Why Does My Microwave Keep Tripping the Circuit Breaker?

Common electrical questions answered by a local Indianapolis electrician.

Dedicated Circuit Installation

It’s the end of a long day. You’re exhausted. Your kids are exhausted. And of course, everyone’s hungry. Luckily, you remember those leftovers in the fridge from yesterday. You just need to put them in the microwave for a few minutes. Annnd… the microwave trips the ciruit breaker.

One question we hear a lot is, “Why is my microwave tripping the circuit breaker?” The answer: The circuit is becoming overloaded.

Microwaves are a common culprit for overloaded electrical circuits, which can be both frustrating and concerning for homeowners. Simply put, the microwave puts out more amps to operate than the electrical circuit is designed to handle. Electrical circuits are rated to handle certain amounts of amps, and the microwave is exceeding that amount, causing the circuit breaker to trip.

Tripped circuit breakers are common in households, but when it keeps happening, it’s time to get to the root of the problem and find a solution. So, what is causing the microwave to overload the electrical circuit?

There are two possible causes of why the microwave keeps tripping the circuit breaker:

  • The microwave is not functioning properly and is pulling too much electrical current.
  • Too many electrical appliances are plugged into the same circuit.

Cause #1: The microwave is malfunctioning.

First, test to see if the problem is related to the way the microwave is functioning. Plug the microwave into an area where the breaker is set for a higher amp rating (like a garage), then turn on the microwave and see what happens.

If the circuit breaker in that area trips, it’s a sign that something is wrong with the microwave. You should either have the microwave fixed, or replace it.

If the breaker does not trip, it means the microwave is fine, but it needs its own dedicated circuit.

Cause #2: Too many appliances are plugged into the same circuit.

Because most microwaves pull about 12 amps, they need their own dedicated circuit. This means they shouldn’t share a circuit with any other appliances, or they’ll quickly overload the circuit and trip the breaker.

To check to see if your microwave is on a dedicated circuit, look at the label on the tripped breaker. If it says “microwave,” it’s probably on a dedicated circuit. If not, it’s likely that the microwave is sharing a circuit with other appliances and the circuit is becoming overloaded.

Need dedicated circuit installation? Call White’s Electrical today!

As always, leave the electrical work to the pros. Whether you’re sure you need dedicated circuit installation, or you just need help diagnosing an electrical problem, the local electricians at White’s Electrical are happy to help!

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