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Arcing / Sparking - Microwave Oven

Troubleshooting Cooking Appliances Last Updated 05/09/2018

Arcing / Sparking - Microwave Oven

If there is arcing or sparking occuring inside the microwave oven's cavity, certain things should be checked to potentially resolve the issue:

  • If operating the microwave while empty, sparking may occur. An item such as food or water needs to be in the unit in order to absorb the microwaves emitted from the wave guide, otherwise the cavity could be burned or scorched. Place a 8 oz. cup of water in the microwave and run a TIMED COOK for 30 seconds. If no sparking or arcing occurs, it is okay to continue use.

  • Only microwave safe cookware, containers, and utensils should be used in the microwave oven. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in such items sparking. This includes metal utensils, wire twist ties, etc.

  • If the microwave comes with a metal rack, be certain that the rack is installed properly on all four of the support brackets. If not, sparking can occur. The brackets are plastic to prevent sparking from happening when installed properly. If the rack is not installed properly and the it touches the wall inside the microwave, sparking will occur.

    Improper Rack Installation Improper Rack Installation
  • If the microwave hasn't been cleaned for a while, food crumbs and spill overs can overcook and cause sparking. Clean any food spills immediately and keep the interior of the unit clean. After cleaning, check to be sure there hasn't been any damage to the interior of the cavity before continuing use.

  • If the interior of the cavity has been damaged, arcing and sparking can occur. Discontinue use of the microwave, the unit will require repair service.

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