Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

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abs9986
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Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by abs9986 »

So our Frigidaire gallery microwave which is a year and a half old is frequently tripping our circuit breaker multiple times per week. We believe that it is the microwave because we've tried plugging it into different outlets and it is also tripping those circuits. It is definitely on its own dedicated 20 amp circuit. We have also used a multimeter to measure the amperage and have confirmed that when it does trip the circuit breaker it's pulling more than the stated 14 amps. The issue has actually been going on for several months but unfortunately the microwave is outside of the 1-year warranty and Frigidaire is not willing to do anything about it.

My question is, is it worth paying for the microwave to be repaired or should we just get a new one? I don't know what the cost of repair is but a new microwave is around $250. I can't imagine a repair being very much if any cheaper. It's frustrating because the microwave is barely over a year old. If we were to buy a new one, are there any brands that you recommend that would hopefully be a little more reliable? Is it worth buying an extended warranty?
Silk McCue
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by Silk McCue »

I think you just got a lemon which can happen with any brand. I would not have it repaired at this price point.

Cheers
squirm
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by squirm »

did you pay for it with a credit card? maybe the warranty is doubled. frequent resetting a breaker is dangerous. something is wrong.
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DanMahowny
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by DanMahowny »

Return it, if possible, otherwise throw it in the trash.

This is not something to mess with.
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BIGal
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by BIGal »

Stop using it immediately. Electrical equipment with a fault will not get better. Buy a new on and move on.
Invest4lt
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by Invest4lt »

Unless covered by warranty (extended warranty with credit card?), I would get a new one.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by RickBoglehead »

squirm wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:59 am did you pay for it with a credit card? maybe the warranty is doubled. frequent resetting a breaker is dangerous. something is wrong.
This ^^^
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sport
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by sport »

Is this a built in over-the-range unit, or a countertop model?
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JoMoney
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by JoMoney »

One experience I had, was living in a house where the circuit breaker for the entire kitchen could not tolerate the load of the microwave + toaster + refrigerator motor kicking on. If someone was making breakfast, and opened the refrigerator door (causing the motor to kick on) -blink- lights out.

.. I bring it up just to point out that it may be too high of a wattage microwave and the breaker for your entire kitchen may not be able to handle the load... If it's not that, and it is a faulty microwave, STOP USING THE MICROWAVE AND UNPLUG IT
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Watty
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by Watty »

abs9986 wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:49 am The issue has actually been going on for several months but unfortunately the microwave is outside of the 1-year warranty and Frigidaire is not willing to do anything about it.
But it sounds like a new problem, stop using it.

You might also check with the store where you bought it, occasionally they will help out in situations like this.
abs9986 wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:49 am Is it worth buying an extended warranty?
As others have said check your receipt to see if you already have an extended warranty.

Be sure that you buy your next one with credit card that does provide an extended warranty.

The Costco credit card extends warranties on most things for 2 years even if you did not buy it at Costco.
inbox788
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by inbox788 »

abs9986 wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:49 amMy question is, is it worth paying for the microwave to be repaired or should we just get a new one? I don't know what the cost of repair is but a new microwave is around $250. I can't imagine a repair being very much if any cheaper. It's frustrating because the microwave is barely over a year old. If we were to buy a new one, are there any brands that you recommend that would hopefully be a little more reliable? Is it worth buying an extended warranty?
Usually not worth repair or paying extra for warranty. Depends on your problem, but the labor involved in troubleshooting and replacing a $0.25 part might cost more than a new microwave.

Kenmore 70919 0.9 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven - Black $39.99
https://www.sears.com/kenmore-70919-0.9 ... A024701954

Your problem might be as simple as a door sensing switch going bad (see switch itself around 9 minute mark). If you or someone you know is handy, youtube has videos of almost anything DIY.

