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Microwaves

Should You Wait For The Microwave To Stop Beeping? (Solved!)

Antonio Forde
Updated: June 7, 2022
6 min read

Microwaves make life more convenient in many ways, but let us face it. Those incessant beeping can be grating to the ears.

Are the beeps really important, or can you just open the appliance without waiting for the beep to stop?

Here’s if You Should Wait for the Microwave to Stop Beeping:

Microwaves beep several times after completing a cook cycle to signal you that the food is ready. Even before the beeping stops, it is safe to open your microwave without fear of radiation exposure. By the time you open that door, all those microwaves have been zapped and are gone completely.

It is essential to thoroughly understand how your appliance functions to ensure maximum performance. This will also avoid mix-ups later on.

A microwave works by utilizing electromagnetic, non-ionizing radiation to cook or reheat food. It contains a vacuum tube or resonant cavity, called the magnetron, that produces microwaves.

The magnetron causes an electric current to undulate at high frequency, emitting electromagnetic waves. 

These waves are reflected in the microwave oven walls and are absorbed by the food, exciting the molecules. 

When the food molecules vibrate, they build up thermal heat. This heat cooks the food, starting from the outer layers to the inside.

While your food cooks, your microwave oven door is firmly shut to stop radiation from seeping. 

Radiation-related injuries in microwaves are not as common as you expect. You are more likely to get hurt from heat-related burns from touching overheated foods rather than from radiation exposure.

A microwave is designed so that electromagnetic radiation will not leak from the oven compartment.

Its interlock switch guarantees that microwave energy is only released when the appliance operates.

This means that the magnetron only functions when the door is safely locked in. Once you open it, the process stops by design.

Meanwhile, beeps are part and parcel of your microwave. These beeping sound patterns indicate different things.

You hear the beeping sound when you press a button or a problem with your appliance that you need to address by resetting.

Microwaves have in-built beeping sounds to signal if you place a timer, if the door is not closed correctly, or if there is a power surge or deficit that prevents it from functioning as it should be.

Your microwave oven also beeps to indicate that a cooking cycle is already complete.

An internal timer in a microwave counts down the seconds until the food is cooked and ready to eat.

Once the counter reaches zero, your oven will produce a beep that will continue to sound if you do not act upon it.

It is a reminder that you have hot food waiting for you to consume. 

If you wonder if it is safe to open your microwave door while it is still beeping, the simple answer is yes.

There is no danger of radiation if you do this. When the door latch starts to lift, the magnetron that emits the electromagnetic waves has already shut down.

Unless the interlock switch of your appliance is broken, you can open the door mid-spin without worrying about radiation exposure.

You can thank your microwave’s mechanism for that.

However, you should note that manufacturers recommend that you wait for the beep to finish before opening the microwave.

This is part of the safety precautions to regulate the use of such a high energy-consuming appliance.

Then again, it should not matter if you open the microwave once in a while before the sound ends. 

You probably cannot wait to gobble up that frozen dinner after a hard day’s work.

Why Does a Microwave Beep 5 Times?

wait-for-microwave-stop-beeping

Microwaves typically beep three to five times after completing a cooking cycle. This is enough to catch your attention and inform you that the food is ready.

If no action is taken, your appliance will beep again at one-minute intervals, on average, to keep reminding you about the food you are supposed to eat.

The “cooking complete reminder” is different from the “cooking complete signal.” The latter is heard only once and right at the end of the cooking cycle.

With the “cooking complete reminder,” you will hear a beep for every minute after the regular cycle has ended. It begins precisely one minute after the “cooking complete signal” sounded.

The reminder is an audible aid for you if you keep track of the standing time after cooking. For example, if you already counted five beeps, this means already five minutes have gone by since cooking time has been completed.

To terminate the “cooking complete reminder,” you should open the microwave door or press the clear/off button. 

This internal timer is a helpful feature of your microwave as it means you do not need to check on your food every couple of seconds.

Your microwave will do it for you.

Without the beeping sound, you will probably forget about your food and go about your day, only to return to a now-cold meal.

If you hate the beep, there are ways to turn it off. Most modern microwaves have at least a mute function.

I have also compiled a list of the best quiet microwaves.

Some microwave users do not like sound alerts as they can be disturbing. If you have a child sleeping nearby or just do not wish to bother anyone, that mute button is a life-saver.

With mute buttons, you can easily deactivate the end-cooking alarm and the beeping noise associated with it. If you want the beeps again, you can turn it on any time you please.

The first place to look is the control panel. With most microwaves, this is where the sound or mute button is situated.

Of course, this location may vary, depending on the model and make of your appliance. 

If the mute button is not readily labeled, it may be a secondary button function. 

You should try pressing the “stop” or “cancel” button. Some manufacturers assign these keys a secondary function aside from their standard button function.

The buttons “0” or “1” are also likely choices. You should test this by pressing and holding the keys for a few seconds.

Sometimes, pressing the said buttons will activate a child lock feature. This prevents any other buttons from being pushed until the lock is removed. You do this by holding the key for around three seconds.

If none of the options work, it is time to consult your owner’s manual. 

These guidebooks are put there for a reason. You may as well use them.

If you cannot find the sound button on the control panel and it is not a secondary function either, it may be a combination button.

Scour the manual and see if the code is buried somewhere in the submenu. 

If you have already tossed away the manual, you may check the manufacturer’s website. Usually, there is a digital version of the manual for the more recent units.

You can also ask helpful online sites like Quora and Reddit for suggestions. There may be other users who have encountered the same issue as you.

Whether you turn on or off the beeping sound in your microwave is your decision, but you should consider this.

If you are the type of person to easily forget things, you should retain the beeps to be on the safe side.

This way, you will enjoy your meal hot and freshly-made all the time.

Sources:

Prevention

US FDA

CNET

Written by
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.
Have any questions? Write us a message.
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.