Why replace your microwave when you can always repair the one you have lying around in your kitchen or kitchenette? When the microwave first came to be, the homeowners of yesteryear found it such a convenient appliance that it became one of the many major appliances that we use today.
Yet another inclusion into the series of accidental discoveries, the microwave was not an invention founded on purpose. In fact, it was the early 40’s when Percy Spencer, a self-taught engineer from Maine, was toying with an active radar set when his chocolate bar he had in his pocket was melting.
A little tidbit of information is that the first thing to actually be microwaved was the popcorn, then an egg. It’s an even funnier anecdote to think about when the first egg being microwaved had exploded onto the face of one of the engineers. When it first came to the scene, the microwave had become a marvel of technology that scientists couldn’t wait to unravel. In the 50’s, a British engineer was able to melt a cryogenically frozen hamster with a microwave.
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Nowadays, the microwave has become a utility that homeowners love to use almost every day. Without it, how else could we get that delicious movie popcorn we can’t wait to consume? Or reheat the leftovers we had from the night before?
Most homeowners only know the quick flashcard notes of how a microwave works. The reason why the appliance is now a household appliance used in so many different homes is because they generate and regulate the control of radiation. Unlike appliances like ovens or stovetops that use conductive energy, microwaves use magnetrons to heat up all the molecules in your cold food. However, that doesn’t mean that microwaves are these invincible appliances that never need replacements or repairs. In fact, the life expectancy of your microwave is essentially about seven years.
There are quite a few challenges to overcome when repairing a microwave, however. Unlike the other major appliances we use on a daily basis, the microwave is interchangeable in the damages it can deal with. There are a slew of issues to choose from that can be the cause of your worries and the origin of such problems can be quite hard to find. However, this guide will help you figure out the costs to repair your microwave.
Table of Contents
- Common Problems to Research
- The Professionals You Might Need
- Is it Worth Repairing a Microwave?
- Ways to Prevent Your Microwave From Breaking
- Hiring a Professional or Professionals Through House Tipster
Common Problems to Research
Now that we live in the 21st century, we heavily rely on our major appliances. There is practically ninety percent of the whole country’s population that uses a microwave oven and although it can be costly to repair a microwave oven, it’s that much more expensive to outright buy a whole new one.
Some of the common issues that a microwave oven comes across can be fixed with a pair of professional hands and there are some issues that you can fix yourself. The cost of repairs on any appliance you need fixed will always depend on what kind of damage is causing it to be faulty and how bad the severity of the damage is.
Microwaves are very dangerous, in fact, they can be deadly if used incorrectly. The door of the microwave keeps the emittance of microwave radiation from peering out into your modern kitchen. Microwaves also won’t run unless the door is completely shut. It’s a safety function meant to keep you from being injured.
The average cost to fix your microwave door can cost from a range of up to $200 to even $500. There are very few reasons as to why your door might not latch, the assembly itself can be the underlying problem. One issue to consider inspecting is the debris that may be obstructing your microwave door.
If your microwave is installed next to a cabinet, inspect the hinges, and the nearby area where the cabinet meets the appliance. The assembly of the microwave could have some piece of food or object in between the two.
Your door might not be the problem and the glass on your microwave door might just be cracked. If this is the case, you may just want to replace your whole door. Since the cost of the glass can average into $150 to $400, it’s a much better option to just replace the entire part instead.
If the switch on your microwave might be hindering the activation of your appliance, then this is an issue you should inspect very closely. There are three switches to concern yourself with, there is the primary interlock, the secondary interlock and the monitor switch to worry about. Both switches are located inside the cabinet and they usually turn on through the hooks and the latches on your microwave door.
In most cases, all three switches rarely ever break and the damage is usually uncommon amongst the reasons as to why your microwave might not be working properly.
Typically both the primary and secondary interlocks have wires on them. The wires are either marked common or open. If you do not see continuity for the switch, then it most likely needs to be replaced. The average cost for a door switch can add up to $50 to $100.
The handle on the microwave is certainly outmoded with the newer models of microwaves, but if you have an older model already installed and it’s in good condition, why spend more money when you can simply buy a new handle? The average cost for a handle can estimate into $75 to $125.
Homeowners are quick to rush into just buying a brand new microwave but if it’s a simple issue of your latch not working properly, all you need to do is disassemble the door. Commonly known for most microwave ovens is the fact that there are two protruding hooks from the door which fit into the door switch holder. This part of your appliance is what signals the microwave whether the door is closed or whether it is open.
Like anything that needs the usage of electricity, before you decide to shock yourself, unplug your dysfunctional unit and check the spring. Check with which model you currently own and research what kind of screws are in place. Investigate and access your torsion springs because more often than not, those springs will probably be the key issue.
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Magnetron Repair or Replacement
The item that is responsible for heating or reheating your food is the magnetron, or in a more technical term, the high voltage diode. In all technicality, it is the high-powered vacuum tube that uses the power from your electricity to convert the area inside into an electron and magnetic field. It’s probably the most essential piece of equipment for the functionality of your microwave.
