Circuit problems can stem from powerful appliances

My microwave and toaster are plugged into different sockets, so why can't I run them at the same time without tripping the breaker box? — Patricia Spadafora

The problem is caused by too many high-powered appliances on the same electrical circuit, says Juan Sanchez, owner of Power Electric & Construction in Los Angeles.

"The wattage of the microwave and the toaster exceeds the amount of power that one circuit can handle," he says, adding this problem is common in older homes with outdated electrical systems. "The breaker is doing its job by tripping when it's overloaded."

According to the National Fire Protection Association, circuit breakers are crucial safety devices that can prevent fires caused by damaged or overloaded wires.

Paul Harris, owner of Fairway Electric in Agoura Hills, Calif., says this issue also occurs frequently in the bathroom. "Hair dryers are another example of an electrical device that will cause the breaker to trip," Harris says. "The current National Electric Code requires two circuits in the kitchen and bathroom so it's less likely to be a problem."

To prevent trouble down the line, both Harris and Sanchez recommend hiring a licensed electrician to install a new circuit in the kitchen area.

"The microwave should be on its own circuit," Sanchez says, adding you can expect to pay between $175 and $250.


Comments

Thanks. Useful information. Just this sort of problem was the reason I subscribed to Angie's List in the first place.

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