didn't think it was the outlet's fault, but three microwaves in three weeks?????? 19 years old, I understand. I've been using it practically every day since 2007. I was wondering if it was "drawing too much electrical current" because it was old. But no circuit breakers did anything. The microwave is on the same wall as the stove, and the dryer is on the other side of the wall, but I've never had any of those things on at the same time! We have short power outages in this neighborhood in storms or for no reason at least twice a year. Never when the microwave was running though.

The Criterion was cheap - $69. Rats.

I got the Sharp at Best Buy because the old one was a Sharp. It's white, which I don't like and the light doesn't come on when you open the door, which is not something I would have ever thought to research. But the others were stainless steel or too big to sit on the counter between the stove and wall. The only ones at Home Depot were in boxes. And I will never buy another thing at Lowe's. I was afraid to try Walmart. huh. Whatever happened to furniture/appliance stores? My dad used to buy t.v.s and stereos and microwaves, etc. at Rex or Roberd's (local).

I already had my cold instant breakfast. I'll go plug it in and test it with water now, which won't tell me anything, since none of them went kapooey right away.

Have you tried a different outlet?
Yep. I don't know why somebody put "ha ha" faces on your question. That was a legit question! I had to pick the third one up and carry it across the room to plug it in. But it was after it was making the screeching noise, so even if it would have been the other outlet's fault, it was already broken. It screeched in the other outlet too. I wanted them to test it at Best Buy and see if it screeched there. But again, whatever was screeching would have screeched.
Airpopped, not microwave?
I've never made popcorn. My dad used to. I remember having some when I stayed here after my broken leg. And I remember always smelling burnt popcorn at National City.

Here I go...........(who would think you would be nervous about a new microwave working. Man.......)
 

purple skates

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Actually, I preferring making popcorn the traditional way, in a pot on the stove. They put too many chemicals and flavors into the microwave popcorn. Though it's probably possible just to put the regular corns from the bag in the microwave, as opposed to actual 'microwave' popcorn.
Yes. Just put plain popcorn kernels in a paper bag, fold the top over a couple times, and microwave until just before they stop popping. No oil needed.
 

Susan1

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it works for 1 minute with water (today)
p.s. I was looking at the back for the Serial # to fill out the warranty and noticed the manufacturing date was December 2018. The previous screechy one was November 2018. I hope that makes a difference.

My dad used to buy t.v.s and stereos and microwaves, etc. at Rex or Roberd's (local).
Oh! How could I forget Sears for the big stuff. Before the big box stores and Walmart, all we had was a Kmart. Nobody would have bought a t.v. or microwave there. I'm just having another nostalgia week.
 
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rvi5

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...The microwave is on the same wall as the stove, and the dryer is on the other side of the wall, but I've never had any of those things on at the same time!...
Because of the power it draws, a stove would always be on a separate circuit. Probably 40 or 50 amps, with it’s own circuit breaker. Kitchen outlets would be on 15 amp circuits separate from other outlets in the home, because people will use toasters, coffee makers, deep fryers, waffle irons, etc. All generate heat, which requires more power. The electrical code where I live, also require kitchen outlets be “split” duplex ie. all the top outlets are connected on a separate circuit from the bottom outlets. Although all the top kitchen outlets are on the same circuit as the other top kitchen outlets. Likewise with the bottom outlets. I once had a circuit breaker trip while I was using a deep fryer and a toaster/oven simultaneously (on opposite sides of the kitchen). The problem was solved by reconnecting the deep fryer into a bottom outlet.

ETA: As you mentioned, your original microwave was old and couldn’t last forever.

The Criterion was inexpensive, and likely low quality. It must have been dangerous, emitting high microwave radiation. I have an old Micronta hand held microwave testing device which I can move around the perimeter of the microwave door. The meter’s pointer shows microwave leakage, verifying the door seal is intact.

Screeching sounds are typically mechanical, not electrical. Revolving metal parts rubbing, or motor bearing issues (likely a circulation fan or turn-table motor).
 
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Simone411

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@Susan1, I tried to find an online image of my old Panasonic Microwave with no luck. I'm afraid it's very prehistoric by now. It's one that would be similar to yours I believe. It has the turntable inside, and knobs or dials to turn for the timing and high, medium, low controls. It has a push button at the bottom right to open the door, and another smaller button beside it to push when you want the microwave to start. I purchased it in 1981, and that makes it 38 years old.

Now that I've mentioned how old it is, I think I better knock on wood. I know I'm definitely going to miss it, and I don't know enough about the digital ones. I know exactly how to time what I heat up or cook in the microwave, and it's never burned up anything. With the digital, I'm afraid I would burn up everything. I guess I won't have a choice if my microwave finally plays out. I know you definitely can't find one like mine anymore!

