Serving the Lower Mainland

9 Common Microwave Problems and Fixes

9 Common Microwave Problems and Fixes

Microwave problems and repairs are not something to take lightly. Unless there is a simple mechanical fix, you must call in a professional microwave repair service to deal with the electronics and complex elements. Here are some of the most common microwave problems and fixes to watch out for.

1) The microwave isn't heating up.

Let's start with one of the bigger problems. A microwave that doesn't get up to heat isn't going to cook your food. One of the more common causes of microwaves not heating up is a faulty magnetron. This is what generates all those microwaves in the first place. If this burns out, or there is an electrical fault in the machine. Alternatively, you might find that the problem lies with the diode, which determines the voltage to the magnetron. It might not allow for enough power to generate the heat you need.

Either way, you need to call in an expert to deal with these faults because they are both electrical issues. You don't want to touch the wrong wire or mess up something in the system and put yourself at risk of an electric shock. Both parts are replaceable, so your repair team could have your machine up and running fairly quickly.

2) The turntable isn't spinning.

You might find you have a different problem where the microwave heats up fine, but the plate doesn't spin. This can affect the efficiency of the microwave and lead to poor results. Often, you will find this is a simple alignment issue. There is a roller guide under the place with three small wheels. Take this out and see if either wheel is damaged or jammed. You can realign the guide where possible or look for a new part. If the roller guide is fine, the problem might be the drive motor or coupler underneath the bottom panel. This is where you need to call in a professional for an effective and safe repair.

3) The microwave sparks or arcs.

This is one of the scariest faults because it looks as though the machine could catch fire or worse. As soon as this happens, shut the microwave off and unplug it. You can then inspect your appliance for any metal objects that might interfere with the microwaves. These metal pieces can come from a variety of sources. Hopefully, you and your family know never to use metal utensils or tin foil in your machine. If not, have a discussion with your kids to make sure they know never to put metal in there.

There are other risks, however, from sources we might not think about. A small fragment of steel wool from a cleaning pad could be enough to cause an arc. You also want to be careful with any internal metal parts where the microwave-safe paint has worn away. All you need to do here is inspect the appliance and remove any threats as you find them. While cleaning out the microwave, it is also a good idea to check for any particles in the waveguide cover. Small carbonized pieces of food can disrupt the flow of the microwaves and cause sparks.

4) The door isn't closing properly.

This is a common problem seen in a lot of older microwaves. Over time, the machines develop wear and damage to hinges, latches, and seals. The cause could be as simple as repeated closing day after day, or people slamming the door shut without considering the structural integrity of the door. Inspect the door to look for any obvious damage or loose areas. Tighten everything up and see if there is anything that needs replacing.

You may be able to fix or replace any machines under warranty if they aren't too old. Just remember that the average lifespan for a microwave is 7-8 years. So, it might simply be past its best and time for a better model.

5) The microwave runs and then stops.

This one might be the most frustrating common microwave problem out there. The magnetron and turntable are clearly working fine, and the food is cooking nicely, but then it just shuts off for no apparent reason. There is the possibility that this is a mechanical issue with the door switches. A microwave has a series of switches that need to lock into place for the machine to run. A fault here with just one of the switches could cause the microwave to stop running as a safety feature. It is best to get a professional microwave repair service here because of the complexity of the system and safety considerations.

Another possible cause that many microwave users overlook is overheating. Microwaves can overheat pretty easily if they are not used appropriately or are past their best. Some start overheating due to faulty components, which is where you need an expert microwave inspection and maybe some new parts. However, some users forget that a blocked ventilation system will cause overheating too. You need to run your machine in a cool space with adequate airflow and no excessive external heat. Don't stack your recipe books on top or next to the vents, or run the machine beside the stove. It is also important to note that you should never run a microwave with nothing in it because there is nothing to absorb the heat from the microwaves.

6) There are unusual noises.

Your microwave shouldn't make a lot of noise in operation. You have that low continuous hum of the motor and the ping of the timer, and that's about it. So, it can be alarming to hear any louder mechanical sounds, high-pitched notes, or grinding sounds. Shut down the machine and take a look inside for any loose parts. Is there anything stuck underneath the plate or any obvious misalignment causing that noise? If so, it could be an easy fix.

The bigger problem comes with those louder noises from the motor or cooling fan. This could be a sign they need to be replaced. Get a professional to take a look and find the parts you need.

7) The Microwave display isn't working.

The display and control panel are almost as important as the motor, turntable, and magnetron. You need to be able to set up the program and timer with ease and know when it's all over. Displays can fail due to a power surge or issue with the control board fuse.

Some display faults are as simple as physical buttons breaking or failing. This could be from overuse or too much dirt getting in between them. Touchscreen control panels are convenient and easier to keep clean, but can still develop faults. Some find the membrane switch of the control board fails, and they can't get the system to respond. You might be able to get this repaired, but you may also need to upgrade your machine to something better.

8) The microwave light bulb isn't working.

This one isn't as big a problem as some of the mechanical and cooking issues, but it's still annoying. It helps to see what's going on in a microwave to make sure your meal is cooking properly and not burning. A burnt-out bulb makes this much harder. Most times, this is a simple case of needing a new bulb. Don't try and do this yourself because of the placement of the bulb and the complex wiring around it. A professional repair team can also check for additional electrical issues if it turns out the bulb isn't the problem.

9) The food isn't heating evenly.

Finally, there is the problem of food not heating evenly, where one side of the meal cooks faster than the other. This could be down to a mechanical issue with the turntable. Again, check the guide beneath the plate for any damage or obstructions. It could also be an electronic issue with the settings. Either the system isn't supplying enough power to correspond with the setting, or you have the machine on the wrong setting.

Taking Care Of Your Microwave.

Remember to take care of your microwave, teach your family about safe microwave practices, and don't ignore any faults, however small it seems. If something isn't right, stop using the machine, address the issue, and contact a local microwave repair team. The last thing you want is a small electrical fault or mechanical issue putting your family at risk. Check the warranty of the machine to see what you are entitled to. Go for a professional repair where appropriate to stay safe, or get a replacement machine.