It happened again! Our microwave oven, like so many others in this building, performed once again with lights and sounds unknown in normal, healthy environments. It has been an ongoing problem for years and remains unresolved.

The problem is in the ductwork. According to the experts, moisture from the clothes dryer vents to the outdoors and somehow gets pushed or sucked back in and makes its way to the microwave oven. Turn on the microwave at just the right time, a time when moisture has collected from the clothes dryer, and the microwave will dance. Many microwaves have shorted out at such times.

During the years we have lived here, the HOA has repaired our microwave (and many others) twice. A damper was found to be missing and was installed the first time. When the fireworks resurfaced months later, a missing or broken vent partition near the terminus was blamed and subsequently remedied.

Our Board of Directors has since instituted policy stipulating that microwave ovens and their ductwork are no longer the concern or responsibility of the homeowners association. Their solution is for owners to install a new microwave that vents into the unit instead of to the outdoors.

If a microwave is installed in the same location (and there is little choice in a kitchen that measures 6’ x 6’), what is to prevent that same moisture accumulation from causing the very same problems to a new microwave, one that vents differently but shares conditions? What would protect a new microwave whose exterior is likewise not designed to coexist with moisture? And if we forgo a built-in microwave in favor of a countertop model, would not marketability be adversely affected?

It is not a building problem. The Board says so.


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