Question about Microwave Ovens

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How do I test a microwave for 'leakage'?... Does calling to a cell phone placed inside a closed microwave indicate 'leakage' if the cell phone rings/receives the call? Thank you

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The "cell phone" test is a fraud. Cell phones operate on a frequency range much lower than microwaves (800 MHz for phones and 2.5 GHz for the ovens), and the metal screen in the microwave door won't affect them. The phone will ring loud and clear and it doesn't mean the oven is leaking microwaves.

You can buy a "microwave leakage test card" at some stores that supposedly change color when you hold in front of the door if the oven is leaking microwaves. This is also a fake. It actually responds to heat, on the thory that if heat is escaping around the door then microwaves are too. That's wrong.

The only sure way to test for microwave leakage is with a standardized leakage test meter. This is a fairly expensive electronic device. You really don't need to worry about microwave leakage unless the door of the oven is visibly out of alignment so that it isn't closing and sealing properly. If the door hasn't been getting slammed shut and the oven hasn't been dropped, everything should be fine. Take the oven to a service shop for a leakage test if you are concerned.

One final note: Microwave energy drops off rapidly with distance. Just don't stand right in front of the oven while it's running.

Hope this helps ease your mind. Thanks for using Fixya!

Posted on Feb 02, 2010

  • mandibulus Feb 03, 2011

    The above comment is half-baked. (had to say that, since we're talking about ovens!) Cell phones operate on several bands, depending on the model of phone and the carrier. Some of the frequency bands are relatively close to the microwave bands. But more importantly, I'm pretty sure the shielding effect will be similar in all the different bands. Yes, it's a crude test, but I think it adds value.

    However, the commentor is on the money about the best test being done with a leakage test meter. Unfortunately, most of us don't have one lying around.


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Service folks use a special radiation meter to inspect for radiation leakage. A cheap alternative would be a neon lamp that would light from leakage around the door seals, but there would have to be a fair amount of radiation present to operate the lamp, and you don't want to be near any oven leaking that much radiation. Usually, if you inspect the door seals for damage or food deposits, that will serve to limit radiation to safe levels.

Posted on Feb 02, 2010

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How do i test if the magnatron is not working on my lg ms3448xrk microwave. i am an electrician

Unplug microwave, remove top, set meter to ohms, unhook one wire from the magnetron, low resistance reading means it is good, open reading or infinity means it is bad. For the final test, put one test lead where the wire was unhooked, now put the other test probe on the magnetron chassis, any resistance reading indicates leakage and the magnetron is bad.

Sep 18, 2012 | LG Countertop Microwave Oven

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Is there a way to detect if the microwave is leaking radiation?

No! this could not be further from the truth, you can buy a microwave test card and check for leakage around the door seals, or take it to a service professional to do a quick test.

Mar 06, 2012 | General Electric Microwave Oven

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Inner Bootom Door Hinge Broke off...since then it will not turn on...Will that prevent microwave from functioning?

You probably mean the door LATCH broke off. Yes, that will prevent your oven from operating. The door latches operate switches inside to indicate that the door is closed. If the control board doesn't see the right switch settings, it thinks the door is open and won't allow cooking. Replacement latches are available, but you should check with a professional shop to do the repair. If door repairs aren't done correctly, there is a chance of microwave leakage and an unsafe oven.

Nov 20, 2010 | GE Spacemaker JVM1640SJ Microwave Oven

1 Answer

I have had my Panasonic Microwave (Model NN-CT857) just over twelve months and but have just noticed that, when the door is fully closed, there is a very small space between the door and microwave 'body',...

There must be a gap between the door frame and the oven cavity for ventilation and mechanical reasons.
The gap will need to be more than 3/8" to allow any appreciable amount of leakage through.
I am sure it is less than that.
If you are concerned, a leakage test would be the answer, from a registered and approved microwave repair centre that is Panasonic recognised.
The door can be made to fit closer by adjusting the door catch inside the body of the microwave. Just slacken the fixing screws and hold the door closed, tighten the catch holder and there you have it. A snug fit.
Hope this helps.

Nov 04, 2010 | Panasonic Microwave Ovens

2 Answers

I put a metal pan with food inside my microwave oven. I heard a popping sound and there are now two tiny black marks pitted into the glass on the door. I can feel the two pitted marks from both inside...

Yes it is safe to continue using the Microwave as long as the integrity of the glass is not compromised and the pitted marks do not exceed 1/4 inch. The RFwave generated by the magnetron is a pretty wide RF wave beam.

If your really concerned you can take the unit to any appliance service center and ask that they perform an RF leakage test. There is really no other way to know if your leakage is within acceptable limits. I can tell you from personal experience that the ony microwave I ever saw demonstrated excessive leakage had either been dropped and had hinge or latch damage.

