Microwave made a scary noise

alisande

This morning when I pressed Start on my microwave it emitted a huge SNAP, very loud, and similar to the crack of a .22 rifle. Made me jump back and shield my face. This happened once before, about two weeks ago. Both times the microwave worked fine as usual, and made no sound the next time I used it.

Any idea what this could be? I don't want to create a dangerous situation by continuing to use it. It's 10 years old, BTW. A Whirlpool Gold over the range.

Thanks!

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socks

Are you using dishes you have always used in the micro or something new? Maybe the dish had some metal in it.

Here's Whirlpool's contact page:

http://www.whirlpool.com/contact-us/

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alisande

Thanks, Susan. I'll try contacting Whirlpool--good idea.

It would make sense that the wrong kind of cookware could cause something like this, but I didn't even have a dish in the microwave when it happened this morning. I was warming up a frozen bran muffin enough so that I could easily remove the paper from around it.

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jemdandy

Warming a frozen bran muffin...

Are you sure it wasn't a small steam explosion when a small piece of the interior of the muffin thawed and then flashed to steam? That can make a 'pop'.

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alisande

Jem, I'm not that much of a wimp! LOL

My food has made all sorts of noises in the microwave, but none of them made me duck. This was a loud CRACK.

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socks

Did your turntable crack somehow? Sometimes if I don't get the turntable seated properly, it can make a clunky noise, but probably nothing like you describe.

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socks

Did your turntable crack somehow? Sometimes if I don't get the turntable seated properly, it can make a clunky noise, but probably nothing like you describe.

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socks

Did your turntable crack somehow? Sometimes if I don't get the turntable seated properly, it can make a clunky noise, but probably nothing like you describe.

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suzieque

Alisande, I've no idea what it was, but I know that that's not normal microwave behavior. Given that, I urge you to get rid of it and buy a new one; they're not that expensive now. It's certainly not work risking your safety.

If you think it might be an electrical issue and not the microwave itself, get an electrician in to check. Don't mess with this.

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Sally Brownlee

alisande, please read the attached link. I think it might be what you are experiencing.

Here is a link that might be useful: loud bang

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sooey

Interesting link, salgal. It sounds exactly what Susan was talking about. Good find!

sooey

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chisue

That answer sounds likely as anything. I hope my 13-yr-old built in M/W isn't about to fail. It cost an arm and a leg to have a technician replace the *lightbulb* in it last year. (No, kiddies, you cannot do this yourself.)

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socks

Yes, microwaves are cheap now, but probably not the over the range one which probably has a power vent and light in it.

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suzieque

Still cheaper than a fire or other resulting catastrophe from a malfunctioning unit.

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alisande

Thanks for your input, everyone! Salgal, that sounds exactly what I heard. Interesting that she described it as a gun shot, and so did I.

I almost laughed when I read this:

You can continue using your microwave until it dies. However, make sure you don't leave the room while it is on. If the microwave is overheating, smoking, sparking or reproducing electrical burning smell, unplug it immediately as it could catch fire due to failing.

Who would want to use the microwave with that caveat?? Not I. Plus I couldn't unplug it even if I wanted to; it must be plugged in behind it, or some other invisible place.

I'll start researching microwaves immediately. Thanks again!

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Lorinda Tai

Glad i found this forum. I'm experiencing the same issue and it sounds like it's time to get a new microwave!

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Alisande

Yikes--I can't believe I posted this almost two years ago! I still have the same microwave. I guess I don't use it very often. It has made the same noise maybe twice since this discussion. At this point I do have a replacement, but we haven't installed it yet. I need to watch a YouTube video on the removal/installation process.

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nicole___

I used an over the range microwave in my last whole house remodel and was very pleased with the RPM's the fan had, but the cost for a new one....WOW! I picked up this one for $75, an LG, "like new" on CL.

Hope you got a deal as well!

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Alisande

It was a pretty good deal. For one thing, I got it on sale. Also, I downgraded from the top-of-the-line Whirlpool Gold to another Whirlpool more reasonably priced. (Although it wasn't anything like $75--good going, Nicole!)

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walto9999

Found that steam from pot cooking under microwave, and using microwave to heat up a cup of coffee is a bad combination. Suspect moisture is getting into microwave electronics and causing a large capacitor to discharge when the start button is pressed. Result is a loud bang, but if you're lucky, the microwave will still work. I hope that newer microwaves have been designed to prevent this type of problem.

