If your microwave oven doesn’t work and the light doesn’t go on, first make sure that it is receiving power.

Check the receptacle outlet that it is plugged into. If it is a GFCI outlet with a reset button, or if its outlet is connected to other GFCI outlets in the kitchen, try pushing the “Reset” button to reset the GFCI.

Microwave Oven Diagram
The electronic components of a microwave oven are not designed for DIY repair. Designua / Shutterstock.com

If that doesn’t do the trick, the problem could be at the electrical panel. A microwave is typically plugged into a receptacle on a dedicated 20-amp circuit (meaning it is the only appliance on that circuit); if your microwave isn’t, it may have over-taxed its circuit breaker at the electrical panel. In this case, find the electrical panel and check for a tripped circuit breaker. If you find one, flip it to “Off” then back to “On.”

Reset the GFCI receptacle that serves the microwave oven. ©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Because microwave leakage can be hazardous and high wattage is present, it is usually a good idea to limit your do-it-yourself microwave repairs to simple tasks such as changing the light bulb (if the light bulb is easily accessible).

If your microwave is arcing or you suspect that it may be leaking, don’t mess with it. Because microwave ovens are relatively inexpensive, it’s often smartest to just replace a faulty microwave with a new one.

For other repairs, call a qualified microwave technician.


Featured Resource: Find a Local Appliance Repair Pro

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort