Why Is My Microwave Tripping the Breaker?

Posted on: April 14, 2016

Microwave ovens revolutionized kitchens across America when they came on the market in the 1970s. Since then these technological marvels have come a long way, with more features, compact sizing, and greater cooking power than ever before. With greater power comes greater power usage, but if your microwave is tripping the breaker in your home, it’s a sign that the appliance is overloading the electrical circuit. The questions are, why, and what can be done to solve the problem?

The highly trained, certified electricians at Hoffman Electrical & A/C have been solving issues with kitchen wiring and overloaded circuitry since 1989. If you live in Hillsborough or Pinellas County, give us a call at (866) 238-3243, or contact us online for a free estimate. 

Reasons Why Your Microwave Is Tripping Your Breaker

When an appliance such as a microwave oven repeatedly trips the circuit breaker, it’s overloading the electrical circuit, which is rated to handle a finite number of amps. Once the microwave exceeds that number the breaker is tripped and the electrical flow is shut off. In order for this type of reaction to occur, there must be one of two issues at hand:

  • Too many items are plugged into the same circuit that the microwave oven is on, causing an overload.
  • The microwave oven is defective and drawing an excessive amount of electricity.

Determining the exact cause of the problem involves a few simple steps:

Check to see if the microwave has its own dedicated circuit. 

A dedicated circuit is one which serves only one appliance, helping to protect your home and electronics. By having more than one major appliance on a circuit, you run the risk of overloading the circuit and tripping the breaker. Repeatedly tripping the breaker can cause it to deteriorate, and if it should fail to trip, the overloaded circuit may cause the wiring to overheat, placing your home at risk from an electrical fire.

A microwave oven needs its own 20 amp circuit, in order to prevent an overload. If it has a dedicated circuit, the tripped breaker should be labeled with the word “microwave”—if not, it’s likely a shared circuit. Regardless of whether your microwave oven is on a dedicated circuit, it’s a good idea to move on to the next step, to ensure the appliance is operating correctly.

Test the microwave to determine if it’s defective. 

Plug the unit into an alternate outlet, in an area of your home where the breaker has a higher amperage, such as in a garage or workshop, or into an outlet with a guaranteed dedicated circuit. If the appliance trips the breaker, the problem lies with the microwave, and you’ll need to either repair or replace it.

If the microwave oven doesn’t trip the breaker, you’ll need to have a dedicated circuit installed to prevent further issues. Call the experts at Hoffman Electrical & A/C for a free estimate, or if you’re uncertain whether or not your microwave oven has its own dedicated circuit. Give us a call at (866) 238-3243, or contact us online.

Why Choose Hoffman Electrical & A/C?

Hiring the right company to perform electrical work in your home is the key to your satisfaction and the safety of your home and family. The fully certified, licensed, experienced electricians at Hoffman Electrical & A/C are dedicated to offering quality, professional service, where you can expect:

Call Hoffman Electrical & A/C at (866) 238-3243 or contact us to schedule your electrical services today!