Microwave Keeps Tripping Breaker? Here's WHY!
https://youtu.be/sT8oFuHiZUk?t=360
Last edited by inbox788 on Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
FI4LIFE
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by FI4LIFE »

I would attempt a return. Make a stink and hope for a discount on the new one. I might try swapping out the 20 amp breaker before replacing the microwave but would only let it trip once before unplugging the microwave permanently. AS OTHERS HAVE STATED, STOP USING IT. THIS IS A FIRE HAZARD.
fru-gal
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by fru-gal »

This is the white countertop $79.99 microwave I got from Sears Hometown to replace my builtin microwave a few months ago:

Kenmore 70912 0.9 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven White
Size: 16.7 x 21.1 x 13.7

Sears Hometown is alive and well even though Sears isn't.

I like it except for the following: It beeps about once a minute after it finishes cooking. It is slightly not as high as I would like but so far everything fits in it. When it does the 3 beeps on completion it does all 3 beeps even if you open the door in the middle.

It is nicer than my old microwave in that it has a couple of shortcuts to set the cooking time. Push 1 and it starts cooking for one minute, no need to push the cooking time button. This works for up to 5 or 6 minutes I forget which. Pushing Start starts it cooking for thirty seconds and you can push Start again to keep adding 30 seconds.

I would not use an appliance that kept tripping a circuit breaker, really. I would unplug it immediately.
JediMisty
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by JediMisty »

abs9986 wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:49 am So our Frigidaire gallery microwave which is a year and a half old is frequently tripping our circuit breaker multiple times per week. We believe that it is the microwave because we've tried plugging it into different outlets and it is also tripping those circuits. It is definitely on its own dedicated 20 amp circuit. We have also used a multimeter to measure the amperage and have confirmed that when it does trip the circuit breaker it's pulling more than the stated 14 amps. The issue has actually been going on for several months but unfortunately the microwave is outside of the 1-year warranty and Frigidaire is not willing to do anything about it.

My question is, is it worth paying for the microwave to be repaired or should we just get a new one? I don't know what the cost of repair is but a new microwave is around $250. I can't imagine a repair being very much if any cheaper. It's frustrating because the microwave is barely over a year old. If we were to buy a new one, are there any brands that you recommend that would hopefully be a little more reliable? Is it worth buying an extended warranty?
So, it is currently on a dedicated breaker, right? When you test it elsewhere, are those also 20 amp dedicated breakers? If not, it could be the breaker or outlet that is bad. Mine is on a GFCI outlet. The builder installed a cheap one. I replaced the GFCI my microwave was on with a good one when the breaker was tripping. My point is the other area for "testing" would need to be a 20 amp dedicated breaker for the test to be meaningful. My dad was an electrician and he said to check the outlet rather than plug in the microwave to other (15 amp, non dedicated) circuits to check it.
GrowthSeeker
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by GrowthSeeker »

My first thought is: there's something else on the same circuit, but you say it's a dedicated line, so probably not.

My second thought is: once a circuit breaker has "blown" many times, I think it gets easier and easier for it to trip. Not sure how to test for this. But the breaker could be bad. I don't know enough about it to know how much of "a thing" this is.

My third thought is: if something is not quite making perfect contact, where the microwave's plug plugs into the wall, or where the wire attaches to the outlet, or somewhere, it can be like having an extra resistor in series with the resistance of the appliance. So at constant voltage, this means higher current, maybe enough to trip a breaker.
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suemarkp
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by suemarkp »

Plug a Kil-A-Watt between the microwave and the outlet. Monitor the voltage while it is running. Is it staying close to 120V? If not, check the outlet wiring for tightness both at the outlet end and breaker end. If so, switch the Kil-A-Watt to amp mode and monitor the amp draw. It should typically be around 12 to 15 when it is producing microwave energy (you'll hear that cycle on and off). If the amps are higher -- like 25 or more, the microwave is defective.

It is possible the Kil-A-Watt won't measure an amp spike from some intermittent failure in the microwave while it is operating, but it may have a peak hold indicator. An amp spike will trip a breaker right away (it typically needs to be about a 60A or higher spike). You'd need a different type of meter to measure that.

