Microwave Ovens

THE PRODUCT:

Microwave ovens cook or heat food and beverages by converting electricity to microwave radiation to heat water molecules within the substance.

THE STANDARD:

DOE established the first efficiency standards for microwave ovens in 2013, and they took effect in 2016. The new standards specify a maximum standby power of 1 watt for microwave-only ovens and countertop combination microwave ovens and 2.2 watts for built-in and over-the-range combination microwave ovens.

KEY FACTS:

More than 95% of US households own a microwave. DOE identified several technology options that could reduce power consumption in standby mode including lower-power display options; cooking sensors with no standby power requirement; improved power supply and control board options; and automatic power-down. Adding an automatic power-down element, which turns off most power-consuming components after a period of inactivity, can allow for achieving standby power levels of less than 1 watt.

Projected Savings

Microwave Oven Final Rule 2013
Savings through what year?:
2045
Energy saved (quads):
0.48
CO2 savings (million metric tons):
38.11
Net present value savings ($billion) 3% discount rate:
3.38
Net present value savings ($billion) 7% discount rate:
1.53

Timeline

Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2024
Updated DOE Standard Due 2021
1st Federal Standard Effective 2016
1st Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2013
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Standby/Off Mode 2013
NAECA Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 1987

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.