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How To Tell When Your New Microwave Overloads A Circuit And How An Electrician Can Help

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If you bought a larger and more powerful microwave but are disappointed that it frequently causes the circuit breaker to flip when you use it, you might be dealing with an overloaded circuit. If so, the breaker flips to prevent a fire, so you don't want to keep trying to use the microwave until an electrician has looked at the problem. Here are some tips for determining if the microwave is bad or if a circuit is overloaded and what to do about an overloaded circuit in your home.

How To Tell What's Causing The Problem

Ideally, your electrical panel has a label by each circuit so you can tell if your microwave is the only thing on the circuit or if lights or additional appliances draw power from it too. If your circuit panel is old, the labels may be faded or missing, but you can still tell if the microwave is on its own dedicated circuit. If lights dim when you turn on the microwave, the lights are probably on the same circuit. If the circuit flips when you turn on the microwave while the clothes washer is running, but the circuit doesn't flip when the washer is off, then the washer and microwave probably share the same circuit.

One reason you may want to track down if the microwave has a dedicated circuit is that if it does have its own circuit and the breaker flips, there could be something wrong with the microwave. If you can find another dedicated circuit in your home, plug the microwave into it and see if the circuit flips off.

If so, stop using the microwave and take it to the shop to be checked. If, instead, your investigations lead you to believe a circuit is bad or overloaded, then don't use the microwave until an electrician can check the wiring and your electrical panel.

How An Electrician Can Fix The Problem

The solution for an overloaded circuit is to install an additional circuit in your kitchen just for the microwave. Appliances that draw a lot of power, such as a microwave, should have their own dedicated circuit, but if your home has an old electrical system, there may not be enough circuits and outlets in your home, especially in the kitchen. Your electrical panel should have space for an additional circuit breaker, but if it doesn't, your electrician might be able to install a tandem breaker as long as it can be done safely and according to codes. If not, you might need a new electrical panel.

When the electrician comes to check your electrical system and install a new circuit, talk to the electrician about the state of your system and electrical panel. You should know if your panel is old and barely able to keep up with modern appliances so you know what appliances you can safely buy in the future. You may decide you need further upgrades to your system to put an end to dimming lights, flipping breakers, and other overloaded circuits when you have modern appliances and several electronics dependent on an old electrical system.

Contact a company like Beckstoffer-Welsh Inc to learn more about how an electrician can help you.