Most houses have 20A circuits for the kitchen counters, the laundry room, and in bathrooms (but it may be shared between multiple bathrooms). These would be candidates for other circuits to use to test the microwave. Usually you have a good idea what is running on these. The kitchen fridge is typically the only thing that may be putting load on a circuit that you may not realize.
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neilpilot
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by neilpilot »

suemarkp wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:24 pm The kitchen fridge is typically the only thing that may be putting load on a circuit that you may not realize.
Usually not, since the kitchen is typically wired so the refrigerator is on a dedicated circuit not shared by other outlets.
jharkin
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by jharkin »

Just because the code says the micro needs a dedicated circuit, doesn't guarantee it is. If the house has ever been renovated, or had repair work done by a hack who didn't pull a permit dont be shocked if somebody added onto a circuit they where not supposed to.

- I would definitely find some other 20 amp circuit - like a garage outlet, and put the micro on a kill-a-watt to watch how many amps its actually pulling.
- I would also turn the micro breaker off and test to see if any other outlet turns off.
- If you are comfortable working on electric, next I would pull that outlet, and check for loose connections, signs of burnt wires, or cheap builder grade receptacles with backstabbed connections. Also make sure its proper 12GA wire. If in doubt replace it.
criticalmass
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by criticalmass »

abs9986 wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:49 am So our Frigidaire gallery microwave which is a year and a half old is frequently tripping our circuit breaker multiple times per week. We believe that it is the microwave because we've tried plugging it into different outlets and it is also tripping those circuits. It is definitely on its own dedicated 20 amp circuit. We have also used a multimeter to measure the amperage and have confirmed that when it does trip the circuit breaker it's pulling more than the stated 14 amps. The issue has actually been going on for several months but unfortunately the microwave is outside of the 1-year warranty and Frigidaire is not willing to do anything about it.

My question is, is it worth paying for the microwave to be repaired or should we just get a new one? I don't know what the cost of repair is but a new microwave is around $250. I can't imagine a repair being very much if any cheaper. It's frustrating because the microwave is barely over a year old. If we were to buy a new one, are there any brands that you recommend that would hopefully be a little more reliable? Is it worth buying an extended warranty?
Is it tripping on over current or is a ground fault tripping? Many kitchen outlets have GFI’s, whether they need them (counter outlets where a sink is present) or they don’t (e.g. a refrigerator (don’t use a GFI here)).

If the former, I’d replace the microwave and dispose of the old one with an appliance recycler or appliance recycling pickup. A great question would be why the internal fuse didn’t blow with the over current? That’s another safety hazard unless it’s a slow blow fuse by design. I’d switch models if it’s over current. 20 amps is a lot of current in the kitchen, assuming the interrupter 20 amp value is accurate.

If it’s a GFI tripping on a ground fault, it may not be the microwave oven’s fault. Many cheaper GFIs (I.e. the majority) are trip happy and get worse with time. This is another reason why you don’t use a GFI with a refrigerator, subject to NEC.

Dedicated circuits may not be. My “dedicated” 20 amp microwave circuit has 12 gauge wire to the microwave and then 14 gauge wire to an outlet upstairs. I planned to upgrade the 14 gauge leg, but found it easier to switch the interrupter to 15 amps, which is the microwave spec. All is fine and safely up to code.
Last edited by criticalmass on Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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dm200
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by dm200 »

Is it possible that the problem is not the microwave, but the circuit breaker (or related) itself?

Not sure how you could test or validate this, though. It would be a shame to replace the microwave and have the same problem with the new one.

What capacity circuit does the Microwave recommend?
whomever
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by whomever »

"My “dedicated” 20 amp microwave circuit has 12 gauge wire to the microwave and then 14 gauge wire to an outlet upstairs. I planned to upgrade the 14 gauge leg, but found it easier to switch the interrupter to 15 amps, which is the microwave spec. All is fine and safely up to code."

I could sure be wrong, but I didn't think that code allows 12 g wire on a 15 amp breaker (or maybe more correctly, doesn't allow mixing wire gauges on a circuit). Not because it will burn down the house as it is now, but because of the confusion possible. For example, the next owner of your house wishes the microwave outlet was 20A, looks in the breaker panel and sees 12 g wire connected to that 15A breaker and thinks 'Aha! All I have to do is pop in a 20A breaker'. And then plugs a big space heater into the upstairs bathroom, and the length of 14 g buried in the wall overheats and burns the house down.

