It is incredibly aggravating to deal with a malfunctioning microwave, especially regarding food preparation. A sparkle inside your microwave can hinder its functionality and make for an unpleasant experience. While sparking isn’t always cause for concern, it’s definitely an indication that something is wrong.
However, the best part is that most of these problems are easy to fix. Here’s how.
First, figure out the cause of sparking in your microwave. In most cases, you may have accidentally left a metal object such as a fork or spoon inside while heating food.
Simply turn off your microwave and remove any metallic objects from inside. If there are no metallic objects present, you might want to check other possible causes.
In this post, we will discuss some of these causes of microwaves sparking and how to fix them. We’ll also address some frequently asked questions that you might have about sparking in your microwave.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Is It Safe To Use A Microwave That Sparks?
While sparking is a common occurrence in microwaves, it’s not necessarily a sign that your microwave is unsafe. However, it’s never a good idea to ignore them as they can indicate other problems with your appliance.
Before you continue using your microwave, you should take steps to identify and resolve any issues that might cause it to spark. Otherwise, you risk damaging your appliance or even starting a fire.
Unlike a stovetop or oven, a microwave heats food through electromagnetic radiation. The microwaves are produced by an internal magnetron and bounce around inside your appliance until absorbed by food. These waves excite water molecules in your food and cause them to vibrate at extremely high speeds. This friction creates heat, which is what cooks your food.
However, if something interferes with these waves, they can reflect into your microwave’s circuitry and spark. If you notice sparks coming from your microwave, it’s always good to check it out right away.
5 Most Common Causes of Sparks in Microwaves
Before you fix your microwave, you must figure out the reason behind your microwave’s sparking. There are several reasons, and each has a different solution. If you can identify the cause of your microwave sparking, fixing it becomes easier.
Let us look at the five most common causes of sparking in your microwave:
1. A Metal in the Microwave
The first reason for sparking in your microwave is a metal object inside it. This is quite common and one of the most dangerous reasons as well.
If you have accidentally left a metal spoon or fork inside your microwave, then sparks will happen. Sometimes even a small piece of steel wool after cleaning or a heating dish with steel cutlery is enough to cause sparks.
Well, microwaves work by creating electromagnetic waves which heat your food. When there is a piece of metal inside, it interferes with that electromagnetic field and causes sparks.
2. Broken Waveguide Cover
The waveguide cover is responsible for directing microwaves into your food and preventing them from escaping out of your microwave. It also shields the magnetron from food splatters and bugs that could enter through and cause damage.
So what happens is that during heating/cooking, some food particles and grease may spill onto or get stuck on your damaged waveguide cover. This causes a buildup of grime which, when burnt by microwaves, can cause sparks.
3. Damaged Rack support
Some microwaves come with removable racks that allow you to cook more than one dish at a time. This is convenient, but it also exposes your microwave to wear and tear every time.
The protective plastic coating on these racks may get damaged over time due to heat from cooking exposing metal parts underneath. When metal parts touch or rub against each other, sparks are bound to happen.
So if you see sparks in your microwave while heating food, then chances are there is damage to your rack support.
4. Worn Stirrer
The stirrer is a rotating paddle inside your microwave that helps distribute heat evenly to cook food more efficiently. If you notice sparks in your microwave, then chances are something is wrong with your stirrer.
This could be due to damage or wear and tear over time or a broken drive motor. As a result, more energy is concentrated on one side of your stirrer than the other, potentially overheating and sparking it.
5. Faulty Diode
A microwave diode is a small component attached to your magnetron that converts alternating current to direct current, which your appliance can then use. And because microwaves are so powerful, they can sometimes cause diodes to overheat and burn out.
If this happens, the magnetron will not generate enough power to heat food, and you may notice sparks inside your microwave. Some signs of faulty diodes include a burning smell, no humming sound from the magnetron, and the inability to cook food or heat unevenly.
How to Fix a Microwave Sparking
Now that you have identified the cause for your microwave sparking, it’s time to fix it. As previously stated, there are several potential causes for microwave sparking. Each of these causes will necessitate a unique solution to eliminate those pesky sparks and prevent them from recurring in the future.
Here are five methods to fix a microwave sparking problem:
Method 1. Unplug and Turn Off Your Microwave Promptly
If you notice sparks coming from your microwave, it is critical to immediately unplug it from its power source and turn off its main power switch. This will give any internal components time to cool down, which can help prevent them from sustaining permanent damage due to overheating.