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Alisande

Thanks, Walto; that's interesting. It probably explains why my original microwave is still in use, even though I bought another to replace it some time ago. I don't do as much cooking as I used to, although I've made soup a number of times this winter. Whenever I press Start on the microwave I brace myself for a gunshot, but it hasn't happened in quite awhile. (I hope I didn't just jinx that.)

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walto9999

Just curious... do you recall if you were cooking something on the stove at the same time that you pressed the Start Button and heard the bang? If so, that would be pretty conclusive evidence that moisture and a capacitor were the culprits. I have long been disappointed in the lack of common sense safety precautions in the overall design of electric stoves as well as microwaves... but that's another story.

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Alisande

No, I have no idea what was going on when I heard the bangs. (It has happened several times.) I've read online that the bang is a sign that something (I forget exactly what) is failing, and it's only a matter of time before the microwave stops working entirely, sometimes accompanied by fire.

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JoAnn_Fla

Get rid of it, its not worth the risk!



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Alisande

I'm sure you're right, JoAnn. We've just let it go on so long we're in a rut. Back when this first started, I watched a video on how to remove an over-the-range microwave and install a new one, but now I've forgotten the details. I'll have to start over. :-)

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caflowerluver

Tonight I was thawing out some frozen chicken when mine made a loud bang/snap. I was standing right next to it, I made a yelp and jumped high enough to almost touch the ceiling. I told my DH it was dead, the chicken was still frozen after full amount of time. He didn't believe me so tested it with a cup of water, after 2 minutes still ice cold. I guess after 10 years it is time to get a new one. At least it is easy to replace since it is a counter top one. I have never had this happen before. I got my first one, a Amana Radarange, in 1980.

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Alisande

My first one was an Amana Radarange too, Caflowerluver. I wonder what happened to them.

Glad your microwave quit without a fuss--except to your blood pressure, perhaps. Enjoy your new one!

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kdpjsp323

I found this site after Googling the same "SNAP" noise symptom with my Whirlpool microwave. This is the 2nd time mine has done this in the past 6 months or so. What puzzles me is that the microwave never misses a beat when this occurs. So....me thinks there could be another reason for the noise that hasn't been addressed here yet. A small spider or bug may have found it's way into the inner workings of the microwave, and may be in a place that causes a momentary "short circuit" when I hit the power button. The "SNAP" is the bug literally exploding. Once it explodes, the problem is gone - that is, until another critter takes up residence as before. That could explain why the microwave continues to work like nothing happened. I think I will keep using my microwave until I am sure it is ready to "give up the ghost", but everyone should make their own educated decision. BTW, I am not an expert on microwave ovens, but I have seen some weird stuff in my 30+ years as a mechanic (retired). IMHO.

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walto9999

the bug theory is certainly possible, but in my case, the evidence is indisputable - steam rising from the stove, combined with hitting the start button, will always cause a loud bang. This has been verified (unfortunately) about 6 times. Microwave still works fine otherwise.

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Alisande

I'm sure I share this house with a number of small bugs and spiders, so this could be the explanation--thanks!

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Antoinette Arsic

I just had the same thing happen with my Whirpool Gold over the range! It's not the small snapping of a bug, it is like she said - a very loud bang like someone shot a pistol but it kept going. Everything is clean, nothing is crack, turntable is fine, same soup bowls I always heat that are microwave safe. I can't find the plug (not in any cabinets) so I turned off the breaker and called my home warranty company. I really thought I would have to call the fire department but haven't seen smoke. Horrible!!!

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Antoinette Arsic

I shut the breaker off as the plug is not in a cabinet accessible. Again, not a snap, a very LOUD BANG like a pistol shot standing next to you. Freaked me out. Hope the home warranty replaces it. Manuf. 02/2009.


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Alisande

Antoinette, it may reassure you to know that I heard several "gunshots" since I first posted almost three years ago, and I'm still using that microwave without incident. It hasn't made a noise in more than a year. I don't use it a lot, but I use it a little bit every night to warm canned cat food. :-)

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Antoinette Arsic

Oh gosh. Sears is coming this morning - I hope they take it away. I was boiling water (cooking pasta) on the stove with the vent on but I have been doing this for 3 years. Maybe the magnetron is failing. I can't get to the plug so I have to hit the breaker. No more gunshots for me! LOL. Thanks for answering.