Like a telephone that transmits and receives radio waves, the magnetron transmits and receives microwave signals. Over time, like all things, the usage of your magnetron will wear down and will need to be replaced. You’ll most likely need to replace the magnetron and the cost range will, on average, be about $50 to $150.
The average price of the part itself may be inexpensive but the budget goes mostly to labor. We, at House Tipster, highly advise homeowners not to fix this part themselves. Not only is it difficult to fix this part, but it is also quite risky and it is a health hazard. In some cases, a magnetron, depending on the make and model of your microwave, can be costly to replace, so list out what the problems of your microwave may be. This way you can outweigh the issues and decide whether you’d like to fix the magnetron or just purchase a new microwave instead.
Touchpad and Control Board Troubleshooting
The difficulty with the touchpad and the control board is that there are intricacies to know about before you can repair or replace them. The touchpad’s membrane is quite easy to fix but the control board is the hard part of the repairing process. In any body, organic or inorganic, there is a metaphorical brain that upkeeps the functions into the rest of the portions.
If the magnetron was the heart of the microwave, the touchpad and the control board would be the mind. Either of these two parts being faulty will create many problems to the point of replacing the microwave instead. However, luckily, there are repair specialists always available to assist you. The average estimated range for a new touchpad could be from $100 to $300, and that all will depend on your make and model. While the average estimate for a new control pad will range from $100 to $500.
These two major parts of the microwave control the temperature, timing, and microwavable features and functions. These are two parts that will act as financial hurdles. As a suggestion, if you wish to buy a new one, research and find a make and model with cheaper options for your touchpad and control board. If your microwave breaks down,
Repetitiously readjusting the microwave plate might seem frustrating but it’s the plate that maintains the warmth of your meal and controls even distribution throughout the dish you’re wishing to reheat. Isn’t it even more of a frustration to know that the turntable isn’t spinning? When your plate isn’t turning, you can check if there’s an issue by inspecting the motor.
Unplug and flip your microwave over and unscrew its underbelly. There’s a part that’s detachable from the motor. Once you detach the wires from the parts, you’ll see a three-toothed gear and you can detect what the underlying issue is. There could be food stuck in the mechanism and if that isn’t the problem, then you might have to replace the whole thing.
Depending on the type of microwave you own, the average price of your replacement turntable can be about $75 to $150. It is especially important to replace your turntable if it is cracked or it is completely broken in pieces.
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There are a few fuses inside your microwave. There is the main fuse, or the line fuse, which fractionally cuts the electricity if there is too much power flowing throughout the appliance. A thermal fuse makes sure to manage the power if there is too much overheating detected. The average cost is estimated between $50 to $100.
Before you decide to spend the money to replace your fuse, you should test it to see what’s wrong with it. Homeowners don’t casually own multimeters. But there’s a reason a responsible homeowner would own one. Multimeters help you test batteries, check the status of your extension cords, sort your old light bulbs, inspect issues with your light fixtures and faulty switches. In this case, your multimeter will help you test your fuse, checking whether it needs replacing or not.
There is another type of fuse in your appliance called the ceramic fuse. This fuse is the part of your unit that keeps your power from being interrupted. The flow between the controls of your microwave actually depends on the ceramic fuse. The ceramic fuse is actually located near your power cord and can be found within the cabinet.
The average range of cost for a new multimeter can be about $130 to $400. The portion of your replacement budget will most definitely be well worth it when you find the key to the controversy revolving around your appliances. To test your microwave, use the tool to perform a continuity test. By investigating further, you can see if there is a continuous electrical path present in the fuse. Doing so will help you with the insight of whether your fuse has blown out or not, if the needle in the display of your multimeter doesn’t change when you test out your fuse, do yourself a favor and buy the aforementioned and affected fuses.
It’s unfortunate that most homeowners lack the knowledge that if they own an over-the-range microwave and the appliance has a charcoal filter, found near the top, then the filter needs to be replaced every four to six months. If you didn’t have that knowledge, now is the time to take action and make the habit of cleaning the filter, if it is clogged with grease and other contaminants.
It’s a favorable price to replace with an estimated range of $50 to $125. It’s even less expensive to just clean it. Found either underneath the microwave or atop, the filter can be easily removed by sliding or popping it out. Once you do so, you place the filter into a sink or a basin, whichever area you decide to fill, make sure it is filled with hot soap water or water mixed with a quarter cup of baking soda.
Now, you can go to your sofa, chill out for about ten minutes or more, depending on the gravity of how greasy your filter is, and then pull it out. Use a brush to clean it with thorough care, making sure the frame or the filter itself is not compromised. Afterwards, rinse the filter in hot water and dry it either by cloth or air. It is pretty simple to clean your filter.
Another application the multimeter brings to the table is inspecting the status of your microwave’s fan motor. The average cost of an exhaust fan ranges between $75 to $200. Unlike the other parts of the microwave, repairs for the fan cannot be done with simple cleaning. However, the average costs to replace your fan can range between $75 and $200.
