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7 Microwave Problems You Should Not Ignore

Updated: Apr 9

Life gets busy. So busy that sometimes we ignore things we really shouldn't. Microwave problems can be incredibly dangerous to ignore. You can end up with anything from a microwave damaged beyond repair to a fire in your home. Here are some microwave problems you should address the minute you spot them.

1. A burning smell

A burning smell, when it’s running, is a clear sign that something is wrong. You should immediately turn off the microwave and unplug it. This could be caused by anything from food caked in the interior of the microwave getting burned up or it could be more serious involving a wiring or electrical issue. The best practice would be getting a repair technician to look it over just to be safe.

2. Caked-on splatters

Life gets so busy that people ignore microwave cleaning and maintenance. Cleaning may look time-consuming but what is truly time-consuming is the inconvenience that comes with a broken-down device. These food splatters can turn rock-hard and burn the walls of the appliance compromising its performance and longevity. To keep your microwave running longer, clean splatters immediately and wipe them down with a warm cloth daily.

3. Weird sounds while cooking

Any sort of rattling, clanking, or louder-than-normal sound could be a sign of an electrical or motor issue and should be investigated. Continuing to run your microwave if it’s making strange unusual sounds can lead to sparks or even cause a fire.

4. A malfunctioning display or buttons that don’t work properly

Sometimes the microwave display flickers or blinks that can be resolved by resetting the appliance. The buttons may seem sticky which can often be fixed by cleaning them. However, if the display flickers and blinks and it’s not solved by resetting, it may be caused by an electrical issue which means it's time to get a professional to look it over.

5. A door that doesn’t close completely

The microwave door needs to close tightly to ensure all the radiation stays inside. If the door is not closing tightly, that is an issue requiring immediate attention. It may be caused by things as simple as stuck food or a loose piece of a screw or it may be a bigger issue signaling it's time to replace the microwave altogether.

6. Sparks or fires

Common microwave sparks are caused by metal objects in the microwave, usually a spoon or a container with metallic bits. Simply remove the offending object and you’re good to go. However, if the sparks seem to come out of nowhere, that’s a sign of an electrical issue that can potentially cause a fire. This is especially true if the sparks are accompanied by smoke or shaking. This may be the final sign you need to replace the appliance especially if it’s old.

7. Cooking takes longer than normal or faster than normal

In either case, it is a sign that your microwave is not functioning properly, & requires technical assistance. To test if food is taking longer than normal to heat, warm one cup of water for two minutes. If the water isn’t piping hot when you take it out, it may be time to replace your unit.

Electrical problems and those related to appliances are best addressed when first spotted. Most microwaves have a lifespan of seven to ten years and old microwaves reportedly leak radiation. If yours is approaching that threshold and you have noticed the functionality is compromised, perhaps it’s time for a replacement.

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