How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 650

If microwave cookers are so energy-efficient, why can't similar machines be used as hot water heaters or in central heating systems? - GB
Microwave ovens transfer about 50% of the electric energy they receive from the electric company to the food. Conventional ovens transfer only something like 10%. Cooking just isn't a very energy efficient process because you're trying to get heat into an object from outside that object. In contrast, an electric space heater transfers 100% of the electric power it receives to the room around it. Home heating is much more energy efficient because you're getting heat into an object from inside that object. In effect, your microwave oven is also 100% efficient at heating your room—every bit of electric energy it consumes eventually enters your room as heat. But it's an expensive sort of "space heater" and you do better just to use conventional heating systems.

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