Susan, it could be possible that you may be having power surges in the outlet you used. So it wouldn't hurt to try another outlet.
 

Yazmeen

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Checked with hubby the engineer: if it were a power surge, it would have likely blown a fuse and stopped working. His take is that you've simply had bad luck with the ones you bought, not an outlet or power issue.
 

Susan1

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It has the turntable inside, and knobs or dials to turn for the timing and high, medium, low controls.
Nah. The very first microwave my parents had had the dial - in the 70's?. I don't even think it had the turntable! All my parents did was heat water for tea or leftover coffee occasionally. My first microwave in 1988 (from Roberd's, Prancer) was digital and had a turntable and everything. It went with me when I got married and stayed in the house when I got divorced. I wish I would have taken my microwave cart with me. It was so cute - a cabinet at the bottom and the top, but there wasn't anywhere in the apartment to put it. The microwave that just died was manufactured in 1999. It's still out in the garage. I don't know how I'm going to get it to the curb. I guess I could put it in my trunk and drive it. ha ha
The Criterion was inexpensive, and likely low quality. It must have been dangerous, emitting high microwave radiation.
It got only bad reviews on Amazon - for buttons and things stopping working, not for boiling milk! Would it have been dangerous the 8 days I used it? I would have been sitting at the breakfast bar with my back to it while it was running across the room. I never stand right in front of it. It heated up the instant breakfast fine for one minute in the morning. It was later when I was fixing one, like making hot chocolate, after I was so cold outside blowing snow that the milk got so hot. It ran normally for that minute. Nothing obvious was wrong till I couldn't touch the glass for 2 hours. I'm lucky the glass didn't shatter in there. I poured it in another glass and drank it later. I poured some cold milk on top so it didn't taste so burnt. Should I be checked for radiation poisoning???
Screeching sounds are typically mechanical, not electrical. Revolving metal parts rubbing, or motor bearing issues (likely a circulation fan or turn-table motor).
That's what the guy at Best Buy said. I thought it was the roller guide or wheels rubbing cause it's a lot thinner and rougher (i.e. cheaper) than the one that came out of the previous microwave. But I compared it to the floor model and it was the same.

I have now successfully cooked a quiche for 3 minutes. Day one down.
 
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rvi5

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It was a new microwave, so I assume the door seal would be sufficiently tight to prevent any microwave leakage.
 

rvi5

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Microwave radiation is not like radiation produced by a nuclear bomb. Microwaves only affect the food while the oven is running. It does not make the food, container, or oven radioactive after it stops. Otherwise, we would all be in trouble from eating microwaved food. The biggest danger from a microwave oven, is being exposed to microwaves from having a poorly sealed door.

The magnetron in your microwave must have gone wild, producing enough magnetic radiation to heat the liquid so hot you couldn’t touch it for two hours. Fortunately, it would have remained trapped within the oven if the door seal is good.
 

Susan1

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Microwave radiation is not like radiation produced by a nuclear bomb.
That's too bad. I have fantasies of moving the van next door that blocks the snow plow with my bare hands! :revenge:

it would have remained trapped within the oven if the door seal is good.
Being a cheap microwave that did what it did, who knows if the door seal was good.

It steamed up inside just doing the instant breakfast for one minute. Any microwave I've ever had only does that with a frozen dinner at 5 or 6 minutes.

Don't buy a Criterion microwave!
 

Susan1

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Another long one - microwave related! All the negatives in the reviews are about not having a light come on when you open the door. Even with the overhead light on and the range hood light next to it, I block my own light because there is a cabinet above it. I already take most things out when I have to stir them in between, but I was wondering how I was going to see to clean if something splashes on the ceiling. I have never not cleaned stuff off immediately after that happened. I was thinking I would need a miner's light on my head or something.........so I was looking through one of those coupon magazines that come in the mail, and what do I see - a swivel lens headlamp at Harbor Freight Tool. Free with purchase.

So, part 2, or prequel, two weeks ago I was at CVS and I was getting the coupons out of the machine hoping there was one for batteries. A lady before me was just folding hers up and I said I was hoping for one for batteries. She said you can get free batteries at Harbor Freight. Huh? She had about 20 cut out things for Harbor Freight and some of them were batteries. She said you can buy something for $1 at the register and get whatever the free coupon is for. And they are good for a long time. The ones today - headlamp, tape measure and microfiber cloths are good till June something.

