Dec 14, 2023
We get a lot of calls with similar questions, so we're taking a moment to explain common causes for common issues. Some of these issues can be fixed without a visit from your electrician, so read on to find out how you may be able to avoid a service call!
Microwaves are a high-wattage appliance, which means it pulls a great deal of energy from the circuit when in use. There are several reasons why your microwave could be tripping your breaker, including an overloaded breaker or a defective unit.
Each breaker in your panel box has a specific amp load which it's designed to handle. This should be kept in mind when assigning devices and appliances to breakers, as you don't want to overload each breaker. When a breaker attempts to pull more amps than a panel can provide, it will trip to prevent damage to the panel.
Breakers allow for 80% of the maximum amp rating for an extended period of time. A microwave typically pulls 12-15 amps and should be assigned to a 20 amp breaker. Always ensure your microwave is on its own dedicated circuit to avoid overloading.
If your microwave is on its own dedicated circuit with enough amps to cover usage, then it's likely that you have a defective microwave. Here are some common defects and the solutions:
Check the socket to see if this may be the issue. If the plug is difficult to take out or if its fused with the socket, then this may be your issue. Contact an electrician for repair.
A capacitor is the part of the microwave that stores electricity and basically doubles the power from the outlet to the magnetron (how the microwave cooks food). Visually examine the capacitor (see below). Use a multimeter to see if there is any reading at the capacitor site. If it is damaged or you get a 0 reading, you'll need to replace it.
Turntable Motor Issue
The turntable motor allows the magnetron to cook food evenly. Sometimes steam can get into the motor and cause electrical problems. You can use a multimeter to check for continuity.
There are several reasons why your microwave could be tripping your breaker. Self-check all of the above to avoid a service charge, but call an electrician if you're in need of a dedicated circuit or issues persist.