Microwave Tripping Your Circuit Breaker? 6 Tips To Stop It
Could you imagine trying to get through your day without having your microwave? The microwave is one of the handiest household appliances. It can be used to heat up your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, heat up snacks, heat up water for your coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, and much more. Microwaves are so familiar that you don’t realize just how needed and convenient they are or how often you truly use them.
However, the one thing that you do notice is when they aren’t working. One of the most common problems you may experience with your microwave is a tripped circuit breaker. When your circuit breaker is tripped by the microwave, it becomes far more difficult to prepare your meals. What you expected to take five minutes or so in your microwave is going to take a full 30 minutes in your oven.
The good news is that it is relatively easy to determine what is causing your microwave to trip your circuit breaker. If you’re ready to learn what these are and how to stop it, read on!
#1 Your Circuit Breaker Is Overloaded
The simplest answer to why your microwave is tripping the circuit breaker is that the circuit breaker is overloaded. There are several different reasons why this may happen, such as a malfunctioning microwave or too many electrical appliances being plugged into the same circuit. More often than not, it is the latter.
You will want to check to see if your microwave is on a dedicated circuit. Head to the breaker box and see if one of the circuits is labeled “Microwave”. If it is, then great! If not, and you see one labeled “Kitchen” or similar, then this means that the microwave does not have its own circuit and is sharing one with several other appliances in the kitchen.
Generally, circuits are rated for 20 amps, and microwaves tend to draw somewhere between 12 and 15 amps. Therefore, when multiple appliances are running on the same circuit simultaneously, it exceeds that circuit’s rating and trips the breaker.
Repeated tripping of the breaker will cause it to wear out prematurely, potentially damaging the appliance. In addition, overloaded circuit breakers can lead to the wiring overheating, putting your home at a higher risk of an electrical fire.
So, if your microwave is not on its own circuit currently, make sure to give the appliance its own dedicated circuit now. More than likely, this will solve your breaker-tripping issue.
#2 Your Microwave Is Faulty
In the event that the microwave is indeed on a dedicated circuit, then you could be dealing with a faulty microwave. There are several different ways you can test to determine if this is the case.
First, you will want to plug your microwave into a higher amp circuit, such as an outlet in the garage or a circuit that you know is dedicated. If this breaker trips, there is a good chance that the microwave itself is faulty. If it does not trip the circuit breaker, then you likely just need a dedicated circuit for the microwave.
If you determine the microwave is faulty, there are many components that could be faulty, including a faulty door switch, blown fuse, wet turntable motor, issue with electrical supply, faulty capacitor, etc. Keep reading to learn more about some of these below.
#3 Your Door Safety Latch Is Malfunctioning
There are multiple switches within the safety latch mechanism. If any of the microwave door latch hooks are broken or the switches are faulty, the microwave won’t operate properly. This could result in a blown fuse or the circuit tripping.
To determine if the door latch may be the cause, you can use a multimeter tool in ohm mode. You will want to test with the door open and again with it closed.
First, open the outer casing of the microwave and locate the microswitches of the door latch. Disconnect the electrical connectors and place the probes of the multimeter tool on the terminals of the microswitches. You should get a reading for each switch with the door open or closed. If you don’t get a reading of continuity, it means the part is defective and needs to be replaced.
#4 The Turntable Motor Has Moisture in It
The turntable motor is the component of the microwave that allows the microwave to cook your food consistently and uniformly. When you cook your food, there is always a risk that liquid could leak beneath the turntable. Failing to clean it up immediately after can result in moisture seeping into the turntable motor, causing electrical issues and tripping the circuit breaker.
To determine if you are dealing with an issue with your turntable motor, you can test it for continuity with a multimeter. First, you need to unplug the microwave and discharge the capacitor. Next, find the turntable motor, which is located beneath the microwave. Make sure to disconnect all connectors.
Now, you can place the probes of the multimeter on the terminals of the turntable motor and test for continuity. Ideally, you are looking for a reading of somewhere between six and 11 ohms. If you don’t get a similar reading, the part is defective and needs to be replaced.
#5 The Capacitor Is Defective
The capacitor is designed to store energy until it releases it in an amplified form. In the event this component is defective, the microwave will make a very loud noise during its operation. At that time, it will blow a fuse or possibly trip the circuit breaker.
To test the capacitor and determine if this component is an issue, unplug the appliance from the electricity and discharge it with a tool that is electrically insulated. Failing to do this puts you at a serious risk of being electrocuted.
Next, disconnect all connectors from the capacitor itself and then place the ends of the probes of the multimeter tool on the terminals of the capacitor. If you do not get a reading of value, then this is a sign that the capacitor is faulty and requires replacement.
#6 A Problem with the Electrical Supply
Another reason your microwave may be causing the circuit breaker to trip is due to a problem with the overall electrical supply. To determine if this is the cause, you should first look at the electrical socket to see if it has melted or suffered any kind of damage.
If you’re unable to unplug the appliance, the plug and socket may have fused together. If this is the case, the electrical supply to the appliance needs to be shut off immediately. You should then use some force to attempt to get them apart. If necessary, contact an electrician.
If your circuit breaker is tripping and your microwave is not on a dedicated circuit, any of the aforementioned issues could be your problem. Hopefully, you were able to determine the source of your circuit breaker tripping and solve the issue so you now have a properly working microwave.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out some of our other articles that may help you out when you find yourself in a bind.