The male clerk there said yes, you could get free stuff there and they might have tape. So I put the masking tape back and bought whatever else it was I was getting and went to Harbor Freight (across the street from the Menard's where I had just returned the microwave before I came back down here to CVS!). So I found masking tape and the batteries - 24 of them. They play classic rock in there. I was walking up and down the aisles singing Goody Two Shoes trying to see if there was anything else in there I could buy eventually! No. They don't really have little hardware store items. Just Tools and big stuff. Not even any cleaning supplies or trash bags or anything. The lady at the cash register said I was lucky to find masking tape. But next time I could buy the $1 key chain flashlight at the register and get whatever was free. Plus there is always a 20% coupon on the page.

Maybe I can use the AA batteries in the headlamp. ha ha
 

taf2002

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With batteries you get what you pay for. In my experience any batteries that have a store name on them rather than a known brand name don't last very long. YMMV

I don't understand not buying a microwave at KMart or Walmart. They sell the same brands as a more expensive store.
 

Susan1

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With batteries you get what you pay for. In my experience any batteries that have a store name on them rather than a known brand name don't last very long. YMMV

I don't understand not buying a microwave at KMart or Walmart. They sell the same brands as a more expensive store.
I figured the batteries will be expired by the time I can use 24 of them anyway. Except I go through a lot of name brand batteries with the remote in the family room. I might as well go through a lot of free ones. I flip channels and record and FF DVRd things and check the guide a lot. Knock on wood - the remote in the bedroom has only had to have the batteries changed once since 2012. Same remote too. I've had to replace the one in the family room two times since.

Store price was not an issue with the microwaves. The Sharp cost almost twice what the Criterion was. Menard's - I went there during the 11% rebate promotion, so I could use that on a furnace filter. Silly me, I figured things from Best Buy would be more reliable than Walmart, more stock turnover or something. (We don't have any Kmarts anymore anyway.) Plus available help picking one out and parking distance and the ease of return (who knew!) ............
 
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Susan1

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I figured the batteries will be expired by the time I can use 24 of them anyway. Except I go through a lot of name brand batteries with the remote in the family room. I might as well go through a lot of free ones. I flip channels and record and FF DVRd things and check the guide a lot. Knock on wood - the remote in the bedroom has only had to have the batteries changed once since 2012. Same remote too. I've had to replace the one in the family room two times since.

Store price was not an issue with the microwaves. The Sharp cost almost twice what the Criterion was. Menard's - I went there during the 11% rebate promotion, so I could use that on a furnace filter. Silly me, I figured things from Best Buy would be more reliable than Walmart, more stock turnover or something. (We don't have any Kmarts anymore anyway.) Plus available help picking one out and parking distance and the ease of return (who knew!) ............
Me again - if I wouldn't have been so stressed out, I would have looked more at the name brand microwaves at Menard's when I took the first one back and got a bigger 11% rebate. The first time I just measured the black one and figured it would be fine. A bigger one wouldn't have fit on the counter and I didn't want a stainless steel one or one that had more preset buttons. I don't even know what else was there. I came home and researched microwaves and found Sharp (which is what the old one was) on the list of recommended microwaves and at Best Buy It shouldn't be so hard to buy a microwave that works, considering the old one was 19 years old.
 

Rob

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Maybe use a surge protector in that outlet if you think you are experiencing power surges?
Sharp makes a lot of microwaves for other brands. I redid two kitchens last year, and I learned that a lot of brands are really Sharp, and for dishwashers, a lot of brands are really Bosch. They make them for a lot of companies that just put on the handle and a tag to match your other appliances.
 

Susan1

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Maybe use a surge protector in that outlet if you think you are experiencing power surges?
Nope, the power (clock, motor, etc.) has never stopped or hitched or whatever. It's the stupid microwaves. The saga continues...........for the last couple days this one has been making a little clink when it first starts. It sounds like the inside, but I can't stick my face up next to it while it is doing it. I've read that people have had their new glass turntable crack. I un-bagged my old microwave to see if that glass would fit, just in case. No.
Stupidness...Every one of these microwaves has been 20 inches wide outside. The 19 year old one's turntable is 13". All of the new ones I've had are 11". The good 19 year old roller guide is too big to use with the new turntable. But MY old microwave roller guide with the 13" turntable is the same size as this new one. :wall::wall::wall: Is everybody following that. :) So I washed it and tried it with a mug of water. No noise. It is nice and solid and doesn't have any scratchy (CHEAP) edges, and the wheels are tighter. For now. We'll see.
 