If your really worried about it and can not get to a service center you can do this test:
- Wrap a tall empty glass with a sheet of aluminum foil and place it about 3 inches away from the microwave in front of the area you where noticed the pitting.
- Run the microwave with a GLASS filled with water of equal size for 1 minute.
- Stand back 3 to 4 feet and watch for any signs of a spark on the aluminum foil.
- As soon as the microwave shuts off check the dry foil wrapped glass for any signs of heat.

(No heat.... no problem. Sparks or Heat = repair time.)

Thanks for choosing FixYa.


Sep 21, 2010 | Sharp R-1480 Microwave Oven

2 Answers

How can i tell if microwave is leaking

The only way to tell for sure is to use a microwave leakage tester, which is an electronic instrument calibrated to standards for an accurate measurement. They are fairly expensive, so you aren't likely to run out and buy one. If you have reason to think your oven is leaking, you should call for service or take the oven in to a shop where they should have a tester.

Unless something has happened to damage the door sealing surfaces, your oven should not be leaking microwave. Check that the inside of the door and edges of the cooking cavity are kept clean of built-up food. Look at the door when it's closed. If it's straight side-to-side and is closing properly all around there should be no problem.

Do not believe the claim that you can test for leakage by calling a cell phone placed in the oven, and if the phone rings the oven is leaking microwaves. The shielding in a microwave is not effective at cell phone frequencies, which are much lower than microwaves. The phone will ring normally even in an oven with no measured leakage.

Feb 11, 2010 | Whirlpool GH4155XP Microwave Oven

1 Answer

Won't work if just turned on, but will work if you lift door.

there are two switches that are operated by the door prongs as they latch the door closed .. both switches have to be operated to enable the microwave either have something cought in the door seal preventing it from fully closing or one of those switches is out of adjustment .. unfortunatly you have to remove the cabinet to get at the adjustments ... the switches are set so that the door has to be completly closed so there is no RF leakage .. so its a rather critical adjustment .. there is potentially fatal voltage and current inside the microwave so make certain that its not plugged in if you do anything inside ... it would be better to take it to a competent repair person .. that fix should only take a few minutes .. they would have the proper gauges to set it precisely ... if you feel confident that you can do it then you will be able to hear a click as each switch operates as the door is closed .. you should hear two clicks if you shut the door carefully .. loosen the switch that is not operating and move it just slightly until it reliably clicks each time the door is closed .. tighten it there .. make sure the door and its seal are not bent, warped dirty or otherwise damaged ... its a good idea to check for radiation leakage after any microwave fix .. there is a low cost instrument for doing this .. (microwave radiation leakage detecter) ... your repair person would likely have a better one than you can buy .. ...

Oct 07, 2009 | Sharp R-1510 Microwave Oven

1 Answer

Microwave leak

Cell phone frequencies (380-1900 MHz) are far lower than a microwave's output frequency (2450 MHz), so all cell phone frequencies will pass through the metal RF mesh in a microwave's door glass.

Your microwave is fine.

Somebody's pulling your leg with this "test".

We're happy to help you with free advice and we'd appreciate your thoughtful rating of our answer.

William E. Miller, AS-EET
Microwave Oven Control Panel Repair Nationwide

Aug 03, 2009 | LG MV-1444Y Microwave Oven

1 Answer

Hole in plastic on inside of door

check the conductivity of the plastic with an ohmmeter by placing the probes an inch apart on the plastic surface. If the resistance is large or infinity, the plastic probably performs no role in stopping the microwave radiation. If so, any epoxy probably can be used to close the hole safely. Make sure you don't use too much and if possible place tape over the repair and orient the microwave so the epoxy presses against the tape while drying to prevent it from oozing into any door hinge/close mechanism. Otherwise, a piece of microwave door glass from a broken unit can ge glued over the hole and should stop the radiation. You can check for leakage with test units but be very carefuly anyway.

Nov 30, 2007 | GE JVM1650 1000 Watts Microwave Oven

2 Answers

Information about microwave leakage

Hi, you seem very concerned with your Microwave Oven "Leaking" & I would like to set your mind at rest. Now whilst all this is possible, in actuality it is a rare event. The manufacturers must meet very Strict & Stringent regulations regarding "Shielding" and "Protection" There are many safeguards inbuilt into the MO. Also the ONLY time that anything is "Emitted" is when the MO is actually being used. The Microwave Oven (MO) is for all intents & purposes is a "Radio Transmitter". Inside the MO, there is a device called a Magnetron, this device converts your mains Power into High Frequency Radio Waves, in the 2.5GHz Spectrum. These radio waves are exactly the same in makeup as ALL other Radio waves that are all around us all the time, and cause us no problems. You are prudent to be concerned but please rest assured the "Risk" from any "Leak" is extremely low.. even if it did "leak" in the first place. To answer your questions in turn... 1. No they do not... 2. No they do not. 3. Yes one can purchase a simple Microwave Oven "Leak Detector". Generally the only place that one may get a "Leak" from is around the "Door" seal.

Sep 09, 2007 | Microwave Ovens

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