4 Microwave Issues and What Might Cause Them

Many people feel that when their microwave oven starts failing, they should just replace it with a new one. But in fact, it can often be quite simple to get your microwave repaired. Depending on what’s going wrong, the prognosis may be great and you may not need to throw out your microwave after all.

Here are four issues your microwave could develop and what might cause them.

1. Sparks

Sparking and arcing can be very scary. After all, anywhere else in the house, they’d mean you’re in imminent danger of electrical fire. Fortunately, a couple of sparks in the microwave usually don’t signify an impending disaster. Microwave sparks can be caused by:

  • High mineral content in foods
  • Metal in the microwave
  • Food residue
  • A metal cooking rack that’s not put in properly

However, these symptoms can also be caused by electrical or mechanical problems. And if there’s a lot of arcing, it can damage the microwave. So if you’re not sure what caused the sparks, or if the microwave won’t stop sparking after you thought you’d removed the cause, you should take your microwave in for servicing.

2. Strange Sounds

If you use your microwave on a regular basis, you know what it normally sounds like. If it’s an old model, it might run very noisily on a regular basis. But if it starts making unusual sounds, it might need repairs. For example:

  • A noisy humming or vibrating noise can mean you need the magnetron tube replaced
  • An abnormal clicking sound can also be a sign of a bad magnetron 
  • A grinding or groaning sound can signify a problem with the turntable roller guide or turntable drive motor
  • Grinding can also mean there’s a problem with the stirrer motor

Fixing the noise can be as simple as replacing the turntable roller guide (the plastic part with wheels underneath the glass turntable). Or it can require a new fan motor or magnetron. Be sure to get the problem diagnosed professionally so you don’t keep operating an unsafe appliance.

3. Refusing to Start

A non-starting microwave may simply have no power supply. After you’ve checked that it’s plugged into a functioning outlet and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped, check again to see if the display has come on or not.

If not, it’s possible the microwave’s fuse (the one attached to the microwave, not the one in your fuse box) is blown. Or there could be a problem with the door switches, magnetron, or diode.

Don’t be fooled, though; just because the microwave doesn’t seem to have any power doesn’t mean that it has no electricity. A microwave can still electrocute you even when it’s unplugged, so always take it to a qualified repair expert rather than trying to figure out what’s wrong yourself.

4. Failing to Heat

Even more annoying than a dead microwave is a microwave that runs when you turn it on but doesn’t actually make your food any warmer. If the display turns on, there’s obviously not a power supply problem. However, if the microwave is making an odd sound and not heating your food, there’s likely a problem with the magnetron. A lack of heat can also be caused by a diode problem.

These four microwave problems can often be fixed if you take your unit to a qualified repair professional. Again, remember that your microwave is much more dangerous than it looks and you shouldn’t try to diagnose or investigate the problem yourself, let alone attempt a DIY repair.

Instead, get in touch with Capital City Appliance Service for capable repair services. If you’re anywhere in the Columbus, Ohio area, we’d love to help you troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair your microwave in a safe and efficient manner.

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