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Five Common Microwave Problems & How To Fix Them

Microwaves are great inventions and have simplified cooking and heating certain foods by the simple push of a button. Despite their simplicity, though, they can have faults, just like other appliances.

To know whether or not there’s an easy fix for your microwave problem or if you need to arrange for your microwave to be repaired, you first have to establish what the problem might be with it.

Here are five of the most common microwave faults:

Microwave sparking
Sparks in a microwave can be a scary sight, but generally it’s not a cause for worry, if the cause of the spark is remedied as soon as possible.

The most common reason for a sparking microwave is caused by the presence of a metal object which leads to the build-up of charged particles. The solution for this is simple. Avoid putting metal in the microwave, that includes foil and enamel coated crockery. And if you notice the sparking, remove the item to avoid excessive heat or damaging your microwave.

In rarer cases, a sparking microwave can be caused by a broken waveguide cover or faulty diode, both of which will require repair.

Read more about other causes of sparking microwaves.

Microwave is not heating food
If your microwave isn’t heating food, it’s likely that the magnetron in your appliance is broken.

Unfortunately, a burned-out magnetron can’t be repaired, it has to be replaced.

Other issues that can lead to food not being heated, includes a broken diode or a faulty door switch.

Microwave plate not spinning
The rotating glass plate in your microwave has two main purposes, which are evenly distributing heat and absorbing any excess energy the microwave puts out.

If the plate isn’t spinning correctly when operating, your food might be getting unevenly heated. This is most likely an issue with a broken motor, which can easily be replaced, and if it’s not the motor, it could be a problem with the microwave control board.

Microwave making noise
If your microwave is making a loud or unusual noise (buzzing, humming, scraping, static), there are a range of potential faults you’ll have to check for.

The drive motor that provides the power to rotate the plate might be faulty.
The magnetron might be defective, leading to an electrical humming or buzzing. The good news is that magnetron’s can be replaced.
The drive coupler or roller guide might be the problem, causing the rotating plate to make noise as it moves. Fix this yourself by inspecting the parts for dirt or food stuck to them.
The cooling fan at the back of the microwave can be damaged or obstructed, which can also cause a loud noise during operation
Microwave starts and then stops
If your microwave works when you first set it but quickly stops working after a few seconds, despite the time you’ve set it to heat for, there’s a good chance the door seal is broken. The door seal has to be triggered so that the microwave knows the door is closed in order for it to run

A broken seal can mean that the microwave still thinks it’s open, causing the operation of the microwave to stop. This is also a simple problem that can be repaired.