How to Replace Microwave Light (in 5 Steps)

Authorized Service
June 3, 2024
Microwave Repair

Microwave lights may not be 100% essential to the operation of your microwave, but they’re incredibly useful! They’re a great way to keep an eye on your food as it cooks and stop the microwave if something starts burning or bubbling over. If your microwave light has stopped working, don’t panic! They’re actually pretty easy to replace, even for a novice DIYer. If you follow our five simple steps below, you can have your microwave light working again in no time. Let’s dive in!

Safety Information

First of all, it’s essential to understand some basic safety information about microwave repair. Microwaves are unique among household appliances in that they contain a capacitor, which can retain a significant electrical charge even when totally unplugged. When replacing your microwave light, make sure you know where the capacitor is located, and don’t touch or go anywhere near it when replacing the light bulb. Capacitors can store enough charge to cause serious electric shock—or even death. 

Before You Start

Before you start, assemble all the necessary tools and parts.

We recommend:

  • Your microwave user manual. This will help you find the location of the light bulb in your particular make and model of microwave. 
  • A replacement bulb that matches the specifications of the old one. Don’t be tempted to try to replace it with a brighter bulb—always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • A screwdriver (usually a Phillips head, but this may differ depending on your model).

How to Replace the Microwave Light

Once you’ve assembled your tools, it’s time to replace the light. It’s a straightforward process that will only take a few minutes once you have all your tools assembled. 

Step 1: Unplug the Microwave

Safety is paramount when working with any electrical appliances, so it’s crucial to unplug your microwave before you start. Unplug it from the outlet, or if you prefer you can turn off the circuit breaker that corresponds to the microwave power outlet. Before you begin, double-check to make sure your microwave is totally without power in order to avoid any unexpected shocks. 

Step 2: Access the Light Bulb

Accessing the light bulb will differ depending on the make and model of your microwave, so make sure you consult your user’s manual to find the location. In general, there are two types of microwave bulb: an internal bulb, located inside the microwave cavity, and an external bulb, located behind the back panel of the microwave. Both types have protective covers which will need to be removed before you can replace the bulb. 

For an internal bulb

Open the microwave door and locate the protective cover. This may be held in place with screws or clips, depending on the model. Put the cover aside, and place the screws in a small dish somewhere safe so that you can use them again later. 

For an external bulb

Turn your microwave around to gain access to the back panel. Remove the back panel—you may need to use a screwdriver, or it may just clip into place. Find the box that the microwave light bulb is kept in, and remove the screws that hold the cover in place. Put the screws somewhere safe to use later, and carefully lift the cover off and put it to one side. 

Step 3: Remove the Old Bulb

Once you can see the light bulb, it’s time to remove it. It will be one of two types—a screw-in bulb or a push-and-turn bulb. For a screw-in bulb, carefully turn it counterclockwise until it is loose enough to pull out. For a push-and-turn bulb, gently push the bulb in and turn it counterclockwise while pushing. This will release the bulb. 

With both types of bulb, be very careful to avoid breaking the glass, as removal of the remains of the bulb can be difficult. Hold the bulb with a rag or dry cloth when turning to protect your hand just in case the glass does break.

Once you’ve removed the bulb, wrap it in newspaper or similar to safely dispose of it. 

Step 4: Install the New Bulb

Now it’s time to put the new bulb in place. You should have already confirmed the wattage and bulb type when you bought it, but double-check before you put it in to make sure it matches the old bulb. For a screw-in bulb, insert it into the bulb socket and gently turn it clockwise until it is firmly in place. For a push-and-turn bulb, insert it into the socket, gently push on it, and turn it clockwise. 

Step 5: Reassemble and Test

After the new bulb is installed, put the microwave back together. Depending on where your bulb is located, this could involve replacing the bulb cover and replacing the rear panel of the microwave. 

Once everything is screwed into place, restore power to the microwave and test to see if the bulb is working. The bulb should light up when you open the microwave door, and should also turn on when the microwave is operating. 

How to Know When to Call in a Professional

One of the most important parts of DIY is knowing when to call in a professional to do the job. Here are some tips:

  • If replacing the bulb doesn’t fix your problem, this could indicate deeper electrical issues. 
  • If you are unsure or feeling nervous about taking apart your microwave, particularly if you’re unsure where the capacitor is located, consider calling a professional. 
  • Check your warranty. Many warranties are void if you attempt DIY repairs, so check your warranty before trying to fix anything yourself—even something as simple as changing a bulb!

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