Microwave ovens are typically recalled when they have a high risk of causing a fire or electrical shock or if faulty parts significantly interfere with safe operation. Microwave ovens may be recalled voluntarily by the manufacturer or under the authority of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Self-starting hazards and fire risks are among the most common reasons for microwave recalls. In 2009 and 2010, several KitchenAid microwaves were investigated after owners reported spontaneous startups that led to extreme heat buildup and smoking inside of the units and occasionally caused nearby electronics to melt. In 2012, the CPSC recalled units manufactured by Microtronics, a company that is out of business. Microtronics products were sold under a variety of commercial brand names and were reported for self-starting incidents.
Some microwave recalls are prompted without customer complaints because the manufacturers employ product-safety teams to perform forced failure tests to intentionally trigger potential hazards. In the case of fire risks, companies may test the microwave's ability to contain flames or smoke, preventing widespread damage to a homeowner's property.
Approximately 43,000 Samsung over-the-range models were voluntarily recalled in 2009. While no injuries were reported, the units posed a small risk of electrical shock to owners using ungrounded, or two-prong, outlets. In 2001, BSH Home Appliances Corp recalled Thermadoor microwave ovens because the doors contained defective locking mechanisms that could lead to overheating when using the self-cleaning feature.