Lights Dim When You Use The Microwave? Here’s Why & What To Do About It
How frustrating it is to see the lights dim when you try to cook the Christmas ham in the oven, use the stove for side dishes, and warm up the casseroles in the microwave. While there should be no problem using all the appliances in the household at the same time, sometimes the lights dim or a fuse gets blown.
If you’ve noticed that the power wanes when using several appliances together, you are right to be concerned even though the issue won’t likely burn your house down. Sometimes it may only happen occasionally, sometimes for months at a time, and sometimes it’s every time you use the microwave. Either way, you want to address the problem. After all, there could be a sleeping beast which later rears its ugly head in the form of a house fire.
Like all electrical problems, you need a licensed electrician to troubleshoot and fix the problem. However, you should know why this could be happening and what may need to be done to fix the issue.
The Circuit Is Getting Overloaded
Your house has a network of wiring that leads to certain areas of the home. If there are too many heavy appliances plugged into one circuit, there can be an overload. The lights dimming when the microwave turns on can mean that you are overloading the circuit.
First, if you have a portable microwave, plug it into an outlet located on an opposite wall of the kitchen to see if the lights still dim. You may need to relocate the microwave to solve the problem.
If you have the older 14 gauge knob & tube wiring, you probably don’t have enough current needed to power everything in the house. The other problem with pre-owned homes is that you never know who repaired the electrical system and whether they repaired it right, so mistakes can also lead to the power waning problem.
The Circuit Breaker Panel May Need An Upgrade
There are several possible problems that could cause the lights to dim when using the microwave. One, you may need to upgrade the service entrance cable that leads to the breaker panel. If they are too small for your modern appliances, they should be replaced.
If the fuses blow frequently, the electrical panel may need to be upgraded. If you do need a panel upgrade and other electrical repairs, it’s important to have one done for safety. Plus, you will enjoy a more energy efficient home after the upgrade.
One Heavy Appliance Needs A Dedicated Circuit
Do you have a second refrigerator that is plugged into an outlet on a shared wall with the kitchen? Do you have a built-in microwave and double oven on the same wall as your huge refrigerator/freezer? There may be some heavy appliance that is drawing more power than your circuit can provide. The solution may be to install a dedicated circuit for the heavy appliance.
Your best option, no matter what is causing the lights to dim, is to call an electrician to evaluate your circuit needs. They will also check for necessary repairs and upgrades to ensure that your electrical system is safe.