The microwave is a daily part of most of our lives. While some people perfect their home cooking on the stove, the majority of modern homemakers have a whole recipe book of microwave tricks for quick food or speeding up traditional cooking. Unfortunately, microwaves are not all magic and quick heat. There’s also the noise.
Most microwaves make a soft hum as the plate spins and the magnetron runs. But when something goes wrong or as a microwave ages, that noise can get louder. You might hear a rattling sound, a scrape, or the hum might just rise to a roar. There are only a few moving parts in a microwave that can cause this sound. These are six possible causes of a noisy microwave follow, along with suggested ways to return peace and quiet to your kitchen.
The roller guide is the small-wheeled frame that holds up the plate as it spins. The rollers allow the plate to spin while still being supported all the way across. This makes it safe to place heavy plates and bowls into the microwave without the plate tipping.
However, if the roller guide cracks or the wheels become too dirty, you may start to hear a rattle.
Solutions: Clean, Repair, Replace
A rattling roller guide has a few possible solutions. Start by cleaning the microwave floor and the roller guide wheels. When the wheels and surface are clean, the roller guide should roll smoothly. If the posts are cracked or broken, they can be mended with glue or tape. You can also easily replace the roller guide by simply removing it and placing a new one.
The drive coupler is a small three-pronged piece of plastic in the center of the microwave floor. It connects to a similarly grooved center of the plate’s underside and provides the spinning torque necessary to rotate the plate. If the drive coupler is cracked or broken, it may fail to keep a grip on and apply force to the plate, which can cause scraping or continual cracking sound.
The only solution for a broken drive coupler is a replacement. This piece of plastic often slips off the post of the drive motor for a quick exchange with a new replacement coupler.
The drive motor provides the actual power for spinning the plate. It is naturally located underneath the microwave with a post that extends to support the drive coupler. Motors make a distinct set of noises as they grow old and fail.
If the drive motor goes out, you may not need to replace your microwave. But you will need to replace the motor. Access the underside of your microwave to access the drive motor and replace it with a new identical motor.
Exhaust or Convection Fan
Some models of microwave have a fan that blows air through the microwave chamber. A failing fan is a common source of appliance noise because the fan will scrape or roar as it fails. If you have tracked the problem down to one of the fans inside your microwave, a quick replacement will usually do the trick.
Solution: Clean or Replace
Fans tend to get pretty dirty and your fan may not yet have broken beyond repair. Your two options for a noisy microwave fan are to clean the fan (and change any filters) or to fully replace the fan assembly. We usually recommend cleaning before replacement, just in case that works.
The stirrer is a metal blade that spins around inside or near the magnetron. It helps to distribute the actual microwaves that heat the food. However, because the stirrer is a moving part, it can produce additional sound that will make your microwave noisy.
Solution: Replace, New Microwave
If your stirrer has worn out, not only is the heat in your microwave less distributed, but it will usually be a difficult replacement. You may be able to replace just the stirrer. But the cost of doing so may compare to a new microwave. This is always worth considering.
Last but not least is the magnetron itself. The magnetron is a special component that creates and disperses the microwaves that cook your food. The magnetron is the core element of a microwave and without it, there is no appliance. This said, magnetrons only become noisy when they have grown old and inefficient.
Solution: Replace, New Microwave
If your magnetron is dying, it’s potentially time for a new microwave. A new microwave would potentially cost less than an individual replacement magnetron and would come with all-new features, keypads, and other useful add-ons. Why is your microwave noisy? Find out for yourself and enact the solution.