Got a microwave that isn’t working after a power outage? Don’t worry, it’s a common issue. This article reviews some safe and easy ways to troubleshoot and fix your microwave if it won’t turn on after the power is restored after an outage. The cause could be the electrical outlet, the electrical box in your basement, or an issue directly inside of the appliance.
Let’s jump in and learn something new, and gain some good brownie points at home for knowing how to fix your microwave without the need for professional help!
Microwave not working after power outage?
Power outages are caused by various culprits including lightning strikes, high winds, ice build-ups on power lines, tree branches, hungry squirrels, and traffic accidents.
In many cases, a power outage is preceded by a power surge. Power surges can travel through your home’s electrical system and overload household appliances like microwaves.
If you know a storm is incoming, it’s a good idea to disconnect your electrical appliances from their wall plugs. Wait until you’re sure the inclement weather has passed before replugging them in.
8 steps to fix a microwave after a power outage
If you have had a recent power outage, the power has been restored, and your microwave won’t operate, the appliance may simply need to be reset. Or maybe a fuse needs replacing. In most cases, the solution is easy and fast to achieve.
Some of the steps listed here may seem rather obvious. That’s OK. When you’re troubleshooting an electrical appliance, it pays to move slowly and always check the most obvious possibilities for the problem first. It’s always better when a quick, simple fix works relative to having to result to more complex repairs.
The following steps are listed to maximize the ease and efficiency of successfully repairing the issue at hand. Ready? OK, here we go!
Step 1: Safety first
Electricity is an integral part of daily life – and it is also a deadly killer. Please never take safety for granted, especially when attempting to repair or service an electrical appliance of any type. If you aren’t being attentive, fatal results can occur in a split second!
Step 2: Check the plug & outlet
One very basic thing to check is that the microwave is plugged in. For whatever reason, it may have been disconnected from its power source.
Check not just that the appliance is plugged in, but also that the plug and outlet are in good operating order. The plug on the microwave cord should fit into the wall receptacle firmly. If there is play, you should have the outlet serviced or replaced before using it further.
In the meantime, you can plug your microwave elsewhere and continue with the following troubleshooting steps.
Step 3: Check GFCI resets
A (ground-fault circuit interrupter) GFCI wall outlet perpetually monitors the load of electricity flowing through its circuit. This type of power outlet is constantly “scanning” the circuit it is part of, searching for any abnormal imbalances in electrical current.
A GFCI outlet has a built-in breaker so that it can instantly interrupt the circuit if it detects an imbalance, such as the loss of electrical current caused by a power outage.
GFCIs have two different buttons: a Reset button and a Test button. They are labeled as such. The reset button will be “kicked” like a breaker if the device interrupts the power supply to the circuit. Simply apply inward pressure and it will “snap” back into place, restoring the power to the circuit.
Pressing the Test button will interrupt the power and cause the Reset button to be kicked again. This means the device is operating the way that it should. Resetting the GFCI outlet may be all you need to do to resolve your microwave power problem.
Step 4: Check the breaker
It’s possible that the power outage caused the breaker in the electric service panel to kick off. The concept is the same as with GFCI outlets.
If the breaker that controls your microwave is kicked, you can quickly reset it by clicking it to the ON position.
Then you can plug your microwave back into the outlet and check to see if the power has been restored. If so, done deal!
Step 5: Try a hard reset
Sometimes, all that’s required to make a troublesome microwave behave better is a “hard reset”. It’s very simple to do. Just unplug the microwave, wait a few minutes, and plug it back in. In almost all models, this will reset the internal defaults, which should restore the proper function.
In many cases, a hard reset also works to clear error codes on your microwave. Two of the most common codes among manufacturers are PF (power failure) and a series of the number 8 – like 8888, for instance.
If an error code keeps showing up after a hard reset, please consult your Owner’s Manual for instructions that are specific to the brand and model.
Step 6: Check the door latch
Microwaves are equipped with multiple door switches that let the machine know when it is safe to operate. If these switches are not properly engaged, the unit will not power up. If the door is open or not properly closed, the microwave will fail to function.
A microwave’s door latch is called an “interlock switch”. If a microwave door gets slammed one too many times, it can cause a malfunction in the interlock switch or in the sensors that determine when the door is properly shut.
Replacing a microwave door latch is straightforward and can be accomplished by most DIYs without too much struggle. However, you may require or just want a skilled technician to do this for you.
Step 7: Check the fuses
Refer to Step 1: Safety First! Never service an electrical appliance that’s plugged in!
Ceramic fuses are used in microwaves to protect the appliance from large power fluctuations and critical faults of the microwave’s internal electrical components.
It’s possible that the power outage or an associated power surge caused the ceramic fuse to blow inside your microwave.
The ceramic fuse is in the rear of the microwave, behind a metal screen, right where the power cord emerges from the unit. To check the ceramic fuse, you’ll have to use a multimeter and test it for continuity.
The ceramic fuse will most likely be protected by a plastic shell that snaps apart to expose it. Test the fuse with a multimeter continuity tester. If the fuse is blown, a new one commonly costs less than $20.
There are also “thermal fuses” in microwave ovens that require more knowledge, skill, and expense to replace. This service normally requires a professional.
Step 8: Consider seeking professional assistance
If you have safely and carefully followed all of the steps above and the microwave is still not showing signs of life, then you may have incurred some damage to the unit’s internal electrical/electronic components.
If this is the case, you should consider the value of the microwave and the feasibility of hiring a professional technician to service it.
Remember to stay safe when troubleshooting or servicing an electrical appliance. Even the fanciest microwave in the world is not worth getting injured over – or worse!