Help! The Microwave Is On Fire! | Common Causes Of This Scary Problem

You pop your leftovers in the microwave, hit the button, and wait for your food to be warmed. Suddenly, pops and crackles fill the kitchen, you smell smoke, and there are flames inside the microwave. No matter who you are or where it is at, flames in the kitchen are a scary sight. Act quickly and pull the plug on the microwave to shut down the power. This is a scary situation, yes, but for the most part, a microwave throwing sparks or catching on fire is a pretty common problem. Take a look at some of the reasons the interior of a microwave will catch on fire and why you might need appliance repair

You are trying to heat something metal. 

So most people do know that you can't put metal objects inside of a typical microwave, but this can actually happen a lot easier than most microwave users realize. It's all-too-easy to leave a metal utensil on a plate when you are heating something up. Some dishes even have metal implements like silver rims or golden details. Plus, anything with foil somewhere on the wrapper can cause the problem. The microwaves target the metal and just like they do the food, but metal charges won't have anywhere to go, so even a small piece of metal can generate a spark or fire. 

You have leftovers hanging out in the microwave that is getting too hot. 

If you do not clean the interior of your microwave on a regular basis, you may very well see flames because the food bits are getting too hot. This is especially true if there is something containing oil or fat inside. For instance, if you cook microwave popcorn in the appliance often, the greasy butter can get caked up inside and catch on fire if it gets overly hot. Thankfully, this problem is pretty easy to avoid. 

There is damage to the protective mica sheet covering the operational components. 

If you look inside most microwaves, you will see what looks like a small sheet of hard cardboard affixed on one side. This mica sheet, often called a waveguide, helps prevent the main heating components from the steam and food particles that can be emitted during heating. If this small sheet gets damaged, food particles and steam can get inside of the electrical components and generate sparks or flames. If you notice this sheet is damaged, it must be replaced immediately to thwart risks of fire and risks of destroying your microwave.