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Alisande

Sears is pretty good about these things, I think. Best of luck!

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Antoinette Arsic

Alisande - the technician was just here. He said it was "wave tunnel burnout which leads to magnetron failure" and even though the microwave keeps going it WILL eventually burn up top and cause a fire, and recommended not using it and keeping the breaker off.

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Alisande

Thank you, Antoinette. I really should take that as a warning. I have the replacement microwave; all I need to do is push myself and my son to Just Do It. I know there are YouTube videos with instructions . . .

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kdpjsp323

I am going to retract my bug theory I posted back in March above. My wife was boiling eggs on the stove top yesterday when I decided to reheat some leftovers for lunch. As soon as I hit the start button, blue flaming sparks shot out of the top of the display panel along with a deafing "CRACK" sound. My wife screamed and I jumped higher than I ever did as a kid. Both of us nearly soiled ourselves. The microwave continue to run and turn, but the food stayed cold. I was VERY leery of trying again, but I did, no sparks or CRACK sound this time, but food still would not heat up. Noticeably louder humming noise than usual too. I guess it really did "give up the ghost" this time. Long story short, I just ordered another unit like it (Whirlpool 1000 watt), so that the brackets and vent should be close to the same for easy installation. Online cost from Best Buy was less than $185 with free shipping or pick up at store. I don't think I could even buy parts and fix it for anything less than that. Bottom line, just replace it. Not worth the risks. BTW, my old microwave is maybe 5 years old, but it was used a lot.

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Mike K

Just incase anyone else is having this problem of the loud pop on start up of your over the range type whirlpool microwave oven, I had this exact problem and found the problem to be an arcing high voltage capacitor. Well it wasn't the capacitor itself but the wires connected to it that was arcing on my unit. I had to take the whole cover off of the microwave to see the charred wires. To repair this make sure it's unplugged of course and discharge the high voltage capacitor with a screw driver. This is very dangerous if you don't know what you are doing, so please do a search on google about this first if your not sure about it. After making sure there is no voltage on the cap, remove the wires from the capacitor with some needle nose pliers and use electrical tape or some heat shrink tubing to insulate the areas on the wires that were causing the arcing. I believe the main problem was due to the way they routed the wires on the capacitor so the bottom wire ran vertically right up against the top terminal of the capacitor which created a point where the cap would discharge as soon as the microwave was turned on. In any case by simply re-routing the wires so they aren't so close together and providing better insulation, you will never hear that popping sound again unless the magnetron fails. That is also a common thing to go bad in a microwave oven but is not the culprit in this case. My wife is still scared to turn the microwave oven on due to threat of a loud pop but it has never popped again after doing the simple fix described above. Mine actually started arcing so bad that it popped repeatedly and blew out the line fuse. That's when I finally took it apart and figured out what was going on. It works flawlessly now. There is no need to be afraid to boil water or create steam on your range. This was definitely a wiring issue from the manufacture. My model number is WMH3205XVS-1.

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Alisande

Thanks, Mike. The repair sounds too dangerous for me to proceed, Google or no Google, but I'm glad it worked for you. My model number is completely different; I'm sure the units have similarities though.

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Alisande

Well, I finally replaced the old microwave with the new one I bought quite a while ago. After watching 3 or 4 YouTube videos on how to replace an over-the-range microwave, I decided there was no way I was going to attempt this, and I hired someone to do it. So glad I did. The existing bracket didn't work for the new model, even though both microwaves are the same brand, and he had to drill new holes in the wall. But the installation is complete, and the old microwave is outta here!

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Antoinette Arsic

I still have a hole in the wall. One day I'd love to get at least a range vent and lights again. For now I got a countertop microwave.

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William Lovell

Heating bowl of soup in delph bowl. Loud pop bowl turns on side spilling soup. Next time I put thick wad of kitchen paper under bowl. I think this prevents steam build up under bowl little pops but nothing to worry about


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kbklarry

Three plus years later, I came across this discussion and I have to thank "walto9999" for his explanation that steam produced on the stove top can cause a capacitor in the microwave to discharge making a loud pop some described as a gunshot type sound. This happened to me yesterday and we were boiling a large pot of pasta right below the microwave which was dripping with droplets of condensed steam. I thought I needed a new microwave and now I'm quite convinced that I don't.

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patriciae_gw

The moral of all these stories is that over the stove is no safe place for a microwave.

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