Why is Your Microwave so Noisy?

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There are few things more disruptive to your kitchen than a noisy microwave. When you’re cooking and holding a conversation or listening to TV or radio, a noisy microwave can drown out everything else going on. Or perhaps you sometimes get up in the middle of the night craving popcorn or a slice of leftover pizza. You load up your plate, ease the microwave door open and closed and punch in a quick-time button to minimize beeps. But the roar and rattle if the microwave wakes up your family anyway and soon your secret snack is discovered.

There’s not one single fix to a noisy microwave. In fact, any of the several moving or high-powered parts in the microwave could be the source of the noise. But the quality and characteristics of the noise and what you can quickly troubleshoot can help you identify what’s wrong and maybe even get it fixed. Let’s take a closer look at why your microwave might be unpleasantly noisy. 

Rattling Turntable

The first and easiest thing to fix is a turntable that rattles. While this can be caused by the drive motor, which we’ll get to in a moment, it might be something much more simple and safe to address.

Check out the plate to make sure it’s clean, even, and uncracked.

Then inspect the guide-roller which is the wheeled thing that holds up the plate as it spins. This is your most likely easy-fix problem. If the guide roller is broken, cracked, or critically dirty, it can cause the plate to rattle as it spins.

Finally, check the coupler which is the three-pointed nubbin that sits on top of the motor post and is what the plate locks onto. A cracked plastic coupler can pull the plate in an uneven way which can cause rattling. 

Drive Motor

The drive motor is the motor that spins the plate by way of a post and the coupler. It is, understandably, located underneath the microwave compartment and accessed through the bottom panel. If the drive motor is wearing out, it may have started to make extra noise as it hauls the plate in a circle in the microwave. If it has started to falter, then it may cause the plate to move irregularly and to rattle. 

Exhaust Fan Motor

Overhead microwaves are often installed with a built-in exhaust fan that may help dissipate fumes from the kitchen. Believe it or not, running the exhaust fan while you run the microwave can actually make the microwave seem louder. And not just in a combination of sounds. An aging exhaust fan motor may be creating extra noise inside the microwave.

Try turning the exhaust fan off and then run the microwave. If the microwave seems much quieter, then the exhaust fan may have been amplifying that noise or possibly interfering with the unit’s other functions. If the microwave is just as noisy, then the exhaust fan is simply stacking its sound on top of the microwave sound as usual. 

Stirrer Motor

Yet another motor that could be making extra noise (as motors are moving parts that make noise) is the stirrer motor. This is a part of the microwave that most people are unaware of. The stirrer motor spins a metal blade that distributes the microwave energy by rotating. The rotation of the stirrer helps distribute the microwaves evenly and contributes to any amount of evenness in your food’s heating.

When the stirrer motor starts to fail, you may start to hear a grinding sound as the stirrer blade begins to move unevenly or the motor has a hard time keeping up. 

Magnetron

All the motor failures will sound more like roaring or rattling. However, the magnetron is not a motor. The magnetron tube is responsible for creating the microwave frequency that provides heat and cooks the food. When the magnetron is new and working well, it is practically silent. But over time, you may start to hear a growling or a high-pitched whining sound coming from your noisy microwave. When this happens, it is likely to be an aging magnetron wearing out. The magnetron is one of the least DIY-friendly parts to repair. 

Repairing Your Noisy Microwave

If the problem of your noisy microwave goes beyond a rattling plate or cracked coupler, then you’ll need to make some careful decisions. Microwaves have a special kind of battery that can hold a high-voltage charge for hours, even days, after the appliance is unplugged. This means that you will need to know how to discharge the high-voltage battery or unplug the microwave and wait a week just to get started.

From there, microwaves have a large number of components very tightly packed inside a wrap-around shell. No easy-to-remove panels like your dryer or fridge. It is quite possible to replace broken and worn-out microwave parts DIY, but only if you are very careful and reasonably confident with a screwdriver.

If you want to repair but don’t have the time or handiness to unwrap your microwave and tackle the problem yourself, your best bet is to call an appliance repair technician who can do the job quickly and safely. 

Repair or Replace a Noisy Microwave?

Finally, you want to ask yourself whether it’s best to repair the noisy part or to replace the whole microwave. If the microwave is older than eight years, then there’s a good chance you’ll start to see multiple part failure and you might as well upgrade to something cool like a smart microwave with voice controls anyway. But if it’s just one piece that’s making a ton of noise and needs repair, it’s often more affordable and convenient just to replace that piece.

—If your microwave is unreasonably loud or no longer cooking evenly, this is a problem that can be fixed. Whether you choose to tackle the situation with a screwdriver in-hand or call a professional appliance technician to make the noise stop, we can help. Contact us today for more appliance repair guides, detailed instructions on replacing your microwave components, or professional assistance from a skilled appliance repair technician. We can provide everything you need to get your microwave back to satisfactory performance.

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