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Nearly every person or business has a microwave because it is a convenient appliance! Microwave ovens are high-wattage devices, meaning that they pull a great deal of electricity from the circuit when being used, which can trip your breaker. Continue reading to find out why this happens.

Reasons Your Microwave Trips Your Circuit Breaker

A breaker can trip whenever the fail-safes within it sense that there is an unreasonable amount of power being pulled from it. There are a few things you can do to help mitigate the issue.

Overloaded Circuit Breaker

closeup of a breaker box

Each breaker on the electrical panel is designed to handle a specific amp load when in use. You should try not to pull the maximum amps. When a breaker requires more amps than the panel can provide, the breaker trips to prevent an electrical mishap.

Breaker design allows for 80% of the max amp rating for an extended period. A microwave pulls between 12 and 15 amps and can trip the breaker, even though it should be on a 20 amp breaker. This problem becomes even more prominent if the breaker is shared. Avoid this problem by dedicating a breaker to the microwave, and the breaker should be fine.

Defective Microwave

If your microwave is on a dedicated circuit,  you should be able to check if the microwave is defective. Look for issues like: 

  • Faulty door switch
  • Blown fuses
  • Wet turntable motor
  • Electrical supply
  • Faulty capacitor

Electrical Supply Problem

You can check the electrical socket to see if the supply is the problem. Check to see if the socket is damaged, if the plug is hard to unplug, or if the plug and socket have fused. Any of these means the electrical supply is a problem. The best way to handle this is to contact an electrician.

Faulty Capacitor

closeup of a microwave capacitor

A microwave capacitor allows the microwave to function. This component stores electricity and effectively doubles the power from the outlet to power the magnetron, which is how the microwave cooks food.  

Visually examine the capacitor. Damage indicates replacement is needed. Also, you can test with a multimeter. Discharge the capacitor and then check. A reading of zero indicates you will need to replace it.

Malfunctioning Door Safety Latch

In the latch, switches inform the microwave if the door is closed. This prevents microwaves from causing harm while in use. Unplug the microwave, discharge the capacitor, and test with a multimeter.

Turntable Motor Problem

The turntable motor allows the magnetron to cook evenly. During use, the steam escaping from food can get into the motor and cause electrical problems. You can use a multimeter to check for continuity, revealing the motor functions.

Get to the Root of the Problem

Remember the things mentioned above to pinpoint the problem. Inspect the microwave and look for defects as well as electrical supply concerns. See if there is a dedicated circuit, and if not, think about installing one. You can also have a certified electrician come out and do all these things.


There are several reasons your microwave could be tripping the circuit breaker. Any one of the reasons we discussed could be a potential problem. If you need an electrician, call a master electrician at U.S. Electric today and we can help with all your electrical needs!