Electrical Circuit for a Microwave
How to Wire a Microwave Oven Circuit: Microwave Cords and Plugs, The Problem with Shared Electrical Circuits
Microwave Oven Electrical Circuit Requirements
Electrical Question: We are making some small kitchen changes, including moving and changing the built-in microwave (to a drawer type model).
- The microwave will now be next to the dishwasher.
- Can I put the microwave and dishwasher on the same electrical circuit?
- If not, can I put the microwave on the same line as the GFI over-counter outlets?
- I don’t think we ever use the microwave and dishwasher at the same time.
- If the microwave has direct lines (not plug), any reason I can’t tap into the dishwasher outlet box – wiring into the screws on the box?
Thanks so much.
This electrical wiring question came from: John, from Overland Park, Kansas.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question John.
How to Wire a Microwave Oven Circuit
Application: Microwave Oven Electrical Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Electrical Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, and appropriate Safety Gear.
Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools, install electrical circuit wiring, and the available access to the project area.
Electrical Safety: Identify the electrical power source, turn it OFF and Tag with a Note before working with the electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials: Electrical parts and materials should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections: Installing or changing home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes as adopted in your local area. A permit and inspections may also be required.
Microwave Oven Electrical Circuit
- Because of the amount of electrical power that is required of a microwave oven a dedicated 120 volt 20 amp circuit is installed rather then sharing with another circuit.
- With some of the smaller microwave ovens that are small enough to be placed on the kitchen counter top it may be possible to use a counter top outlet, however if other large appliances are plugged into outlets that are sharing the same circuit then there is a good possibility that the circuit will become overloaded and trip off.
Microwave Cords and Plugs
- As with any other electrical appliance, if the microwave oven has a cord with a plug attached to it then the plug should not be removed and the cord should not be hardwired because the equipment is not designed to be permanently installed and therefore will need to have the provision to disconnect it from the power source.
- Larger permanent installed microwaves and ovens do allow for a hardwired installation and a dedicated circuit.
The Problem with Shared Electrical Circuits
- When a question is asked such as this one, I fully understand that two electrical appliances may not be operating at the same time, therefore conceivably the circuit will not become overloaded, however this is based upon your personal interpretation.
- The reality is that sooner or later someone will use both appliances at the same time and expect that the supply of electricity would be available as it should be.
- The requirements and designated electrical circuits as reinforced by the electrical codes are designed with this in mind, and it is always best to do the best job possible and install the circuit wiring correctly the first time rather than having to deal with it later on.
- This is just another reason why performing any electrical work such as this should be done according to code, with a permit and to be sure to have the project inspected.
Please Note: The adage that “it works so it must be OK” can be a very dangerous assumption when it comes to electricity!
Do it Right the First Time, You’ll Sleep Better at Night! (otherwise, make sure your smoke alarms are working!)
More about Electrical Wiring for a Microwave
Microwave Circuit Wiring
- In kitchens it is common practice that if a microwave oven will be installed at a given location, such as Hood-Fan Microwave Ovens, that a Dedicated 20 Amp Circuit is always installed.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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