Why can't I plug my microwave into the same outlet as my refridgerator?


I’m in a new place in an old building. My kitchen only has one outlet. The microwave instructions are clear that I don’t plug it into the same outlet as the fridge or the stove. The stove is gas, but the fridge is electric. Why can’t I use the same outlet? What happens if I do?

You’ll blow the fuse or circuit breaker since the combined current draw of the two appliances is greater than most homes are wired for.

2 kinds of wire typically used in homes. 14 gauge for 15 amp circuits, and 12 gauge for 20 amp circuits & 220v outlets (Real Men don’t bother with 14 gauge, they just run 4 strand 12 gauge throughout the house :smiley: ). If you pump more amps through the wire than it’s supposed to carry, the wire will overheat and destroy the insulation over time. They also get pretty brittle making it a pain in the butt to work with when it’s time to change an outlet. To prevent this damage, the circuit breaker will trip (blow a fuse, if you prefer the ancient verse) when more than the designated amount of juice gets pulled into the wire.

So anyway, refrigerators can pull up 20 amps (normally only during start up). Put one on a 15 amp circuit and it will be tripping that breaker fairly regularly so the “right” way to wire the fridge is to give it its own dedicated 20 amp circuit. Nothing else gets plugged in on the same circuit as Mr. Fridge.

The microwave likewise pulls quite a bit of juice, and depending on your breeding, you may have it on its own 15 amp circuit as well, or maybe plugged into a 20 amp circuit with something weak like a blender or coffee pot. Long and short is, do the math (which I foprget how to do) and determine the maximum amount of amps that can be pulled bu any appliances plugged into the circuit, and wire/breaker it accordingly.

Fridge & Microwave together on a circuit will result in many jaunts to the breaker box at best, damaged wiring and fires at worst.

I have a similar problem in my new (old) house. I ripped out the nasty, original stove hood (which was hard-wired for some reason that seems normal but strange to me), and installed a built-in microwave. I also replaced the original icky gas stove with an upper-mid-range, gas, slide-in. The problem is it’s on the same circuit as my micro. The oven, it turns out, has an electric “helper” element that’s in use to aid in browning. I thought my microwave was going bad when the breaker tripped as I tried using them simultaneously.

Check you breaker or fuse panel to the the capacity of the kitchen outlet plug. If it is 15 Amps you might have a problem. My microwave is a 1000 watt unit and so takes at least 8 Amps. at 120 volts. I don’t want to bother looking at the nameplate so I don’t know the exact number but a WAG would be between 9 and 10. On a 15 Amp. circuit breaker this only leaves 5 to 6 for any other appliance.

And incidently, our kitchen outlets are wired for 20 Amps. The refrigerator and microwave have been connected to the same breaker for several years with no problems.

Actually if the combined current of the two appliances exceeds the circuit breaker or fuze capacity you can’t even plug them into any outlet on the same circuit. If you had more than one outlet in the kitchen then chances are that they would be connected to the same circuit breaker so a different outlet wouldn’t do any good.

If you have to run an extension cord from an outlet on another circuit I would put the oven on the extension. You are around when using the oven and can watch for any problems with the extension. That’s not the case with the refrigerator. Use an extension cord with enough capacity. The current requirement for the oven should be on the nameplate on the back of the unit.

Fire was/is my big concern. I was wondering if too much energy through the outlet might cause a fire; but, the wiring is close enough for me. The alternative of shutting the whole house down everytime I want to warm a frozen burrito didn’t sound too appealing either. (Of course, I don’t know if that would happen—maybe it’d just be me or my kitchen.) The landlord happened to call me this morning, so I asked him about it. He said that he’d consult an electrician.

I was wondering about an extension cord. I nice fat one. I have two outlets in the living room, neither are doing any work. Since, as pointed out, I’ll be w/ the microwave when it’s in use, I can make the extension cord a nice, workable option for the time being.

Cool. Thanks.

The oven is most certainly 220. So an extension from a regular outlet is out.

Those directions sound hokey. Aint’ no way your going to plug the microwave into the same outlet as the stove anyway. And they should be talking circuts, not outlets.

I’ve never seen a 220 V microwave oven in my life. I assume they must exist in Europe, but here?

You big old crazy! Not the friggin *microwave * oven, the other one that makes cookies and pizzas!

Well, yes. But David Simmons was referring to the microwave, unless I’m mistaken.

Whoa…the microwave is cool for an extension cord; but, the regular oven with the stove top and all, if it were electric instead of gas, would be a no-no for the extension cord. Am I following this correctly?

Yes. That would be bad, even if you could do it. Which you can’t because the plugs are different, and because most electric ranges use 240 V rather than 120 V.

If said oven/stove has a 220v plug (and I’d bet your reputation that it does) the plu would be about the size of your fist and have 3 or 4 mammoth prongs pointing in all sorts of crazy directions. I’ve never seen an extension cord for a 220 plug. i suspect this is because there are none…commercially available that is. i’m sure I have relatives in Byhalia, MS. that have put something together.

The question was about microwave ovens. Let’s stick to one subject at a time and avoid confusion. There was no reason for anyone to even broach the subject of any other kind of oven.

For your reference, here’s the OP (emphasis mine):

Because they’re often on the same circuit, some of the stove responses are perfectly adequate.

You could safely create an extension cord for a 220v oven though. There are plenty of charts that say what gauge of wire to use to run how much power what distance. It would be some hefty wire though. I know you knew this, but others may not.

Though, I have never seen a house where it would be needed… almost every house has a properly wired circuit for just the oven.

I not only have seen 220V extension cords, I have seen 440V extension cords. We personally own numerous 220V ones, including 220V power strips, trouble lights, and so forth. Of course, most of them are from England, but some not.

Of course there can be 220 (or more accurately 240) V extension cords. All that is needed are plugs that fit thestandard 240 V. outlets of which there are two varieties. Scroll down a little way.

Is anyone reminded of “Green Acres”?

A three and a two and a two and a …

“Green Acres” is where I’m moving from. My first week there I went to buy stamps and the woman at the counter gave me a $20 bill and asked me to go across the street for change. People actually got offended if they went to my folks’ house when they weren’t there and found the door locked.

Thanks to a genuine small-town atmosphere, being the county seat (hence sheriff’s head office), and an alleged drug scandal involving a local airport just large enough for private planes from South America to land there, that town has more cops than your average village of 1,500 people.

The place I’m moving into now is in a small city…it’s incorporated as a city, anyway. But the house was built in the 1800s. The stove/oven looks like it’s from the 1940s. I had to ask my mom how to light the oven.