You put some food in the microwave to warm up, hit start, and all the lights in your kitchen went out. Lo and behold, you tripped your circuit breaker. If this is a common occurrence, you’re probably asking yourself: why does my microwave keep tripping the breaker?
The short answer is that your microwave is generally tripping your circuit breaker because it’s overloaded. When you first turn a microwave on, that’s when it draws the most power.
Let’s talk a little bit more about what that means, and also how you can fix it moving forward. It’s also important to understand how many amps a microwave uses, as that will tell you a lot about your circuit requirements.
Why is My Microwave Tripping the Breaker?
The most common reason that a microwave is tripping the breaker is that the circuit is overloaded.
Most average microwaves require 10-15 amps to run. However, that’s not the maximum amount of power that your microwave pulls at startup. For example, my 1000W microwave draws 1800W of power to produce the 1000W cooking power output.
What that means is that it basically draws about 6 more amps when I first turn it on versus the rest of the cooking cycle.
If you’ve based your calculations off of the “wattage” of your microwave – you may be in for a shock to learn that’s probably not enough.
Then, factor in any other lights or outlets that get power off the same circuit, and you’ll have a better idea of what the load you’re putting on it is. If you’re over the limit, the breaker is going to trip every time for safety.
Why is My Microwave Tripping the Breaker All of a Sudden?
If your microwave is tripping the breaker all of a sudden and it hasn’t been a previously existing problem, it likely means something is wrong with your microwave.
As microwaves age, certain parts can start to break down or come loose inside the microwave (very common with switches). It can also happen if something damages the microwave, like what happens when you microwave nothing or what if you accidentally put a fork in the microwave.
This can cause a power surge beyond what should be expected when you start the microwave, which will cause a sudden and new tripping of the breaker to occur.
That said, it still could be a problem with your outlet or electrical, so don’t rule that out entirely. However, it’s more likely to be an aged or damaged microwave at fault.
Sometimes it’s an easy fix with switches if you’re handy. If you’re not, or it’s more complicated than that, check out our best microwaves under $100 for a budget friendly replacement option!
Why is My Microwave Tripping the Breaker When I Close the Door?
If your microwave is tripping the breaker when you close the door, it’s likely due to a faulty micro switch on your microwave. Typically, these switches are used as sensors to determine when the door is opened or closed.
You won’t be able to run the microwave with the door in the open position because of this safety mechanism.
However, if one or all of these electrical connections goes bad, it can create an issue beyond just not letting you run the microwave.
The micro switches will trip your breaker as a safety mechanism when the circuit cannot be completed as intended – basically they short out and the circuit trips because of it.
While they can sometimes be repaired, in many cases it’s just as expensive as buying a new microwave. Learn what to do with an old microwave for disposal options!
My Microwave Trips the Breaker After 2 Minutes of Use
If your microwave trips the breaker after over a minute of use, most often this means the fault lies in the breaker itself or your electrical system.
While it could still be the microwave, it’s far less likely when it’s happening after a minute or two of use.
Have an electrician check for loose wires, loose grounds, and any other issues with the circuit breaker that would account for the problem.
How Do You Fix a Microwave That’s Tripping the Breaker?
The first step to fixing a microwave that’s tripping the breaker is identifying where the problem is.
If it’s the door causing it, you’ll need the sensors repaired or to replace the unit.
Should the culprit be an overloaded circuit, you’ll want to test whether it’s the microwave or the circuit actually causing it.
Plug the microwave into a high-amperage circuit (typically found in your garage or utility room) and attempt to use it. If it pops that breaker, then the issue is a faulty microwave.
If the microwave runs fine on the high amperage circuit, then wherever you were using it previously was overloaded.
Try moving the microwave to a different circuit (of higher amperage if possible) or removing other items from the same circuit to make it dedicated instead of shared.
Whether it’s another small appliance or even just lights, these can use enough power in conjunction with a microwave to cause the breaker to trip.
Lastly, if the breaker is tripping only after the microwave has been running for 1-2 minutes, then have an electrician come take a look at the circuit breaker itself.
If your microwave keeps tripping the breaker, the culprit is generally an overloaded circuit, your microwave, or the breaker itself.
While it’s more common in countertop units that use wall or shared outlets, it’s a problem that can occur in over the stove microwaves as well.
Troubleshoot the issues you’re having to help identify the cause, and then work to fix the problem.
You may also be interested to know more about why your air fryer is tripping the breaker, as it’s common with this countertop appliance as well.
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