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Microwave Sparking Inside When Cooking?

microwave with sparks

You use the microwave every day to heat up food or prepare delicious dishes. Microwave ovens are capable of much more than heating food. They can also cook or grill, roast, steam, and bake, depending on whether you use a combination or standard model. Although these devices are simple to use, there are some rules that must be followed – if not, you could experience sparking while cooking.

If your microwave starts to spark, it could be a sign of a malfunction or incorrect use. The following is a list of the possible causes and remedial measures.

  • The mica plate is damaged or worn
  • You’re using metallic cookware
  • The protective interior lining has worn off
  • The microwave is broken
  • The oven interior of the microwave is scratched or damaged

Why are sparks forming in my microwave?

It is scary if the microwave suddenly sparks while you’re waiting for food to cook. This phenomenon, however, is not usually serious – although “shocking” if you’re not expecting it to happen. First, turn off the microwave and then disconnect it from mains power.

It’s important to understand how the microwave works. The microwave emits electromagnetic waves which propagate within the cooking space, setting the molecules in containers, food, and liquids into motion.

This causes heat to be created and cooks the food. To determine the cause of sparks in your microwave, you will need to inspect the following items.

Mica Plate

Every microwave is equipped with a mica plate. The mica plate directs the waves in a specific direction, ensuring a better distribution of electromagnetic waves within the microwave.

Mica, a silicate mineral that is naturally occurring in nature, is heat-resistant. The function of your microwave’s mica plate can be affected if it is stained with grease (fat splatters are common during cooking).

This element should be cleaned with a sponge that has been washed in soapy water. Once cleaned, dry with a paper towel and leave the microwave door open until all has dried. 

Damaged Mica Plate

location of Mica Plate inside microwave

If sparks persist after cleaning the mica plate, you should check for damage. Sparks can be caused by cracks, holes, or burnt areas. It is recommended that you replace the mica plate in this instance.

This replacement part can be ordered directly from the manufacturer. Or, you can purchase a mica plate and cut it to fit your device. You can buy plates that have been already cut to size in the universal format for use in all microwave ovens.

It is easy to replace the mica plates. This part can be identified by its grey colour. It is attached to the side wall of the cooking area. You can simply screw the plate into the holders or place it in the provided slots.

Using Metalic Cookware In the Microwave

Because metal is a powerful electrical conductor, electromagnetic waves interact with this material, making it unsuitable for microwave cooking. The microwaves bounce off metallic surfaces, instead of being absorbed, which causes the notorious sparks inside.

You want to avoid any possibility of sparking. The sparks can cause damage to certain components of the microwave or could start a fire. You should not place metallic vessels, cutlery, or aluminium foil in the cooking area. Ceramic or glass vessels are preferred.

Can Foods Cause Sparks?

Because of their high iron content, certain foods should not be microwaved in their raw state. This is true for spinach, carrots, and green beans. These foods can be cooked in the microwave by using a container that you have poured water in and then covering it with food wrap. This will ensure that the food is cooked evenly.

Small sparks can be caused by oily splashes from fatty foods. Make sure you use the plastic cover provided with your microwave.

When preparing foods with more fat than water, it is normal for the microwave to make dull or crackling sounds.

Faulty Diode

The microwave diode, which is essential for your device, is responsible for regulating the power of the microwaves inside your appliance.

They can sometimes be damaged or broken down from heavy use over time. Sparks and a burning smell can result, and if the diode is shorted it may cause a loud hum sound.

typically, you’d need to open the microwave up, which would need to be done by a professional.

A Faulty or Broken Microwave

If your microwave produces sparks despite following all the steps, it may be time to have your appliance repaired or replaced. Sparks can indicate that your microwave is not cooking evenly. If the microwave does not properly cook food, this could indicate that there is a danger of food poisoning.

Related: A Guide on What To Do With a Broken Microwave

Scratched or Damaged Interior

A damaged interior of a microwave can expose bare metal, which may result in sparks. This often happens around the vent or door frame, as bowls and other objects can cause chipping.

There is a simple trick to fix this problem. There are several types of paints and enamels that are available which are specifically designed for repairing appliances such as cookers and microwaves. These enamels are heat resistant and very durable, so any starches or chips inside your microwave can be covered.