Los Angeles electricians explain why too many appliances can trip breakers

Los Angeles electricians explain why too many appliances can trip breakers

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?
— Angie's List member Patricia Spadafora

The problem is caused by too many high-powered appliances on the same electrical circuit, says Juan Sanchez, owner of highly rated 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exceeds the amount of power that one circuit can handle,” he says, adding this problem is common in older homes with outdated electrical systems.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 highly rated 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.


What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 3 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!