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Microwave Keeps Tripping the Breaker? Here’s Why

October 16, 2015

You tried heating up last night's leftovers in the microwave, but the microwave tripped the dang breaker. Again.

We imagine that’s getting annoying, and you’d like to fix it, yeah?

  • The cause is one of two issues:
  • The microwave is overloading the circuit
  • The circuit breaker is worn out.

Microwave is overloading the circuit

An electrical overload is when there’s too much electrical current flowing through a wired circuit.

For example, let’s say you have an circuit rated for 20 amps (amps being a measurement of electrical current). If 30 amps runs through the 20-amp circuit, the breaker will detect that there’s too much electrical current and trip to prevent an electrical fire.

For your case, you may have been running too many electrical appliances on the circuit at the same time; the microwave was just the catalyst for pushing the circuit over the limit. Microwaves can use about 12 amps, so running it alongside any other appliance can easily trip a 15-20 amp breaker.

You can tell if the microwave is sharing the circuit with other appliances if the breaker that tripped does not specifically say “microwave” next to it.

Solution: Get an electrician to run a dedicated 20-amp circuit for the microwave.

Note: If you already have a dedicated circuit for the microwave, the microwave itself could be the issue and may need repairing or replacing.

Circuit breaker is worn out

Circuit breakers, like all things in the universe, break down eventually. And when breakers wear out, they tend to trip easily.

How do you know if your breaker has gone bad?

Try this:

  1. Unplug all electrical devices on the circuit that the breaker tripped.
  2. Reset the breaker (flip it to OFF, then ON). You should hear a definite “click”. If the switch flops back and forth and there is not definite “on” or “off” position, the breaker is probably bad.

Solution:Get an electrician to replace the circuit breaker.

Hope that helps!

Got further questions? Ask our Sarasota, Florida electricians for free advice.

Energy Today is the electrical division of Cool Today. We provide award-winning electrical service to Sarasota, Florida and the surrounding areas like Bradenton, Tampa and Port Charlotte. If you have any questions, talk to one of our experts for help.