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Microwave experts: Why would my microwave spark if there's no metal in it?

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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 07:22 PM
Original message
Microwave experts: Why would my microwave spark if there's no metal in it?
I've never had this happen before. For a quickie dinner, I was heating up some frozen veggies to add to some leftovers, and suddenly they started sparking here and there. I thought it might be due to a metal fragment somehow ending up on the plate and tried again with a paper plate, but it happened again.

I doubt that there are metal fragments in the veggies, which come from my local food coop, but I'm not going to eat them till I get an answer. :scared:
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. sparking happens a lot with greenbeans. Something about the natural metals within them.
My local news did a segment about it. My microwaves sparks all the time with greenbeans. It's normal.
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. i disagree, i microwave them all the time and i have never had them spark.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Yes, I've been microwaving frozen veggies longer than some DUers have been alive
and this has never happened before. Maybe I DO need a new microwave.
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:33 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. Why Sparks Occur When Cooking Vegetables in a Microwave
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/concen/specif/...

Why Sparks Occur When Cooking Vegetables in a Microwave

When cooking certain vegetables in a microwave, sparks may occur and, on closer examination, the vegetables may display small burns.

Dense vegetables such as green beans, carrots and green peppers have a higher amount of minerals in them than other food items. These minerals include iron, magnesium and selenium.

Arcing Effects in Microwaves
The minerals act like tiny pieces of metal and create arcing effects in a microwave. The sparks result as the microwaves reflect or bounce off the metal. The arcing does not harm the food but it does prevent it from heating thoroughly.

Extensive arcing can damage the oven's magnetron tube.

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sniffa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. Was your baby wearing metal?
Oh wait, never mind.
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:50 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. Dark Duzy
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
3. How old is the microwave?
BoyMidlo blew our ten yo model up heating up some soup. It sparked, then smoked horrible. Be careful.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Ah, there ARE green beans in the mixture!
The microwave is about three years old, but it is cheap. :shrug:
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Wow. I never heard that about green beans!
I usually pan fry my frozen ones with garlic because that's the only way my family will eat them, but I need to be careful in reheating. :scared:
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I don't think the sparking is harmful, just startles you.
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. Ever try microwaving a CD?
Back when AOL was spamming everyone with their CDs, I used them for this fun little experiment.

Microwave a CD for 3 seconds (no longer, or it'll smell even worse afterwards) - you'll get a cool lightshow in your microwave.

Allegedly, this could damage your microwave, but every time I've done it, my microwave still worked afterwards.
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 04:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
17. You right, we know he did it trying to make some weapon of terror to help you terrorize -
middle school caffeterias.
:P
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Doug.Goodall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 05:12 AM
Response to Reply #3
19. That happened to me also. The magnetron blew and there were big lighting flashes behind inner wall
The lights dimmed and there was a big cloud of smoke in the room.

I yanked the plug, and tossed that thing right out the front door. I consider myself lucky the house didn't burn down.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
7. Demon possession. Call an exorcist. -nt
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
8. i am the self proclaimed Lift one corner to vent Queen and in my almost expert opinion it's
time to get a new microwave.
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LostInAnomie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
10. Straight up racism.
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
13. I've seen microwaves spark when there is nothing inside them and they are on.
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-09-08 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
14. I think you need to perform an exorcism
Seriosuly, you obviously trapped an evil demon in there with your veggies...

:P
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Darth Lenore Donating Member (107 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 05:01 AM
Response to Original message
18. That damn supercollider thingy....
...has obviously weakened the boundaries between parallel dimensions. You've got a portal in your microwave.
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
20. Probably just a black hole trying to start up. nt
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Symarip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
21. Appliance Repairman Symarip To The Rescue!
Ok. First thing to check. In a lot of microwaves, there is a metallic looking paper shield on the right in side the cavity. If grease gets on that puppy, it can cause all kinds of sparks. Most of the time, this little film of metallic paper can be removed, gently, and cleaned.

Second, in the ceiling of the cavity, often, there is a wave stirrer. If it gets stuck, or the motor ceases to work, there is a potential for sparking. Typically, there is a plastic thumb screw that can allow access to this puppy. Open it up, if there is one, and check for debris and grease.

Next, check your turntable plate. If grease and yuck is on there, sometimes it can react with whatever food you've just placed in the microwave. Popcorn grease is usually the culprit here.

Lastly, yes, it can be the food. If there is a good amount of metal in the rinse water of the frozen vegetables, there can be minor sparking. If this is occuring, try and do a rinse off your vegetables and see if fixes the issue or at least, decreases.

I wouldn't necessarily panic if there is sparking. Microwaves have to meet a TON of safety standards set by the FCC in order to be sold. If there was a major major major issue, your microwave would simply shut down.

If you could provide me the make and model. I might be able to drum up some more possibilities.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Thanks!
I'll give it a good cleaning and see if that helps. :thumbsup:
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