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February 1, 2004
Who could live without a microwave? Not many of us. They heat foods quickly. They are easy to use. They are cheaper to run than a regular oven. And they are very useful for people who need extra help in the kitchen.
Do you know a forgetful cook? Buy him a microwave. These ovens turn themselves off, so your friend won't burn a meal that slipped his mind. Does someone you know use a wheelchair? She'll like the fact that her microwave sits on a low counter where it is easy to reach. Does a family member have weak arms or hands? He or she will be pleased to find out how easy it is to use a microwave's side-swing door.
Where's your microwave?
Buy a new home and you're sure to find a microwave inside. But chances are someone has put the oven in the wrong place. Builders love to mount microwaves above the stove or high on a wall. These ovens are hard to reach. And they can be a hazard. They force you to reach above your head to get hot foods out of the oven. Lose your balance and you could burn yourself, break a dish, or both.
Get the most from your microwave. Put it where you can reach it without stretching or bending. The oven should be no higher than 48 inches above the floor. Is your microwave on the wall? Then put a shelf under the oven where you can rest hot foods after they finish cooking. Better yet, put your microwave on a counter that won't melt if it gets hot. Leave plenty of room on the counter to place hot dishes.
Get an oven with a touchpad control. But don't get carried away with lots of special buttons and features. Keep your microwave simple. It will be much easier to use.
Use your microwave with care. Read the manual to learn about common safety hazards. For example, don't turn your oven on when it is empty. This could damage the inside of the oven. Don't use your microwave to dry or heat clothing. Those clothes could catch on fire. And don't use metal or aluminum in your oven. You might see sparks.
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