Electrical Video FAQ – Microwave Tripping The Circuit Breaker

Electrical Video FAQ – Microwave Tripping The Circuit Breaker

Transcription of FAQ Video:

Well, hello. I'm Bill Root, with Root Electric, and this is the first in our FAQ series. Today I'd like to talk about microwaves. I get a lot of calls from microwaves, and it always happens in a certain scenario. It's meal time of course, and what you wanna do is put your favorite kinda little soup, or snack into the microwave. Of course, you close the door. Turn it on, and you just think about what you're gonna be having, and, Oh, everything shuts down. Well, let's see what happened. Now, the microwave is not on anymore. The clock is off. And then, when I open the door, the light turned off, too. Well, let's see. I check the plug above the microwave, and it's still plugged in. You know, did you notice that the the lights turned off too, at the same time. Well, let's go check the electrical panel. Come on with me.

Okay. So, here we are right down here in the basement, and here's the electrical panel. So, let's open it up, and see what's happened. Alright. So here's all of our circuit breakers. Now, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna start at the top, and I'm gonna work my way down, and look for anything unusual. So let's see here. Alright. So everything looks normal there . All those look normal. Set as it should. Okay, so right down here at the bottom we have a tripped breaker. Now, let's see what it says here on the panel schedule. Now, let's see. Now, that's breaker number 30. Now, over here space number 30. It says, "Kitchen lighting." That's interesting. It doesn't say anything about a microwave. Well, the truth is, this is a very common occurrence. And what happened was that originally in this kitchen rather than having a microwave, there was a range hood that served as an exhaust for cooking fumes.

Well, what happened down the road was is either a previous home owner, or this home owner decide to install a microwave in that place. Now, the big difference between a range hood and a microwave is that a range hood maybe pulls one or two amps, whereas a microwave pulls 12 amps, which is many times that of a range hood. So, what happens is as you turn on that microwave, and it starts competing with everything else that's on that circuit, including your lighting, or anything in the nearby rooms. So what happens? Boom, the circuit trips, and all of a sudden you're not sitting down to your meal, when you thought you would. So, we have a very easy fix for this scenario, and what we do is we go ahead and install a dedicated 20 amp microwave circuit.

So, to do that we install a new circuit breaker in your electrical panel, and then we run a wire fromyour electrical panel into your kitchen, and then into the cabinet above the microwave. And then the microwave gets plugged into that outlet. So that's the fix. One thing I would like to add concerning this is that the microwave is required to be installed on a dedicated 20 amp circuit as per the National Electrical Code.

So if you have a situation where your microwave is on the lighting circuit, this may become an issue when you try to sell your house. A home inspector may pick up on this, and might be something you might have to fix anyway. So, if you're having problems with your microwave, and it is tripping the circuit when you're running it, or if you suspect that it might be on thelighting circuit, this is an excellent upgrade to consider for your house. So, thank you very much for visiting. I'm Bill Root with Root Electric. We keep you grounded.


Satisfaction / Safety First Since 1986

Bill Root

About the author

During my tenure at Root Electric, I lead the transition of Root Electric from a primarily sub-contracting based business model to a prime-contracting based business model. Accomplishments have been made by developing a team based approach to researching and implementing a service-specific client management system.

My goals for the next five years are to fine tune Root Electric's brand strategy and to diversify its scope of services, while remaining true to the discipline of electrical work.