Susan1

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New problem! The top of the microwave over the clock and buttons is very hot. I looked up the problem online. So - it works. The fan is running. There's plenty of room behind it. The food got cooked for 6 minutes. I unplugged it and let it cool off. Then I plugged it back in and heated water for one minute. It got hot again. I'm going to take it out in the yard and beat it to death with a baseball bat.
 

alchemy void

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New problem! The top of the microwave over the clock and buttons is very hot. I looked up the problem online. So - it works. The fan is running. There's plenty of room behind it. The food got cooked for 6 minutes. I unplugged it and let it cool off. Then I plugged it back in and heated water for one minute. It got hot again. I'm going to take it out in the yard and beat it to death with a baseball bat.
I would say as long as you're not seeing sparks (or Obama) inside your microwave, let it go and don't worry about it. :)
 

Simone411

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@Susan1, it may not be a bad idea to use a surge protector outlet even for your microwave. The reason I'm recommending this is because of my experience with power surges in the past. For the past three or four years, the weather has changed drastically where I live which is in Louisiana.

As a matter of fact, there will be severe thunderstorms most of this week including today. Two years ago, I had to buy a brand new all-in-one printer and a new A/C unit due to the lightning from thunderstorms causing power surges. If I would have had the A/C and the all-in-one printer plugged into power surge protector outlets, I wouldn't have had to buy a new A/C and a new printer.

After that happened, I bought power surge protector outlets for all my appliances like my microwave, TV, HD receiver, printer, modem, stereo, etc. because I couldn't afford to keep buying new appliances, etc. because of power surges.

You may not have to deal with power surges like I do, but it would still be safer to have the power surge outlets in case it ever does happen.
 

Susan1

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@Susan1, it may not be a bad idea to use a surge protector outlet even for your microwave. The reason I'm recommending this is because of my experience with power surges in the past. For the past three or four years, the weather has changed drastically where I live which is in Louisiana.

As a matter of fact, there will be severe thunderstorms most of this week including today. Two years ago, I had to buy a brand new all-in-one printer and a new A/C unit due to the lightning from thunderstorms causing power surges. If I would have had the A/C and the all-in-one printer plugged into power surge protector outlets, I wouldn't have had to buy a new A/C and a new printer.

After that happened, I bought power surge protector outlets for all my appliances like my microwave, TV, HD receiver, printer, modem, stereo, etc. because I couldn't afford to keep buying new appliances, etc. because of power surges.

You may not have to deal with power surges like I do, but it would still be safer to have the power surge outlets in case it ever does happen.
I'll see what the electrician says. I left messages on three local websites! I do have a surge protector/power strip on my computer/AT&T Uverse stuff. And a heavy duty outlet for the t.v. and wireless receiver - after the receiver got too hot and blew the 12 year old box t.v. and the outlet.

One thing I noticed (everybody............) the back left "foot" of these new microwaves doesn't touch the counter. The back feet are like half circles. The front feet are squared off. I guess the counters (I put it on the other counter too) are not level? I went out to the garage to look at the old one. It had four flat feet. But, boy, there was tons of dust in the vents in the bottom. I probably could have had that professionally cleaned and it would have lasted another 10 years. But it's been sitting on the garage floor too long now. Anyway, could not being level have anything to do with the haunted microwaves? Is that why sometimes they make a popping sound a minute or two after I take something out - like the plastic expanding or contracting - not an electrical sound. Never had that happen with any old ones.

I was going to fold up some rubber shelf paper underneath the microwave I got today at Walmart! Is that safe? Or cardboard? The new one is a Hamilton Beach. I had a guy plug in the display model to make sure there was a light inside. Funny, on the way home, Beach Baby came on the oldies station. Is that a good sign?

p.s. - my ex boyfriend's modem (remember those and the crackly sound when they were connecting) got struck by lightning once.

We're supposed to have snow, then ice, then rain from midnight tonight till noon tomorrow. I don't want somebody who is wet coming here and fooling with the electricity! ZZZZtttt
 

Susan1

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I'll see what the electrician says. I left messages on three local websites!
Just updating everybody - one called back. He doesn't think it's the outlet's fault, just like we all thought in the beginning, they would not work for 3, 8 or 11 days! But, he said that since this house was built in 1969, all of the receptacles are probably getting worn out and could be replaced. He asked if the cord or plug get hot when I have something like a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner plugged in for a while. Yeah, the metal part of the vacuum plug, not the cord, is hot when I unplug it from any wall. But I can do the whole house from three different plugs, so they are staying in longer than if I did one room and unplugged it and plugged in somewhere else. This is a three bedroom house with a family room and living room. I'm not going to have all of the outlets replaced! $120/hr. He doesn't think the unlevelness would make the outside of the microwave get hot either.
Tomorrow I will call the guy who replaced the outlet in the family room in 2016 and see what he thinks. I hope he doesn't gloat about the moron being president. He insulted Hillary when he was here. I remember. I hope he doesn't.
 

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