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Frequently asked questions

Get fast answers to common microwave questions here!

MICROWAVES

If your microwave is not performing properly or producing the cooking results you want, there are things to check before you call for service.

Often manufacturers' websites will offer suggestions. GE Appliances and Frigidaire have extremely comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions information on their websites. Here is information from those two sites.

From Frigidaire website:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - FRIGIDAIRE

Click on one of the statements below to get answers.

Cooking times seem too long.
Entire oven does not operate.
Food is overcooked.
Microwave power does not come on.
Noise.
Oven light intensity varies.
Sparks or arcing.
Steam/moisture accumulates inside the oven and/or around the oven door.

GE Appliances

From GE Appliances website:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - GE Appliances

Click on one of the statements below to get answers.

My touch panel does not operate correctly
My microwave runs, but does not heat
My turntable isn't turning
There is a popping noise or arcing in my microwave
My microwave has an odor
How do I clean the interior of my microwave?
How do I change the power level on my microwave?
How do I set the clock on my microwave?
How do I replace the oven light in my over-the-range microwave?
How do I test the performance of my microwave?

For safety reasons GE does not offer or recommend "do it yourself" repairs on microwaves. There is a capacitor in the microwave which stores a high voltage charge even after the microwave has been unplugged from the AC/electrical power supply.

ANSWERS

Cooking times seem too long

  • Incorrect power level has been used.
    Check the recommended power setting for the particular food item.
  • Low voltage.
    Longer cooking times may be necessary if the voltage is below normal. Check with local utility company.
  • Other appliances on the same circuit.
    Microwave oven must be plugged into its own 15 ampere circuit.
  • Utensil used is blocking or absorbing microwave energy.
    Do not use metal utensils.

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Entire oven does not operate.

  • Cord/plug not plugged into wall/floor receptacle.
    Make sure it is plugged tightly into outlet.
  • House fuse blown or circuit breaker tripped.
    Check/reset circuit breaker or replace fuse. Do not increase fuse capacity. If the problem is a circuit overload, have corrected by a qualified electrician.
  • Power outage. Check house lights.
    Call local electric company.

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Food is overcooked.

  • Incorrect power level has been used.
    Some foods require lower power settings. Check cookbook instructions for individual food items.
  • Incorrect time has been selected.
    Carefully follow the cookbook instructions and initially use minimum time suggested.

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Microwave power does not come on.

  • Incorrect programming of the control panel.
    Touch CANCEL and reprogram the oven.
  • Oven door is not securely closed.
    Open the oven door, then close securely.
  • START has not been touched.
    Touch START.

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Noise.

  • Fan is circulating air to cool working parts.
    This is normal.
  • Pulsing sound occurs when lower power levels are being used.
    This is normal.

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Oven light intensity varies.

Power level other than high (100%) has been selected.
This is normal.

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Sparks or arcing.

  • Aluminum foil is used incorrectly.
    Use foil only as directed in the cookbook.
  • Metal utensils or utensils with metallic trim are being used.
    Do not use these utensils in the microwave oven.

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Steam/moisture accumulates inside the oven and/or around the oven door.

  • This occurs when foods with high moisture content are being cooked.
    Wipe with a soft, clean cloth to remove.
  • Vents on the sides of the oven are blocked.
    Locate the oven in an area that permits free air flow around the unit.

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My touch panel does not operate correctly

To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug this appliance from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.

  • Make sure that the microwave is plugged into a grounded outlet. It must be a 3-prong outlet.
  • Make sure that your clock is set.
  • Check to see if a programming sequence was entered. Sometimes improper programming or a program sequence such as delay start can cause the touch panel to be non-responsive. Unplug microwave or turn off house circuit breaker for 30 minutes. Plug back in, or reset circuit breaker, and try reprogramming unit.
  • Check the house circuit breaker or fuse box. If the microwave is "Dead"- there is no display and nothing works- the problem could be a blown fuse or tripped breaker.
  • If none of these suggestions solves the problem, we would recommend service for the microwave.

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My microwave runs, but does not heat

If the microwave runs, but does not heat, it could be one of many parts. We recommend that the microwave be diagnosed/serviced by a qualified service technician.

For safety reasons GE does not offer or recommend "do it yourself" repairs on microwaves. There is a capacitor in the microwave which stores a high voltage charge even after the microwave has been unplugged from the AC/electrical power supply.

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My turntable isn't turning

To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug this appliance from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.

  • Make sure the turntable is centered and seated properly. On models with a stirrer motor there is a shaft protruding up through the floor of the microwave. Make sure the turntable is securely fastened to this shaft. In models that turn on a ring with wheels attached, make sure the turntable is seated securely on the ring.
  • Check the turntable to make sure it is placed right side up. If the turntable plate is upside down it will drag on the floor of the microwave.
  • Finally, be certain you are pressing a "cook" function rather than a "timer" function.

