Microwaves are one of the most commonly used kitchen appliances. It has revolutionized our cooking experience. There is hardly any kitchen in the US that does not have a microwave. But we know that many great devices come with some real risks and problems.
One similar problem complained about by many microwave owners is circuit breaker tripping. Today I will educate you on why microwave trips breaker and what is its solution.
Why Microwave Trips Breaker?
Reasons why microwave trips circuit breaker can be categorized under:
- Faulty Circuit breakers
- Overloading Circuits
- Malfunction microwave
- Turntable Motor
- Broken Door Safety Latch Switch
- Jammed Timer
- Faulty Capacitor
- Leaky Magnetron
- Issue with Electrical Supply
The first two factors can mimic our main problem and are more prevalent. So it is important to differentiate between those. First I will explain the main causes of faulty circuit breakers and overloading circuits and how you can differentiate those from microwave problems. Then we will move to the microwave malware.
Faulty Circuit Breaker
Faulty circuit breakers can trip without any abnormal power surge and thus create a false impression of microwave malfunctioning.
Circuit breakers are made with sturdy material. But even they have an expiry date. Circuit breakers can get faulty after a massive overflow. Damage to the circuit breaker can cause sudden power cuts which are quite inconvenient. Faulty breakers can even catch fire and can result in loss of property or even lives.
If you have recently encountered storms or massive power surges and your circuit is tripping a lot, then microwave may not be the actual culprit. You should inspect the circuit breaker for any visible damage. An electrician can confirm the problem and replace the circuit breaker with a permanent solution.
Multiple appliances connected to a single circuit can overload it and can cause the circuit breaker to trip. It is the most common cause of circuit breaker tripping.
It may sound trivial but think for a moment; 20Amp is the recommended limit for most residential plugs. Microwaves require 12Amp for working. If you plug your microwave, coffee machine, toaster, and juicer blender in the same circuit, it is likely to get a short circuit that trips the circuit breaker.
This situation can easily be avoided by using a dedicated switch for the microwave. Most modern homes have a dedicated switch and circuit for microwaves. It shifts the extra load from the regular circuit and prevents short-circuiting. You can ask any electrician to install it for you. It is a small but very beneficial investment.
If the problem persists, then your microwave is causing the problem.
How Malfunctioning Microwave Trips Breaker
Many integral parts of a microwave can cause short-circuiting and circuit breaker tripping. A microwave, despite the regular maintenance, works optimally for 7 years only. Usage, shape, model, technology, and maintenance can add to wear and tear and can further reduce the life span.
Eliminating the factor of life span, here are the main causes to look out for in a malfunctioning microwave.
The turntable motor rotates the hot plate inside the microwave and heats your food evenly.
Liquids trickling from the frozen motor can short circuit your turntable motor and it can trip the main circuit switch. Defrosting and cooking frozen food is the main cause of its failure.
Water is released during the defrosting of the food. We often forget to wipe off the water. It then trickles down and reaches the turntable motor. When the microwave is turned on again, this water short circuits the motor and further short circuits the main circuit which results in the tripping of the circuit breaker.
Broken Door Safety Latch Switch
A broken switch will not allow your microwave to start the heating cycle. This can blow up the fuse or trip the main circuit.
The door latch mechanism is an aggregated function of many small switches. If some of the Switches are broken, the whole system stops operating and your microwave door will not close properly.
The final result of the unfortunate incident is already described.
A jammed timer or damaged timer stops the heating cycle at unwanted points but the current still flows into the microwave. This again can fuse the switch and can damage the circuit breaker.
You can have a mechanical or an electrical timer installed in your microwave depending upon the model. Damage to the electrical wiring of the timer can cause its malfunctioning and the unlucky events described before.
Defective capacitors release abnormal electrical currents into the circuit. It can burn your fuse and can even trip the main switch.
A normal capacitor stores the electrical charge and releases an amplified charge at the start of a cycle. It provides a necessary electrical push to the microwave.
It can receive damage during the abnormal inflow of current and it is reflected in the form of loud noise during the start of a cycle.
Any break or leak in the magnetron can cause an inflow of a high amount of current which trips the circuit breaker. It is an important built-in mechanism and provides safety against any spark and other fire or electrical hazards.
The magnetron is placed inside the microwave outer casing. It receives electrical energy and emits electromagnetic microwaves.
The first indication of a malfunctioning magnetron is cold food after a cycle. If you are facing this problem then stop using your microwave and send it for repairs.
The Issue With The Electrical Supply
Melted sockets or any damage to the power cord can result in the tripping of the circuit breaker. It is easy to detect electrical supply.
Turn off the power first. Inspect the power cord and try to de-plug it from the socket. Any resistance shows that the plug has melted and merged with the socket.
You can test most of these parts with a multimeter. But I recommend you to consider professional help. Microwaves have made our lives very easy but a faulty microwave can turn it into hell in a few days.
A faulty microwave can damage nearby electrical appliances as well as the main electrical supply. So I again request you to seek professional help the moment you detect a problem in your microwave.
Microwaves have revolutionized our cooking industry. But there is nothing more irritating than a faulty microwave as it can trip our circuit breaker. Loss of property and loss of lives is also associated with microwave malfunctioning.
Overloading circuits and faulty circuit breakers can also mimic microwave malfunctioning. It is very important to differentiate between those two as management is different in both of these cases. Turntable motor, capacitor, timer, magnetron, door switch, and power cable are the parts to look for in a faulty microwave. Seeking professional help is very important when you observe any technical issue with your microwave.
I have tried my best to explain why the microwave trips the circuit breaker. You can ask for your unsolved queries in the comment section below.