Here’s Why Your Microwave Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker

2015 Nov 23
Posted in: Electrical
Electrical Panel Diagram

One question we see floating around is “Why does my microwave keep tripping the circuit breaker?”

The answer: The microwave is overloading the electrical circuit. In other words, the circuit is rated to handle a certain amount of amps (unit of electrical current), and the microwave is exceeding that amount, causing the breaker to trip.

But what is causing the microwave to overload the circuit? 

There are two possible causes: 

  • The microwave is malfunctioning and pulling too much electrical current
  • You have too many electrical appliances, including the microwave, plugged into the same circuit.. 

How do you know which of these issues is the root problem?

First, you should...

Make sure the microwave has a dedicated circuit

Microwaves pull about 12 amps and need their own dedicated 20-amp circuit. That means they shouldn’t be sharing the circuit with any other appliances. 

If the microwave currently shares a circuit with other appliances and runs at the same time as those appliances, they’ll quickly overload the circuit and trip the breaker.

How do you know if your microwave is on a dedicated circuit or not? 

Check the tripped breaker’s label. Does it say “microwave”? If not, then that most likely means your microwave does not have a dedicated circuit.

Whether or not the microwave has a dedicated circuit, the microwave may be tripping the breaker because there’s something wrong the the microwave itself that’s causing it to pull too much electrical juice.  

Test to see if the microwave is malfunctioning

Plug the microwave in an area where the breaker is usually set for a higher amp/current rating, like your garage. Turn the microwave on and see what happens.

If the circuit breaker related to that area trips, something is wrong with the microwave. You should either get the microwave repaired or replace it (replacing is usually cheaper if the microwave is old).

If the breaker does NOT trip, then that means your microwave is fine, but that it definitely needs it’s own dedicated circuit.

Need a dedicated circuit installed? Call us! 

If you live in the Phoenix metro area and need a dedicated circuit installed for your microwave, we’d like to help. Contact George Brazil’s electrical division. We can get the installation done today

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