When microwaves share a breaker with other appliances, they tend to work less efficiently because microwaves can hog the current if other devices aren’t drawing much power. It can lead to an uneven cook or a longer cook time. So does it mean your microwave should be on its own breaker?
A microwave should be on its own breaker. If other appliances are on the same circuit it could overload and trip the breaker. The standard for electricity in the United States is 110–120 volts of alternating current. Microwaves use this type of power and can cause problems if other high-power appliances share the same circuit.
Your home must have enough power outlets for all your kitchen appliances. In this article, let’s explore the importance of having a microwave breaker and tips on ensuring that your home is set up for all your cooking needs (source).
Why Does a Microwave Need Its Own Breaker?
Electrical appliances, such as ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, and dryers, all use alternating currents (AC) to function. When using these devices, it’s important to ensure they don’t overwhelm the circuit. The same rule applies to microwaves as well.
A microwave needs its own breaker to work properly without blowing a fuse or tripping a circuit breaker. These occur when too many appliances run on the same circuit and draw more current than is available.
Another problem with using an underpowered circuit is it can cause excessive voltage drops when too many high-amperage devices are running on the same circuit. It also causes an appliance to work poorly, as it won’t heat food evenly or run at an appropriate speed.
Install a Dedicated Circuit
It’s best to install a dedicated circuit for large appliances that require high amounts of power. The only exception will be if these are being used in different stages of construction. That said, always ask an electrician for help when planning out electrical work.
Microwaves have economic uses of around 1000 W (1 Kilowatt). With other kitchen appliances cooking at similar levels, it’s possible to overload a circuit and trip the breaker.
A dedicated circuit would be the same as mentioned before; it runs off 120 V to ensure the microwave doesn’t overload the wiring system in your home.
Having a separate breaker altogether allows for higher wattage appliances without tripping the main breaker in your household, which would leave you unable to cook anything until it’s reset,
What Household Appliances Need Their Own Breakers?
Microwaves should be on their own breaker or a breaker without other large kitchen appliances. Putting the microwave on the same breaker as another kitchen appliance can trip the circuit and overload it.
Household appliances that need their own breakers are generally those that use large amounts of power like electric ranges, air conditioners, and heavy-duty home appliances. Having dedicated breakers for your appliances will prevent your home’s wiring system from getting overloaded and causing a fire.
However, that doesn’t mean that small appliances should all be placed on the same circuit. More on this later.
Can a Microwave and Toaster Be On The Same Circuit?
This is generally not recommended because in the event that both appliances are in use at the same time you run the risk of tripping the breaker. Yes, you can make it a point not to use them at the same time but it’s just not worth it. Having the microwave on its own breaker will result in one less issue that you have to think about and plan for when cooking.
To ensure you have enough watts for each appliance, always check the appliance’s wattage rating on the manufacturer’s website or in their owner’s manual. If you’re not sure how to find this information, there should be a customer service representative you can call for help.
Dedicate Individual Breakers for Ovens and Refrigerators
Refrigerators and ovens should always be on a dedicated circuit. It means they have their own breaker that doesn’t share with other appliances or anything else in your home.
Overloaded circuits are one of the biggest causes of fires in homes, so an important step to take when you’re wondering how many watts a refrigerator uses is to ensure you have enough wattage for each appliance. Check the label or owner’s manual for this information, or call customer service if needed.
You should also consider getting a professional electrician to install double pole breakers instead of single-pole breakers if you can afford them. It’s less expensive to do your research and buy appliances that match up with your current wiring system than it is to hire an electrician later.
Don’t Operate Multiple Appliances on the Same Breaker
Another common mistake people make is using a kitchen appliance on the same breaker as their refrigerators, such as a toaster oven or Crock-Pot. Even though these appliances may not draw much power individually, they can add up and trip the breaker if you’re not careful.
It’s also important to be aware that some appliances need their own special breakers, like air conditioners (of course) but also dishwashers.
Be sure not to overload your circuits with multiple large appliances or even several smaller appliances that add up to a high wattage use—for example, microwaves.
Don’t put your microwave on a shared circuit, especially one that’s shared with other appliances. You are better off running a dedicated line and circuit breaker for this one.
If you have no choice but to share it, consider it being shared with low-wattage devices like LED kitchen lights but dedicated is best. We have always run a dedicated line to the microwave and I’ve never once had any regret in the small amount of extra work it required.
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As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.