Proper electrical wiring prevents kitchen problems

Proper electrical wiring prevents kitchen problems

My microwave and toaster are on two separate sockets, so why can't I run them at the same time without tripping the breaker? - Angie’s List member Patricia Spadafora

"Too much power is going through the wire, and the breaker trips to protect the wire," says Doug Surovy, supervising electrician at highly rated Douglas Electric Co. in Chicago. "She should have two of the appliances plugged into separate outlets on their own breaker." According to the National Fire Protection Association, breakers are crucial safety devices that can prevent fires caused by damaged or overloaded wires.

George Karidas, owner of highly related Karidas Electric Inc. in Mount Prospect, says frequent breaker trips are a common problem in older homes, as the increased use of energy-hungry appliances eats up capacity. "The National Electrical Code says the kitchen should have two or more separate circuits, but that's not enough," he says. "It was fine in the 1950s when there were fewer appliances, but a lot of people have more circuits now."

Michael Rice, owner of highly rated ABS Electric Inc. in Downers Grove, says multiple appliances with heating elements are more likely to trip the breaker. "They use a lot of wattage," he says. "Microwaves are supposed to have their own circuit all the time."

Adding new circuits is less complex in Chicago than in other cities, Karidas says, thanks to the prevalence of electrical conduit pipes in the area. "It might be a small job, costing just $300, he says.


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