• Howard Gallagher

Common Microwave Issues

Microwave ovens make it easy to cook and warm many types of food. They get used more during the holiday season and when you aren’t eating out. Most homeowners either have a countertop microwave or a built in microwave. Countertop microwaves tend to cost less and are easier to install than built in microwaves. Builtin microwaves typically have more depth than countertop microwaves. The larger the microwave the higher the wattage needed to operate the microwave oven. This influences how fast and how evenly food is cooked. Issues can happen suddenly with microwave ovens. Here are some common issues you can expect with a microwave oven.

Components of A Microwave Oven

A microwave oven has two major parts a controller and a microwave generator. The controller regulates the power in the microwave oven . The microwave generator controls the magnetron the part responsible for heating food. Essentially the controller is a microcomputer that sets cooking times, shows the display,starts the cooling fans and monitors the temperature sensors. The 4 components of the microwave generator are High Voltage Transformer, Rectifier, Capacitor ,and the Magnetron.

Signs To Look Out For

Everything with your home breaks down with time. Microwaves tend to be replaced more often than repaired. Certain situations make it more feasible for the unit to repaired. Microwave ovens have telltale signs that indicate a major issue. Here are a few signs to look out for . Cooking times are irregular, Door seal is loose, Keypad doesn’t work, Unit is over 10 years old and Strange Odors. If your food cooks too quickly or too slowly then you have an issue. The door seal should never been loose. You expose your family to microwave radiation. The keypad should be responsive. Microwaves can last a long time but after the 10 year mark issues become more common. Strange Odors such as burning smells or smoke can’t be dismissed and the machine should be unplugged immediately.

Exhaust Fan Is Not Working

The exhaust fan plays an important role in your microwave oven. It keeps the unit from overheating. If your microwave exhaust fan stopped working, the issue may be a clogged charcoal filter. This is common in microwaves that are paired with an oven set. This type of filter effectively absorbs odors and pollutants from heating food.Over time they can become clogged and lose its effectiveness.Replacing the charcoal filter on your microwave a regular part of your home maintenance routine. Another reason why the exhaust fan is not functioning properly could be a malfunction with the fan motor. This part is a component in many microwaves and helps circulate the air through the exhaust system.

Microwave Door Is Damaged

Microwave Doors are among the most widely neglected parts of a microwave. Many people slam a microwave door or pulled the door open without turning off the machine. It is important to teach your children to gently close the microwave door. Microwave latches are more complex than many people appreciate. Some latches have as many as three switching parts that must close in the correct order. Closing the door carelessly may damage these switches.

Microwave Is Making Sparks

This happens once a piece of metal goes into your unit. For example a metal spoon or a piece of aluminum foil. Remove the metallic item as soon as possible and resume cooking. Sparks that start without a metal is a sign of a bigger problem. This poses a potential fire hazard. Especially if you also smell a burning smell. In that event the unit would need to be replaced.

Microwave Is Not Heating

Turning your microwave oven without anything in it can cause serious damage to your unit. When a microwave is empty the energy produced needs to go somewhere. So the microwave radiation is then absorbed by the components of the unit such as the magnetron. Unless you are actively cooking something your microwave shouldn’t be in use. A unit not heating may be a result of using it multiple times without something in it. If there is no heat, the magnetron may not be drawing any current from the controller. The inner components can still contain energy for a considerable amount of time. This carries the risk of electrical shock even after several minutes or more of being unplugged.

Microwave is not turning on

Power surges can be caused by all kinds of events, including lightning, downed power lines, and grid switching. They can happen at most unexpected times. When the appliances in your kitchen surge so does your microwave. You can unplug your microwave oven between uses if you want to save energy, or you can simply plug it into a surge protector. A surge protector is an effective way to conserve energy and to protect against surges . An electrical surge protector for your microwave is a must-have investment. Power surges do irreparable damage to the inner components of your microwave oven. If you don't have a surge protector, keep your microwave unplugged when not in use. The thermal fuse cuts off power to the microwave if the microwave overheats. Once this happens then your unit is unable to turn on. Use a multimeter to test if the fuse is working. If the part is faulty then replace the part. Due to the potential for electric shock, it is extremely dangerous to replace the electronic components in a microwave. Only a licensed technician should replace the thermal fuse.

Microwave maintenance

A microwave can last more than 20 years with proper maintenance. Unlike other units in your home there isn’t much preventive maintenance. Regular cleaning at least will avoid potentially expensive repairs in the future. Any type of work on the inner components would require a licensed and bonded contractor. Deep cleaning in your microwave can prevent food debris from affecting your unit. You can clean your microwave oven with a homemade cleaner. Fill a bowl with 2 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of vinegar. Heat the bowl in the microwave oven for five minutes. Allow 3 minutes for the bowl to cool. Wipe the microwave down with a sponge. Food debris can burn up in subsequent cooking sessions. Alternatively you can eliminate strong odors with a cup of water and lemon juice. Don’t spray anything into the holes where the door latch is inserted or anywhere around the touchpad. This can lead to electrical issues down the line. Also be careful with spraying the exterior or the touchpad. Check the cord and plug for physical damage.

Microwave Safety

Despite what you may have heard. You don’t have to wait a few seconds for the microwaves to disappear. There is no such thing as residual microwave radiation. It is either produced or not in the air. Once the machine stops the microwave generator stops as well.

Microwave Facts

Microwave Ovens were developed after World War 2 . They were created by Percy Spencer who was working with radar and a chocolate bar started to melt in his pocket. He later verified his discovery by placing a magnetron in a metal box.Since then Microwave Ovens have become a staple of modern life. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that over 90% of American households owned a microwave oven in 1997. When cooked in microwave oven, spinach retains nearly all its folate. It loses about 77% when cooked on a traditional stove.

Home Warranties And Microwave Ovens

All of the microwave oven tips above can be used on most conventional microwave ovens. Global Home Protection covers built in microwaves in event of failures due to normal wear and tear.