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Microwave Keeps Blowing My Fuse or Tripping My Circuit

Many homeowners don’t understand the intricacies of their home’s electrical system. They want to be able to plug something in and have it work. I mean, don’t we all? It seems simple enough. But, want we want and what our home allows us maybe two totally different things altogether. So, what’s the solution…well… it depends.

I know, your favorite answer, right?

First, let’s talk about the difference between a fuse and a circuit breaker.

A fuse is a device where the strip of wire inside melts and breaks the electrical circuit if the electrical current is beyond a safe level. A fuse is can be found in appliances like a microwave, dishwasher and a toaster, but can also be found in your car or truck. They can come in different shapes, sizes and voltage depending on what they are needed for. You always want to make sure you use the correct fuse for the job. Before the 1960s fuses were used in buildings, but circuit breakers soon became the more widely accepted norm.

A circuit breaker uses an internal mechanism (an electromagnet/solenoid or a bi-metal strip) to cut or stop the electrical circuit from being complete. So, if the electrical current reaches unsafe levels, either the magnetic force of the electromagnet/solenoid becomes so strong that a metal lever within the switch becomes thrown breaking the circuit or the bi-metal strip bends and trips the switch. 

Are you still following? I know, a lot of mumbo-jumbo when all you want to know is what to do. 

So, here is what I would say. If you have an appliance, say your microwave, that keeps tripping a breaker in your home, it means your something is overloading your circuit. Circuits are only supposed to receive a certain amount of electrical current (measured in amps). Currently, your circuit has an unsafe level and is tripping as a safety measure.

Here is what you can check:

 

  • Is this a new problem and the microwave has always been plugged in there? There is probably a malfunction in the microwave causing it to send too much electrical current to your breaker. Unplug it and try it in another circuit which is set for higher amps. (A microwave usually puts off about 12 amps and needs a dedicated circuit of about 20 amps.) A good place to do this could be your garage because the breakers are usually set for higher amp/current rating. If you turn it on and try it out and the circuit trips, it is the microwave malfunctioning. Replace the microwave. If it works fine and the circuit breaker doesn’t trip, then you need a dedicated circuit for your microwave.

 

 

  • Is this a problem only since you have plugged the microwave in at this location? The circuit is probably not big enough to handle the electrical current your microwave needs. You should call an electrician to get a dedicated circuit installed for the microwave.

 

Whenever you need electrical work done, make sure you hire a trained, licensed electrician. Electricity is not something you should mess around with. For all of your electrical needs, call Godby! We can have a highly trained, licensed electrician help you with your home’s electrical needs. 

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