Have you ever tried preparing food in a microwave but it just won’t heat up? This is a problem most microwave owners experience sooner or later, and it can be due to one of several reasons that I’ll talk about in this article.
So, what can you do if your GE microwave is not heating food? I compiled a list of the 5 most common reasons why your microwave oven might not be working properly and also added some tips on how to fix the problem.
- GE Microwave Is Not Heating Food But Runs?
- 5 Reasons Your GE Microwave Won’t Heat
- Plate Not Turning And Microwave is Not Heating
- Repairing A GE Microwave That’s Not Heating
- GE Microwave Not Heating: Solved
GE Microwave Is Not Heating Food But Runs?
Although you may hear your microwave running, there could be one issue with one of the components preventing it from heating your food. The first thing you should know is that this is a common occurrence. Components that make up a microwave oven have expiration dates and will stop working properly after a while.
The second thing to remember is that only because your microwave stopped heating food doesn’t mean you’ll need to buy a new one. You can often just replace one component and it’ll work properly again.
5 Reasons Your GE Microwave Won’t Heat
There are a number of reasons why your GE microwave is unable to heat your food. Here are the five most common problems, listed in the order that you should troubleshoot them. So start by checking the door switch for faults and work your way down the list.
1. Faulty Door Switches
Your microwave oven is an appliance that relies on microwave energy to heat food. Although this type of energy isn’t harmful to food, it can cause burns on human skin if you ever get exposed to it. Thankfully, this appliance is designed in a way that prevents it from producing microwave energy unless the oven door is closed.
If the door switch is faulty on your microwave, you won’t be able to fully close the door. This also means that your appliance will stop heating food. There are typically three door switches on a microwave oven, and if any one of them is faulty your microwave won’t heat.
You can test the door switch with a simple test. With the microwave oven set to cook and with the cook closed, gently lift the door upwards and downward in an attempt to engage the door switch sensor in the door with the receiver in the microwave case. If the microwave intermittently switches on during this procedure, you can be certain you need to replace the door switch.
Replacing a Faulty Door Switch
Replacing a faulty door switch is one of the easiest microwave fixes. What you’ll need to do is remove the screws attached to the microwave frame. Now remove the control panel, and you’ll see a small plastic box that’s black or gray. Remove the door switch by disconnecting it from the parts it’s connected to and install the replacement. Here’s a short video on how to replace a faulty door switch.
2. Faulty Magnetron
The magnetron is the component in your GE microwave that’s responsible for generating heat. It’s easy to spot the magnetron as soon as you unscrew the casing from each side of the appliance. This component looks like two metal boxes that are stacked on top of each other. If your microwave is not heating, you should test the magnetron for electrical continuity.
How to Test Magnetron for Electrical Continuity
After you remove the casing of your microwave and spot the magnetron, here’s what you should do to test it for continuity.
- Unscrew the magnetron and pull it out of the appliance.
- Set your multimeter to the lowest ohm setting and connect its leads to the terminals of the magnetron.
- In case the magnetron is working, it will show a reading below 1 ohm on your multimeter.
- To ensure it works properly, you’ll also need to place a lead against the metal casing of the component with the multimeter set to the highest ohm setting.
- Your magnetron is working properly if you get a reading of “OL” or “Open Line”.
Here’s a video detailing how to replace a magnetron on a GE microwave.
3. Burned Out Diode
The microwave diode is tasked with providing the magnetron with the voltage it needs to operate. You can find the diode beneath the bottom panel of the microwave. It’s a component connected to the high-voltage capacitor. If it’s burned out, the diode often shows visible signs of damage, like burned cracks and blistered spots.
How to Replace a Microwave Diode
If you need to replace a microwave diode, here’s how you can do it.
- Remove the turntable plate and support after opening the microwave door.
- Unscrew the bottom panel and locate the diode.
- You’ll see a screw securing this component. Remove it and disconnect it from the terminal of the capacitor.
- Install the new diode and ensure you get the right polarity.
4. High-Voltage Capacitor Failed
The high-voltage capacitor is a component that transforms the power it receives from the socket to the high voltage the magnetron requires to function optimally. As previously mentioned, this component is connected to the microwave diode.
Testing the High-Voltage Capacitor
To test this component, set your multimeter to 1,000 ohms and connect its leads to the terminals of the capacitor. If you get a reading of 0 ohms, the capacitor has failed and you’ll need to replace it.
5. High-Voltage Transformer Failed
You might notice a burning smell coming from your microwave if the high-voltage transformer stops working. There’s also the possibility of seeing sparks of electricity coming from the appliance. In both of these cases, you should instantly unplug the microwave and stop using it until you replace the component.
Testing the High-Voltage Transformer
It’s hard to miss the HV transformer, as it’s a big, square-shaped metal box. To test this component, you’ll need to grab a multimeter and connect its leads to the transformer terminals. You should get a reading of between 50 and 70 ohms. In case you don’t, it means that the transformer is not working properly.
Plate Not Turning And Microwave is Not Heating
It’s not easy to determine exactly which component is preventing your microwave from heating food without testing different parts for continuity or inspecting them for visible damage. But in case you notice that in addition to the microwave not heating the plate is also not turning, it will be much easier for you to determine what needs to be fixed. In this specific scenario, the problem stems from a faulty turntable motor.
Faulty Turntable Motor
You can test whether the turntable motor is working properly with the following steps.
- Disconnect the power from the microwave and remove the turntable.
- You’ll now see the motor powering the turntable; remove its wires and grab a multimeter.
- Match the voltage the motor is rated for on your multimeter.
- Connect the leads of the multimeter to the motor terminals.
- In case there is voltage, you’ll need to replace the motor. If not, another component is causing the issue.
Repairing A GE Microwave That’s Not Heating
You identified what’s causing your microwave to not work properly. Now, what do you do? Should you repair the appliance or buy a new one? The answer should be based on how long you’ve owned the microwave and whether one or more of its components are faulty.
Is Your Microwave Still Under Warranty?
If you’ve recently bought your microwave, it means that it’s still under warranty. In this case, your next step is to make a claim and have the appliance fixed or replaced by the provider of the warranty.
Cost to Fix Microwave Vs Buying A New Machine
When you start doing a thorough inspection of the different components in your microwave, you might notice that multiple parts are faulty. Replacing a single part won’t be too big of a cost, but ordering several components could be quite expensive. In this case, the best course of action might be to buy a new microwave. To decide what you should do, it’s important to calculate the cost of ordering parts versus buying a new appliance.
GE Microwave Not Heating: Solved
After reading this article, you’ll be able to determine why your GE microwave is not heating food. The main thing you should remember is to inspect different components that could be causing this problem. It’s a good idea to have a multimeter handy when you’re checking whether certain parts are operating properly.
Once you determine the cause of the issue, your only next step is to figure out how to fix it. You can do it yourself, make a warranty claim, or hire a professional repair technician.
Andy has over 8 years of experience working on residential household appliances, performing diagnostics, and repairs across most major brands. He graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology, is NASTeC certified, and has worked for Mr. Appliance. Andy has contributed to features on major publications including Better Home & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Yahoo.com.