Microwave Doesn’t Work

Problem: Microwave won’t operate, or takes longer to cook food than times suggested in cook books.

Background: Microwaves are like radio or radar waves. They will pass through glass, plastic, paper and most other containers that are not of metal. Microwaves bounce off of metal and are absorbed by food. When food absorbs microwaves, heat is created because water molecules in the food bounce around, colliding with each other. Heat is created by these collisions, much like the way your hands warm when you rub them together. For minor problems, which you can solve yourself, see the following suggestions. For other problems, check your owner’s manual or call a service technician.

What to do: If the microwave will not operate, make sure the unit is plugged in. If it’s plugged in and still doesn’t work, the cause may be faulty wiring, a blown fuse, or a tripped circuit breaker. Check to see whether the oven door is securely closed and that the controls are set correctly. Also check the air vents to make sure they are not blocked. The oven may overheat and turn off if the air vents are blocked. Let the oven cool for an hour, then restart it. If it still won’t operate, call a service technician.
If it takes the microwave longer than it should to cook food, check with your local utility company to see if the voltage in your area is fluctuating below the normal operating range. Next check to see if the micro wave is operating on the same electrical circuit as another appliance. If so, the cooking times will increase when both of the units are on at the same time. (Note: It’s best if the microwave does not share a circuit with any other appliance.) If the unit has a glass shelf, check to see that it is in place. If it isn’t, cooking times may be affected. Cooking time will also increase if more or larger amounts of food are placed in the oven than a recipe calls for, if the food is frozen or was refrigerated immediately before being put in the oven. (Some recipes reflect the time needed to cook food that is at room temperature.)

Special advice: Microwaves should not be adjusted or repaired by any one except properly qualified ser vice technicians. After a repair is made, the technician should check for microwave leakage. To avoid potentially harmful exposure to micro wave energy, don’t attempt to operate the microwave with the door open. Don’t tamper with safety interlocks. Don’t put any object between the oven front face and the door, or allow soil or cleaner residue to accumulate on sealing surfaces. Also, don’t operate the microwave if the door doesn’t close properly, if it is bent, if its hinges or latches are bro ken or loose, or if its seals or sealing surfaces are damaged.

Helpful hint: Remove metal ties from plastic bags before placing bags in the oven and check carry-out food for metal before reheating. For cooking times longer than 4 minutes, avoid using paper containers which may burn, and be careful when using plastics because some may melt. Don’t attempt to cook eggs in the shell because steam build-up inside may cause them to burst.