I think the right solution is to change out the 14 g for 12 g (which I realize is probably a big job).
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by Sandtrap »

abs9986 wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:49 am So our Frigidaire gallery microwave which is a year and a half old is frequently tripping our circuit breaker multiple times per week. We believe that it is the microwave because we've tried plugging it into different outlets and it is also tripping those circuits. It is definitely on its own dedicated 20 amp circuit. We have also used a multimeter to measure the amperage and have confirmed that when it does trip the circuit breaker it's pulling more than the stated 14 amps. The issue has actually been going on for several months but unfortunately the microwave is outside of the 1-year warranty and Frigidaire is not willing to do anything about it.

My question is, is it worth paying for the microwave to be repaired or should we just get a new one? I don't know what the cost of repair is but a new microwave is around $250. I can't imagine a repair being very much if any cheaper. It's frustrating because the microwave is barely over a year old. If we were to buy a new one, are there any brands that you recommend that would hopefully be a little more reliable? Is it worth buying an extended warranty?
**Because you state that the microwave also trips the breaker on other outlets:
therefore:

***Immediately don't use it for the sake of safety.
Not only is there an amperage over-draw but there may be a GFCI trip issue. Someone could get shocked by touching the unit when it is on.

Get another one. Any good one.

Do not get an extended warranty, especially for an inexpensive item.

j :happy
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lthenderson
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by lthenderson »

I would strip the magnatron out of it and after installing the new microwave, make my own Lichtenberg figure burning device.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHOJSxYEh5s
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dm200
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by dm200 »

I also fully agree that a faulty Microwave should not be used at all - too potentially dangerous - and it is not a huge expense to just replace it.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by adamthesmythe »

No reason to repair unless it is permanently installed and unusual in some way.

If I HAD to fix it I might see if there is a power supply board I could replace. I would expect parts alone to be >$100 on one of the appliance parts websites.

I cannot imagine that it would make sense economically to get a repair person for this.
Teague
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by Teague »

jharkin wrote: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:37 am Just because the code says the micro needs a dedicated circuit, doesn't guarantee it is. If the house has ever been renovated, or had repair work done by a hack who didn't pull a permit dont be shocked if somebody added onto a circuit they where not supposed to.
That is the truth! After I moved into this house I noticed a tripped breaker at the panel. Naturally, I reset it, only to watch another breaker immediately trip. Reset that one, and the first breaker tripped again.

The rocket scientist prior owner (a union carpenter by the way) had connected the two circuits together in the garage, by connecting the two out-of-phase sides, each 120V, to each other. Hey, they're both black wires, so they should go together, right?

This meant that the series of outlets connected to these circuits always had power and appeared to be fine, since one breaker was not tripped, but the wiring behind the scenes was anything but fine.

As an aside, before buying the house I insisted a licensed electrician sign off on the panel and wiring. Sure enough, I have a certificate from the electrician stating that the above mess was "functioning correctly at this time."
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iamlucky13
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by iamlucky13 »

One of the simplest reasons for an appliance to draw more than the rated current (beyond startup transients, which should not trip a breaker) is an internal short circuit. That could be a fire or shock hazard.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a website for lodging unsafe product complaints:
https://www.saferproducts.gov/CPSRMSPub ... ident.aspx

This is more than an issue of warranty of customer satisfaction. Since you have verified that it is pulling more than the UL rated maximum load, Frigidaire is neglecting a safety defect with their product. Notify the CPSC, including the make and model number (optionally, serial number, too).

I would go ahead and replace the microwave now rather than wait until Frigidaire wises up that warranties don't define the limits of potential liability. If you wish to, continue pursuing action from Frigidaire while using a properly functioning microwave.

You may or may not succeed in getting compensation for the defective product, but you definitely should lodge a complaint with the CPSC. The more complaints they get about the product, the more likely they are to investigate and request action from the manufacturer.

