View Full Version : Life LNBS: Electrically minded folk please apply

Discuss Thrower
02-20-2012, 03:09 AM
So, me and Raiderroommate live in a loft apartment that was probably cheaply built. I acquired a new Emerson microwave that is apparently on the same circuit as our refrigerator. It seems as if every seventh usage of said microwave will pop the circuit breaker and knock off the entire wall's plug-ins (the fridge, most importantly).

In short, is there any danger of this electrical issue becoming something bigger and killing people? Additional info: kitchen area has an island with two outlets and a dishwasher, but the outlets are non functioning (found out when the minifridge housing my beer was mysteriously warm) but the dishwasher still works though flipping the breakers has no effect on the outlets.

Any info would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Oh, and DISCUS

big nasty kcnut
02-20-2012, 05:10 AM
No not really you should be fine.

02-20-2012, 05:36 AM
First off, I'm not an electrician. No where close to one. But overloading a circuit is never a good thing and unlike the previous poster, if it is overloading that much I would be very concerned about it. Unless you like to play with potential house fires that is. I would call the landlord to check it out and at least put your concerns in writing about it just for future record if need be. You really only want to run a breaker at no more than 75% capacity. Meaning if you are using a 15a breaker, I wouldn't be using anymore than 11a on that breaker.

I would find out how many amps the breaker is and then find out which outlets are on it. And then do the addition on how many amps are being used with the things that are plugged into it's outlets and then go from there.

02-20-2012, 05:56 AM
The breaker is probably tripping when the microwave is running and the compressor for the fridge kicks on at the same time. Breakers aren't technically "switches" and over time will deteriorate from multiple trips.

Call your landlord. He can at least get the outlets on the island working for you and, if the breaker you are resetting is a 15 amp, he can put in a 20 amp breaker and probably solve the problem.

I've done electrical work, mainly in an industrial setting, for many years and I can tell you that you don't want the breaker to catch on fire, or the wiring. It isn't a remote possiblility. It can and does happen quite frequently.

Extra Point
02-20-2012, 06:45 AM
CALL YOU LANDLORD is right. Typically, a breaker is used solely for each appliance, except on the countertop. Countertops are to have a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) breaker within two feet of either side of a kitchen sink, and every four feet of counter space. Dishwasher and disposal each have their own breaker. GFCI's f*** with fridges, so putting a breaker in, solely for the fridge, is acceptable in most areas.

That's not much help, but, that's what I've learned from an electrical contractor friend.

02-20-2012, 06:48 AM
Check the island for a tripped GFI, that could be why none of the outlets work.

02-20-2012, 06:55 AM
Extra and Bugeater are both correct. First, check for a tripped GFI. Second, call your landlord.

02-20-2012, 06:56 AM
BTW, the GFI can be reset at the outlet. Also check to see if that GFI appears in multiple locations such as your bathroom.

02-20-2012, 07:28 AM
You are going to die.

02-20-2012, 07:52 AM
As above, definately get the landlord in on this. GFI's are the easiest to reset and before you just bump a breaker from 10 to 15 or 15 to 20 in the panel you'll need to make sure the wiring can handle it. Better a breaker pop than wiring heat up. Adding a circuit sounds like the way to go unless you can split the microwave and frig onto 2 separate circuits.

02-20-2012, 08:09 AM

02-20-2012, 10:04 AM
The problem is the "inrush" current caused by compressor when the motor kicks in. All motor driven electrical devices suffer this. Some may notice light flicker sometimes and it is due to this. It is the spike caused by this inrush that trips breakers. BUT. . .

given that the age/type fridge is unknown, your MW and fridge SHOULD coexist in a 15A protected line. You may just have a bad breaker. Most modern fridges deal with inrush and add protection for this.