I was reheating food from the fridge that had to defrost a little bit. I had reheated about four types of food, the microwave made a sound, and it stopped working. I had taken the food out and touched the top of the microwave. It was hot so I had unplugged it and let it cool down. What do I do now to get it to work again?

  • 3
    If it won't turn on, don't do anything yourself. Microwaves use high voltage and you could get a severe shock if you opened the unit and fiddled with wires. If the sound was something on the circuit board, you can fix it. If the outside top was very hot, I'd be very concerned that it's couldn't safely turned on without risk.
    – Giorgio
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 2:33
  • @Dorothy Hopefully they will unplug it before fiddling with the wires.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 11:25
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    @Paparazzi true, but you can still get a rude jolt even when it's unplugged. Microwaves are best left to the experts and, when they die, often much less expensive to replace than repair. Mind you, I just replaced the one I had for nearly 30 years, with never any problems.
    – Giorgio
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 15:31
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    @Dorothy. Do you mean the expert or the microwave dies?! Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 16:37
  • There's every chance it'll work again once cool and plugged back in. Like when a hair dryer over heats.
    – Doug
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 9:19

2 Answers 2


Three possible things to consider: steam in the electronics (which should be sealed from that so it would be likely to happen again); sparking when heating the last item, which can confuse the electronics; simple overheating, again of the electronics.

In the latter two cases, leaving it unplugged for a few minutes before trying again should be fine. This is less likely to help if the control circuit has got wet. I assume here that you've got a sensible electrical system with an independent safety earth (ground) and circuit breakers, like I'm familiar with testing appliances on. If you don't, I can't recommend that you test it. I don't suggest that you remove any covers, and definitely don't open it up without it having been unplugged for several hours, or power it up with any covers off, even if you'd do this on other appliances.

  • It's also possible to spark or overheat badly enough to burn something important out, in which case waiting wouldn't help.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 16:41
  • @Jefromi That's why I use the word "test". If it doesn't work after a wait, the exact failure mode doesn't matter: it's not a home repair, and unlikely to be economic to repair
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 16:50
  • Gotcha (it was the "should be fine ... less likely to help if" that sort of implied to me that you were suggesting it was likely to work) - maybe add that into the answer?
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 16:52
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    @ChrisH "it's not a home repair, and unlikely to be economic to repair" is to me the most important take away here
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 16:58
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    @Jolenealaska, if it doesn't recover after being unplugged for a while. It can take a surprisingly long time
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 18:03

The sound made can have been a reversible overtemperature switch (eg a bimetal switch) engaging. If that is the case, the device should work flawlessly again if given enough time to cool down.

If you want to make sure whether the device, IF it works again after cooldown, is safe for continued use, ask the manufacturer support.

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