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There is a popping noise or arcing in my microwave

To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug this appliance from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.

  • Popping sounds are usually caused by the food item being cooked in the microwave. Food items with a higher fat content will pop and sizzle as they cook. Covering the container will reduce this. You may also hear noises when cooking foods with tight membranes such as potatoes. Pierce the skin of potatoes before cooking.
  • Food spills will also cause popping noises. Clean up spills in the microwave as soon as they occur.
  • Operating the microwave empty may also cause popping to occur and can damage the interior. Always have something in the microwave when in use.
  • Arcing in a microwave is caused by using metal or metal-trimmed cooking utensils in the microwave. Check Use and Care Manual to see which models will accept this type of utensil.
  • Check to see if the cooking probe has been left in the microwave. If using the probe, make sure it is properly inserted into the food item. If not properly inserted it can cause arcing and destroy the probe.
  • If using the metal cooking rack, make sure it is firmly in place and not upside down.
  • If the popping noise is electrical or mechanical in sound, arrange service.
  • If you see a hole burned through the oven cavity do not use the microwave until service has checked the unit thoroughly.

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My microwave has an odor

To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug this appliance from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.
For burned food odors:

  • Clean up spatters and spills as they occur. We recommend washing the interior with baking soda, or a non-abrasive detergent, and letting it dry.
  • If the odor persists, we recommend you try one of the following: Mix 6 tablespoons of baking soda and one cup of water or Mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice and one cup of water.
    Place either solution in a microwave safe dish of appropriate size and heat for 2 to 3 minutes on high power.
  • We also recommend leaving the door open for 2-3 hours when the microwave is not in use to let the microwave "air out."
For "newness" odors in a microwave:
  • First-time usage of a microwave may produce some smoke. This is typically a very small amount and is perfectly normal.
  • On microwave/convection models, dust particles can accumulate on the convection element and burn off when in use producing a small amount of smoke. Once dust has been burned off, the smoke will dissipate.

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How do I clean the interior of my microwave?

To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug this appliance from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.
For interior cleaning:

  • Spills and spatters clean up easily with a damp, soapy paper towel or sponge. It is best to clean soil as soon as it appears. Baking soda and water may also be used.
  • If food is cooked onto the interior, heat one cup of water on full power for three minutes. The heat and steam created will help to soften food. After the three minutes, allow five additional minutes stand time and then clean as usual. Soft Scrub works well for stubborn stains. An all-purpose cleaner containing bleach may also be used for cleaning purposes.
  • Oven Magic may also be used for interior cleaning.
  • For stainless steel interiors of microwave/convection models we recommend a soap filled scouring ball such as S.O.S. Rubbing gently with an S.O.S. pad will help remove soil.
For door surfaces- both interior and exterior:
  • We recommend you use only mild, non-abrasive soaps, or detergents applied with a sponge, or soft cloth.
For the control panel:
  • Wipe with a soft, damp cloth. Dry immediately with a soft cloth. Do not spray any solution directly onto the controls.

Important: Commercial Oven Cleaners or abrasive cleaners should never be used on any part of the microwave.

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How do I change the power level on my microwave?

  1. Press "Time Cook" or "Micro Cook".
  2. Enter cooking time.
  3. Press "Power Level".
  4. Select a desired power level 1-10 (default is 10).
  5. Press "Start".
If these instructions do not appear to apply to your model, contact Camco, by calling 1-888-261-2088, for more information.

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How do I set the clock on my microwave?

  1. Press "Clock".
  2. Enter the time of day.
  3. Select AM or PM.
  4. Press "Start" or "Clock".
If these instructions do not appear to apply to your model, contact Camco, by calling 1-888-261-2088, for more information.

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How do I replace the oven light in my over-the-range microwave?

To minimize the possibility of electric shock, unplug this appliance from the power supply before attempting any maintenance or cleaning.
To replace the oven light in most models:

  1. Disconnect the power at the main fuse or circuit breaker or pull the plug.
  2. Remove the top grill by taking out the 2 screws that hold it in place.
  3. Remove the screw that secures the light housing. It is located above the door near the center of the oven.
  4. Replace the bulb with a like bulb.
  5. Replace the light housing screw and grill.
  6. Connect the electrical power to the oven.

If these instructions do not appear to apply to your model, contact Camco, by calling 1-888-261-2088, for more information.

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How do I test the performance of my microwave?

  1. Place a glass bowl (preferably a 2qt. Pyrex measuring bowl) with 1qt. of water in the center of the microwave cavity. The water must be 59-75 degrees Fahrenheit (15-24 degrees Celsius).
  2. Heat the water for exactly 2 minutes 30 seconds on High (this is the default setting).
  3. A temperature rise in the range of 28-40 degrees Fahrenheit (15-22 degrees Celsius) indicates that the oven is cooking properly.

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