Microwaves are one of the most essential appliances in your kitchen, they allow you to both quickly and conveniently heat food and can be a real lifesaver when you’re in a hurry. So when you experience a problem with your GE microwave not heating, it can be very frustrating to deal with.
But don’t worry! This issue has been widely reported by users, and we know exactly how to fix it.
So in this article, I’m going to list all the leading causes of this problem and show you how to get the problem solved as quickly and easily as possible.
Why is your GE Microwave Not Heating?
When a GE microwave stops heating, it’s most commonly due to an electrical problem with one or more internal components. The heating process relies on important components such as the magnetron, capacitors, and even the door switch plays a significant role in its functionality.
So if any of these components go bad or fail, they’ll need to be repaired/replaced before the microwave oven will work again.
1. A Diode has Gone Bad
The diode is a small yet vital component when it comes to the functionality of a microwave. It essentially takes the AC (alternating current) that comes into the microwave oven via the transformer and converts it into DC (direct current).
This process doubles the voltage and is used to power the magnetron, producing the microwaves that heat the food.
So as you can imagine, if the GE appliance diode goes bad, no microwaves will be produced. Thus, the food cannot be heated.
The microwave diode will need to be tested for continuity using a multimeter, and if it’s found to be faulty, it should be replaced.
2. The Door Switch is Defective
In case you didn’t already know, microwaves are harmful to our bodies. So these appliances utilize a sophisticated door that keeps the microwaves contained inside.
This comes in the form of a grating that lines the inner door, which reflects the microwaves back into the oven. It also utilizes a tight door-latching system which stops microwaves from escaping through the gap.
Because microwaves can be harmful when the door isn’t in place, there is also a switch that tells the microwave that the door is closed and it’s now safe to turn on. These door switches have been known to go bad, so even when the door is technically closed, the microwave will think it’s still open and refuse to start.
When this happens, the door switch will need to be inspected and replaced if it’s not working.
3. The Magnetron has Burned Out
This is probably the single most important component within a microwave as it’s what physically generates the microwaves that heat the food. Sometimes the magnetron can run into problems and overheat itself to such a degree that it burns out.
A few common reasons for this are due to the microwave being run with nothing inside, so there’s nothing to absorb the microwaves. Likewise, if the turntable has been removed, it also means fewer objects are absorbing the waves, which can also cause it to overheat.
They can also just burn out through age too, so even if you’ve never done the things listed above, it’s possible your magnetron can still fail.
Unfortunately, a magnetron is not self-repairable, so in this instance, you will have to replace it with a new one.
4. The High-Voltage Capacitor has Burned Out
The high-voltage capacitor is a part of the GE appliance power system, it works in tandem with the high-voltage diode to increase the voltage to power the magnetron.
So although the machine might still function, the power output of the magnetron will be so dramatically reduced that it will seem like the microwave’s not heating at all.
These capacitors are fairly small and easy to replace, but they can also be dangerous as they can fill with gas and are at risk of exploding. So you will usually need to have a trained technician address this problem for you.
5. The Transformer has Failed
If you notice a loud hum while the microwave is in operation or can smell something burning as it’s running, then the transformer may be going bad.
In this case, the transformer will need to be replaced as soon as possible as a bad transformer can present a risk of electrical shock.
6. The Thermal Fuse has Blown
The thermal fuse is a safety component designed to protect the microwave (and your kitchen) from harm in the event that something overheats to a dangerous level. It does this by constantly monitoring the internal temperature of the microwave, and should it exceed a safe level, then the thermal fuse will blow and immediately cut the power to the microwave.
While this is great for protecting against fire and further damage to the internal components of the microwave, it does sacrifice itself in the process and is a single-use component.
Because of this, when a thermal fuse blows, the only solution is to replace it.
How to Fix a GE Microwave Not Heating?
In order for the microwave to operate properly, all of the various components within the microwave need to work together to amplify the voltage, generate the microwaves and heat the food, all while remaining safe.
With these potential failure points in mind, let’s now take a look at how to get these problems rectified and restore your microwave to working order.
1. Replace the Microwave Diode
Firstly, the diode needs to be tested with a multimeter for continuity; if it’s found to be faulty, then it should be replaced.
This is quite an involved process, so don’t hesitate to contact a qualified technician for assistance should you not feel confident doing this yourself.
Should you wish to replace this yourself, here is how to do it:
- Start by unplugging the microwave from the power outlet; you should never work on a microwave while it’s plugged in.
- Remove the inner plate and its supporting stand.
- Remove the bottom panel where the diode is behind.
- You’ll need to discharge the capacitor before moving forward.
- At this point, it’s a good idea to take a picture of the wiring setup, as you’ll need to plug these back in using the same configuration once the new diode is installed.
- Using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, remove the diode from the capacitor; this can now be discarded.
- Place the new diode in its place and re-install the wires and panels using the same configuration as they were used before.
Now you can plug the microwave back in, and it should be ready to be used.
If you find it’s still not working, there is a chance you’ve installed the diode the wrong way. These are one-way components, so consider flipping it around.
2. Replace the Microwave Door Switch
If the door switch has gone faulty, then the microwave won’t operate as it thinks the door is still open. When this happens, the switch will need to be replaced.
- Once again, start by unplugging it from the power source.
- Remove the grill and control panel from the door, which obscures the switch assembly.
- This should now reveal the switch, you now need to unscrew the switch assembly and put it out.
- The switch also needs to be removed from the assembly; you can do this by pressing the release tab, allowing the switch to pop straight out.
- Insert the replacement switch in its place and then install it back into the microwave.
- Re-install the grill and control panel.
Now you can plug the microwave back in, and the door should now be functional.
3. Replace the Magnetron
Once a magnetron has burned out, the only option open is to replace it, as these are very difficult to repair. However, the process of replacing the magnetron can only be performed by a trained technician.
We recommend contacting GE customer support, who will arrange for a trained professional to replace this for you.
4. Install a New High-Voltage Capacitor
The high-voltage capacitor needs to first be checked with a multimeter, and if it’s found to be faulty, we once again recommend contacting GE support for assistance, as capacitors can be dangerous components to work with if you are not sure what you are doing.
5. Replace the Failed Transformer
The transformer is one of the most critical components in the microwave as it allows the microwave to receive power.
If the transformer is making any strange sounds or you can smell burning, then the microwave should be immediately unplugged from the power source and the transformer replaced.
If you would like to replace the transformer yourself, you can do so by following this guide, although do note it is quite a lengthy and involved process. So you may want to save time by calling a professional.
6. Replace the Thermal Fuse
If the thermal fuse has blown, the only option is to replace it, as these are single-use components.
- As always, start by unplugging the microwave from the power source.
- Remove the vent grille at the top of the microwave; depending on your model, you may need to open the door to access this grille.
- Remove the control panel and any exterior panels necessary to access the thermal fuse.
- Ensure that at least 10 minutes have passed since you unplugged the microwave from the power source. This is to ensure that the capacitors have had adequate time to discharge.
- Locate the old thermal fuse and unclip it from its housing, this can now be discarded.
- Insert the new thermal fuse in its place.
- Re-install the control panel and vent grille.
- Power the microwave back on.