Yesterday, my friend and I were rearranging things around in the kitchen and decided the microwave oven looked a lot better on the other end of the room. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an outlet nearby.
His solution was that I could plug my microwave into an extension cord. The thought of this made me scratch my head, but it also made me a little worried.
So, I decided to do a little bit of my own research, and this is what I found out.
Can a microwave be plugged into an extension cord?
Experts have strongly recommended against using an extension cord with a microwave because of the risk of overheating and potential for fire. If you must use one, however, then extension cords must meet certain criteria like three-wire grounding, sufficient current support, matching electrical rating, and safety positioning. This will help to avoid flickering lights, blown fuses, or tripped circuit breakers. Also, your microwave should be connected to its own properly grounded, dedicated electrical socket.
Precautions to take when using an extension cord with a microwave
1. Make sure the plugs are secure
If you are using an extension cord for your microwave, you first need to make sure the plugs are secure. You should ensure that the cord is fully plugged into the wall and that it is not sagging or being pulled on in any way. You also need to ensure that the microwave plug is fully inserted into the extension cord and that both are securely attached.
2. Check the specifications of the extension cord
When using an extension cord, you also need to ensure that it is the right type of extension cord and that it is able to handle the wattage and power needs of the particular microwave that you have plugged in. You want a cord that is going to be able to handle the power needs, one that is going to be able to withstand the heat generated from use, and so on.
3. Always follow safety precautions
Still, another thing to keep in mind is that you need to follow any and all safety precautions that are listed for both the microwave and the extension cord. You should ensure that the cord is not stepped on, that there is nothing sitting on top of it, and that it stays dry. If you notice any issues, you should unplug the extension cord and the microwave as soon as you notice them.
4. Monitor the insulation regularly
You also need to monitor the insulation of the cord on a regular basis. The biggest issue with plugging a microwave into an extension cord is that the amount of electricity traveling through the cord to power the microwave is rather large. This means that the insulation on your cords could wear out. Microwaves use about 1200W of electricity per hour, which is a bit for a small appliance. You should check the integrity of the cord often.
5. Don’t over load the electrical circuits
The last thing to keep in mind is that you do not want to overload the circuit and plug too many things in. Your electrical outlets are designed to handle a specific load when they are in use. Some outlets are designed to stop functioning if they exceed that amount and they will automatically shut off or kick a breaker to stop the flow of electricity to that outlet. You want to make sure you are only plugging in the microwave to the extension cord and nothing else.
How to pick the right extension cord for a microwave
Consider the length of the extension cord for the microwave
The first thing you need to consider when plugging a microwave into an extension cord is the length of the cord. The cord has the ability to be a tripping hazard if it is too large as well as an electrical hazard if you are not using the proper cord. Consider the length and get the shortest cord you can manage so that it can be tucked away.
Consider the current rating of the extension cord for the microwave
Most household extension cords are rated for about 1000W when in use. Microwaves use about 1200 watts when they are in use. If you have to use an extension cord, make sure you get one that is going to be able to handle the electrical load that your microwave produces. Look at the wattage of your microwave and find a heavy duty cord that is going to be able to stand up to that need.
Consider the build quality of the extension cord for the microwave
When using an extension cord with a microwave, you want to make sure that you have the right cord that is going to be the right gauge. You want a #10, heavy duty gauge cord for your microwave. The heavier the gauge of the cord, the larger the electrical load that it can handle and the less likely it is to overheat or short out when in use.
Consider the plug design of the extension cord for the microwave
Plug design also has an impact on the overall performance of your extension cord. You want a three prong cord because that third prong is going to provide the ground. This means that if something goes wrong, it is going to shut off and prevent a major catastrophe.
Consider the price point of the extension cord for the microwave
The price of the cord can also be an indicator of quality. Cords that cost more are likely to use materials that are higher quality, which may indicate a stronger cord that is going to be safer. When in doubt, do your research and find out about the reliability of brands and the overall quality of the materials that are being used to make the cord to see if they are a good fit for your needs.
Consider the wire gauge of the extension cord for the microwave
The gauge of the wire is perhaps the most important factor to consider. With an appliance like a microwave that does use a great deal of electricity to function, the thicker the wire gauge the safer it is going to be. You want to get a heavy duty cord that is going to have a thick gauge wire that will not overheat, short, or burn up when it is in use.
Dangers of using an extension cord with a microwave
Multiple appliances plugged into a single outlet might overstress the circuit. An easy way to tell whether your power strip is overloaded is to feel its temperature rise. The problem will only become worse if too many electrical gadgets are plugged into the same outlet. The kitchen is also the home’s power hub, with a plethora of high-capacity equipment, so you’re setting yourself up for a nightmare of a power surge.
Larger microwaves (1500 watts or more) need a separate circuit to function. Microwaves generate a lot of energy, and standard extension cables can’t handle it. Using microwaves and extension cables together is, of course, not encouraged. Using an extension cord with your microwave oven can result in flickering lights in the house, tripping circuit breakers, and blowing fuses.
Does the microwave need a special outlet?
Not necessarily. A microwave oven needs a special outlet because it can potentially have a high-wattage motor. If you plug it into an extension cord, the cord could overheat and start a fire. For safety reasons, always plug your microwave into a circuit consisting of 120/125-volts and a dedicated 20-amp.
Do microwaves need a dedicated circuit?
There are certain places where the electrical code requires a microwave to be on its own circuit. This is because microwaves use a lot of power and can trip the breaker if they are plugged into an outlet with other devices.
Microwaves need their own special outlet because they can draw a lot of electricity—as much as 1500 watts. That’s why you need to be careful and monitor your microwave when you plug it into an extension cord or power strip; it could overload the circuit.
Microwave ovens also need a dedicated 20-amp circuit in order to operate safely. If the microwave is plugged into an extension cord, this may not be possible unless the extension cord is rated for 20 amps as well.
If you’re not sure whether or not you can plug your microwave into an outlet, it’s best to check with a professional.
Can a microwave with an extension cord share an outlet with another appliance?
It is possible to plug a microwave into an extension cord, but it is not recommended. If you do this, be sure that the wattage of the microwave does not exceed the wattage rating of the extension cord. It is also important to make sure that there are no other appliances plugged into the same outlet as the microwave.
Can you plug a microwave into any outlet?
You can plug a microwave into any outlet as long as it has the appropriate wattage. The microwave will work fine, and you should not experience any problems.
A microwave should also be plugged into a 120-volt, 3-prong grounded circuit. The third prong is necessary to ground the appliance and protect you from electric shock in the event of an electrical malfunction. You can plug a microwave into any outlet as long as it meets these requirements.
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