It also prevents a fire outbreak in your microwave and protects you from electrical shock. Once you have done so, proceed to method two below.
Method 2: Check your microwave for Metal and Remove
You will want to check the inside of your microwave to see if there are any metal objects causing sparks. These include, but are not limited to, aluminum foil, a tin can, or even a spoon.
If you find any of these metal objects accidentally left in your microwave or from an experiment gone wrong, remove them as quickly as possible.
Method 3: If no metal objects are found, check the Waveguide Cover
The waveguide cover, located at the top or on one side of your microwave, is where microwaves from your magnetron exit to heat your food. If it is broken or damaged in any way, sparks can occur. Either way, you will want to unplug your microwave immediately and replace it with a new one.
Method 4: Replace Your Microwave’s Rack Support, Stirrer, and Diode
If no metal objects are found, and your waveguide cover is in good condition, you will want to check either of these three components.
First, there is a chance that your microwave’s rack support has worn out or been exposing too much metal. Second, there is also a possibility that your stirrer paddle has broken due to wear and tear. Lastly, it could be that your diode has become damaged or burned out.
All of these potential causes for sparking can be easily fixed by simply first unplugging your microwave and replacing them with new ones. Contact a professional since most of these parts require special skills and knowledge to replace.
Faqs on Causes of Microwave Sparking and Fixing Techniques
1. Why is my microwave sparking with no metal?
If your microwave is sparking without any metal inside it, the cause could be either a faulty waveguide, a burnout diode, broken rack support, or a worn stirrer. So, it’s critical first to identify which part is at fault before you try to repair it.
2. Why is my microwave sparking and popping?
It’s normal for your microwave to make sparking and popping sounds when it’s running. When cooked in a microwave, high-fat content foods will often pop and sizzle due to oil splattering, which is completely harmless. Covering your food with a lid or cooking for a shorter period can help prevent these noises.
3. Can a microwave explode?
Yes, microwaves, if not properly maintained, can explode. Some of the causes of a microwave explosion include faulty wiring, overloading and overheating, improper cooking utensils, and even specific foods such as whole eggs, grapes, etc.
4. Why did my microwave catch on fire?
The primary cause of microwave fires is overheating. If you’ve left a food item in your microwave for too long, it can overheat and start to burn. This can then create sparks or small flames igniting nearby items or papers.
5. How do you stop a microwave fire?
If your microwave happens to catch fire, immediately turn off the power and unplug it. Then, proceed as follows:
- Please wait for 5 minutes for the fire to die down before attempting to remove anything from inside of it.
- Open the microwave door when you’re sure that the fire is out.
- Use a fire extinguisher or baking soda to put out any remaining flames.
6. Can a microwave catch fire with nothing in it?
While some microwaves are equipped with sensors that shut off power if there’s no food inside, others are not. A microwave catching fire is likely high if it lacks such features.
This is because the energy that would have otherwise been absorbed by food will instead be released in sparks and flames, igniting any flammable material nearby.
7. Can a dirty microwave catch fire?
A dirty microwave is not only a health hazard but also a fire hazard. The buildup of grease and grime can cause food to burn onto your appliance, which in turn can cause small fires to spark. It’s therefore critical that you clean your microwave regularly.
8. What are the signs that a microwave is going bad?
For your microwave to die completely, it has to either stop heating food or stop working. However, there are signs that you can look for to tell if it’s dying and will need replacing soon. Here are some of them; frequent sparks, strange noises, smells, and the door not opening properly.
9. When should I replace my microwave?
A microwave has an average life expectancy of 7 years with regular use and 4 to 5 years with heavy use. It’s critical to understand when it’s time to replace your microwave so that you can get maximum value from your appliance.
Well, by now, you’ve probably learned a few hacks for your microwave sparking. Some of these are straightforward, and some require more technical know-how to fix.
In most cases, removing any metal objects or turning off your microwave will solve your problem. If that doesn’t work, you may need to check and see if either the waveguide, diode, or stirrer is faulty. Any one of these components could cause an issue with your microwave sparking.
If none of those are at fault, it might be time to consider replacing your microwave altogether. Regardless, if you have an issue with your microwave sparking or arcing, there is almost certainly something you can do about it.
Check a Video On How to Fix a Sparking Microwave