Any and every fan in existence has one purpose, to recycle and recirculate the flow of air from one location to another. Although the problem isn’t solved through simple cleaning, repairing your exhaust fan remains simple. By disassembling your microwave and taking your cover off, you can free-spin the blades. Again, use your multimeter to check if the power is the complication you’re facing. Labor costs, if the repairs are severely needed, can increase depending on the kind of unit you own.
High voltage arcs are meant to be robust, cheap and easy to hook up. Once you take a look at your transformer, you can see that within the mains input there are two blade connectors on the primary coil. The simple method here is to place a lamp cable (or any other bridged lacing available) on those two connectors and give it power.
The average range of costs can be from $100 to $300. Although it may not seem expensive nor cheap, the range is the way it is because the transformer acts as yet another portion of functionality for your microwave. This part of your appliance amplifies the power and formulates your microwave energy.
Remember, the transformer is different from the rest of the parts listed on this article. Although replacing a transformer might be required, it is very dangerous to do it yourself, so ask a professional or specialist to help you with the job.
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There are different mechanisms that cause noises within your microwave. Any of the parts listed above can be the source of the chaotic symphony made by noise you’re hearing when you turn on the microwave.
The Professionals You Might Need
For the portions of your appliance that we’ve delved into, the factors of where your power comes from are actually very significant details to know about. With this knowledge, you can find a repair specialist and figure out what you might need to replace and which part can be repaired.
The most beneficial reason as to why you would want to hire a licensed specialist is because every part of your appliance is readily available on hand. The labor costs will drain your budget by around $50 to $100 per hour, but the specialist, no matter the level of expertise, will only need about an hour to make your fix less complicated. Although the cost is at an hourly rate, you should also remember that there is a service fee applied to your bill. This cost of travel and assessment will set you back about another $50 to $100.
Although the most common and most simple issues one might find in a microwave can be done by the homeowner, it’s best to think about the safety of everyone in the home. This appliance is essentially a danger if handled incorrectly. By picking up your phone and calling a professional for an estimate, you’ll be lowering the risks that come with handling your hazardous appliance.
Is it Worth Repairing a Microwave?
It’s quite an incredible feat, however, that a microwave can actually last about 20 years if you take good care of one. Besides the multimeter, homeowners should also consider a microwave leakage tester. The average cost of a microwave leakage detector or tester will range about $20 to $200. There are detectors that even read EMF measurements.
So the question you’re wondering is whether you should repair your microwave or just have it replaced. The answer lies in how complicated your issues may be. Within the cost breakdown of repairs you might have to make, you’ll be able to determine how simple or how complicated a repair will end up being. If you can find the general gist of the core problem of any of your appliances, you’ll know more about whether you should spend your money on replacements or repairs.
Ways to Prevent Your Microwave From Breaking
Everybody should know these common preventative measures, but the measures are rarely ever actually followed.
First guideline to prevent your microwave from breaking down is to clean the gunk and mess you leave after you heat up your food is what leaves bacteria and corrosion to potentially harm your microwave. The best solution to this is cleaning up any kind of spill or debris as immediately as you can. All that hardened mess will eventually become more and more difficult to clean in the end.
This should be an obvious and rhetorical guideline to always follow but never turn your microwave on when it’s left empty. The misconception here is that it is the radiation solely heating up your food alone, when in truth, it’s actually all of the water molecules that your food absorbs that heats up. If your magnetron isn’t heating up the moisture, then the radiation and energy will just reflect around the chamber. As a result, large standing waves will be trapped in your unit.
This is the guideline to follow the most. Hopefully, your parents told or taught you not to put metal into your microwave. It’s not a myth to say that the metal will bounce all that energy and radiation around and the emission will end up burning out the inner proponents of your appliance.
Another cautionary guideline to think about is the selection of containers you decide to put in your microwave. It’s not too complicated but like metal, plastic is a hazard to watch out for. Although only some plastics melt, all plastics have molecules that peer into your food, making it essentially inedible and extremely dangerous to eat.
Shorting out your microwave is a surefire way for you to get injured. By purchasing a surge protector for your appliance, you can protect yourself from electrocution or any possibility of starting a fire. A surge protector that is of good quality only costs about $40 and there are even some that are below that price.
Hiring a Professional or Professionals Through House Tipster
Replacing or repairing your microwave is not too complicated, but also not too simple. Before even making a purchase for a newer model, you need to understand what goes into either the cleaning or replacing process. Safety and costs are the first things to remember pertaining to all of your installations.
Your ongoing search for information and finding a professional can be achieved through House Tipster. This site is a one-stop shop for both research on home renovations and estimates by local experts. Consider hiring a professional through our site, within the comfort of your home.
Check out House Tipster, and find the perfect pro for your home repair needs. How Much Does a Microwave Repair Cost? Find out from professionals in your area.
Featured image by U.S. Army Korea from Flickr