I wouldn't pay someone else to repair a microwave, although I've repaired my own before. There is a decent chance this has a relatively simple fix, but since microwaves have a high voltage capacitor in them that can retain a charge after being unplugged, that is not something for people not familiar with electronics to attempt.
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by Bmc918can »

whomever wrote: Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:53 am "My “dedicated” 20 amp microwave circuit has 12 gauge wire to the microwave and then 14 gauge wire to an outlet upstairs. I planned to upgrade the 14 gauge leg, but found it easier to switch the interrupter to 15 amps, which is the microwave spec. All is fine and safely up to code."

I could sure be wrong, but I didn't think that code allows 12 g wire on a 15 amp breaker (or maybe more correctly, doesn't allow mixing wire gauges on a circuit). Not because it will burn down the house as it is now, but because of the confusion possible. For example, the next owner of your house wishes the microwave outlet was 20A, looks in the breaker panel and sees 12 g wire connected to that 15A breaker and thinks 'Aha! All I have to do is pop in a 20A breaker'. And then plugs a big space heater into the upstairs bathroom, and the length of 14 g buried in the wall overheats and burns the house down.

I think the right solution is to change out the 14 g for 12 g (which I realize is probably a big job).
As long as the outlet upstairs is a 15a outlet, the 14AWG is fine since the outlet pin configuration is different than a 20a outlet... So, a space heater would have a cord that only plugs into an outlet it could safely use... So always replace outlets with exactly the same pin configuration and never change an outlet or cord end so it will plug in where you want it to... If the cord won’t plug in, it’s because the wire isn’t rated for the device you’re wanting to plug in...
snowox
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by snowox »

I had two Frigidaire Microwaves do the same thing a year apart and had to replace them. I went with a GE the last time. There is something obviously wrong with that particular model that they seemingly haven't addressed still.
Broszy
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by Broszy »

I agree with inbox788's diagnosis

This happened to my microwave at the beginning of covid. I took off the front cover and pushed on each of the 3 door switches. One was clearly broken (didn't make a loud click sound) and so I ordered a new switch for a couple bucks. I popped it in, problem solved.
RobLyons
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by RobLyons »

We had terrible experiences with the Frigidaire Gallery appliances that came with our house.
Great advice here. Stop using immediately. Check with your CC for doubled warranty if there is one. Buy a new one if not under warranty. I'd recommend a different brand as well.
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acegolfer
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by acegolfer »

It's likely that the wires inside the unit are stripped and the ground wire is tripping the circuit breaker for safety. To understand this, watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLW_7TPf310. You can then determine whether it's worth trying to fix or replace it.
kaneohe
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by kaneohe »

GrowthSeeker wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:24 pm .....................................................
My third thought is: if something is not quite making perfect contact, where the microwave's plug plugs into the wall, or where the wire attaches to the outlet, or somewhere, it can be like having an extra resistor in series with the resistance of the appliance. So at constant voltage, this means higher current, maybe enough to trip a breaker.
If you have higher resistance, don't you get less current if voltage is constant?
michaelingp
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by michaelingp »

GrowthSeeker wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:24 pm My second thought is: once a circuit breaker has "blown" many times, I think it gets easier and easier for it to trip. Not sure how to test for this. But the breaker could be bad. I don't know enough about it to know how much of "a thing" this is.

I read once that circuit breakers are only designed for 25 "trips". I don't remember how they fail, whether too hard to trip or too easy to trip, but either way, all that weekly tripping might be ruining the circuit breaker, and it should be replaced anyway.
neilpilot
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Re: Microwave keeps tripping circuit breaker

Post by neilpilot »

michaelingp wrote: Sun Sep 20, 2020 3:18 pm
GrowthSeeker wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:24 pm My second thought is: once a circuit breaker has "blown" many times, I think it gets easier and easier for it to trip. Not sure how to test for this. But the breaker could be bad. I don't know enough about it to know how much of "a thing" this is.

I read once that circuit breakers are only designed for 25 "trips". I don't remember how they fail, whether too hard to trip or too easy to trip, but either way, all that weekly tripping might be ruining the circuit breaker, and it should be replaced anyway.
In 12v service, I've had to replace several old circuit breakers after they started to trip early (at lower than spec amperage).
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