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How to Troubleshoot a Microwave Not Working

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 an easy solution, and you may not need to throw out your microwave after all. Is your microwave not working? Continue reading for our microwave troubleshooting tips.

Is Your Microwave Not Working? Try This…

If your microwave not working correctly is causing issues in your kitchen, there are some common problems you can check for. Let’s review what might cause these issues and some questions you may have regarding your microwave troubleshooting.

How Do I Fix My Microwave

1. Microwave Is Sparking

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 few 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 are a lot of arcs, it can damage the microwave. So if you’re unsure 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. Microwave Is Making Strange Sounds

If you use your microwave regularly, you know what it normally sounds like. If it’s an old model, it might run very noisily regularly. 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 diagnose the problem professionally, so you don’t keep operating an unsafe appliance.

3. Microwave Will Not Start

Is your microwave not working or 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; just because the microwave doesn’t seem to have any power doesn’t mean 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.

4. Microwave Not Heating

Even more annoying than a dead microwave is a microwave that runs when you turn it on but doesn’t make your food any warmer. If the display turns on, the problem is not with the power supply. 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.

Microwave Stopped Working

What Causes Microwaves to Suddenly Stop Working?

One minute you’re microwaving popcorn, and the next, it’s stone cold. What gives? Why did your microwave suddenly stop working? There are a few possibilities.

First, check to ensure the microwave is plugged in and the outlet is working. If that doesn’t do the trick, there could be a problem with the microwave itself. The magnetron, for example, is responsible for generating the microwaves that cook food. If it’s not working properly, the microwave won’t heat up.

Another possibility is that the door switch is broken. This switch prevents the microwave from running if the door isn’t closed, so if it’s not working, the microwave won’t start. Finally, the power cord could be damaged or frayed. Power cords that have become damaged or frayed are dangerous and can cause electrocution if not handled professionally. Damaged power cords will also keep the microwave from receiving the electricity it needs to work.

How Do I Fix My Microwave That Won’t Work?

If your microwave has stopped working, there are a few things you can check before calling for repairs.

  • First, make sure the appliance is plugged into an outlet with power.
  • Next, check the door switch and latch assembly to ensure they function correctly. The microwave won’t start if the appliance believes the door is open.
  • Once you’ve checked those two things, look at the two fuses: the thermal fuse and the ceramic fuse. If either of them needs to be replaced, that could be the reason your microwave isn’t working.
Microwave Fuse is Blown

How Do I Know if My Microwave Fuse Is Blown?

One way to tell if your microwave fuse is blown is to look at the microwave itself. If the microwave is dead or unresponsive, that’s a good indication that the fuse is blown.

You can also check the breaker box. If the breaker for the microwave is tripped, the fuse has likely blown.

If you’re unsure how to check for a blown fuse, you should always call a professional microwave technician for assistance.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Microwave Failure?

The most common cause of microwave failure is its magnetron. The magnetron is what produces the microwaves that cook your food, and it’s also the part that is most likely to burn out. Symptoms of a faulty or burned-out magnetron include a microwave that doesn’t heat food properly or doesn’t work.

When you suspect your magnetron is failing, it’s best to call a qualified technician to come and take a look.

If your microwave not working is causing a hiccup in your home, contact Capital City Appliance Service for professional microwave repair services. If you’re anywhere in the Columbus, Ohio, area, we’d love to help you troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair your microwave safely and efficiently.

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