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How Many Volts Does A Microwave Use? Understanding Microwave’s Power Consumption 

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How Many Volts Does A Microwave Use

Are you trying to lower your energy bill? If yes, consider how you use your appliance, henceforth. The power rating of your device, including how long you use it daily, determines your energy bill.   

Again, some appliances consume more power than others. It doesn’t matter their size. You’ll be surprised to know that a hair dryer consumes more power than your washing machine and television. 

So, start paying attention to how long you use power-intensive appliances in your home to reduce energy bills. Appliances in this category include your air conditioner, refrigerator, water heater, and microwave, etc.  

Now, here’s a logical question most people might be asking.

How Many Volts Does A Microwave Use?

microwave’s power consumption is rated as 650 to 1200 watts, which equals 5.4 to 10 amperes at 120 volts AC.  

Furthermore, a compact microwave uses 500 to 800 watts for heating. Some models of the regular-sized microwave use between 850 to 1800 watts, while average modern microwaves utilize around 1200 watts.

Usually, the bigger the microwave, the higher the energy consumption, and the faster and evenly it would cook the food.  

Keep reading for more information on microwave usage. 

Is Plugging Microwave Oven Into An Ordinary Outlet Ideal?

To enable your microwave oven to operate safely, have it plugged into a dedicated outlet. Avoid using an ordinary outlet. 

But that doesn’t mean most people don’t plug their microwave into an ordinary outlet. Most people do, though it’s not safe. The outlet could get burned and start a fire or damage the appliance. 

Most oven models require more power, which the ordinary outlet might not be able to withstand. 

Furthermore, the bigger the size, the higher the power the oven would require to function correctly. Some larger microwaves require power above 1500 watts. 

For such appliances, a dedicated circuit is a priority. And you’ll require one that is rated 20 amps and 120/125 volts. 

What type of wire is ideal for a dedicated circuit meant for the microwave? Well, you require a 12/2 NM wire and ensure it has a ground. 

A Handy Tip: 

When planning to mount the circuit and outlet, consider where you want your appliance placed. If you’re not so sure, mount multiple outlets to give you more options on where to place the appliance. 

Can You Use The Same Outlet For A Refrigerator And Microwave? 

The straightforward answer is no; it’s not safe for the appliances and your property. Refrigerators and microwaves are heavy power-consuming appliances. 

On the other hand, NEC (National Electrical Code) prohibits using the same outlet for a refrigerator and microwave. Instead, you require a dedicated outlet for each appliance. Why? Both appliances are power-intensive. Thus, the outlet won’t last long. It can also start a fire and put your property at risk.   

Can You Utilize An Extension Cord For Your Microwave Oven?

Yes, you can, but the United States Fire Administration warns against doing such. 

But if you plan to use an extension cord, you have to consider several factors before doing such. One of them is to use a grounded three-wire extension cord. It should have the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approval. 

Secondly, learn about the current the extension cord can handle. Why? It will help you to avoid overloading the extension cord. 

You’ll find the marked rating stated as 15 or 20 amperes on the extension cord. They signify the current it can handle. 

If your extension cord doesn’t have a marked rating, which isn’t possible, though, desist from using such to power your microwave. 

Another factor is to ensure the extension cord marked rating is higher than the one on the microwave oven. It’s one of the most essential factors and ways to use an extension cord to power a microwave safely. 

Again, do not plug the extension cord into another extension cord. Use only one extension cord and ensure it is properly grounded. 

Finally, when placing the extension cord on the floor, ensure it won’t cause people to trip over. Remember, it’s carrying an electric current, and anyone can get electrocuted when the wire breaks at any point. 

If you cannot find one that meets the above specifications, don’t connect your microwave oven to an extension cord. Instead, plug it directly into a grounded, dedicated outlet. 

By doing so, you’ll prevent the circuit breaker from tripping and the fuse or appliance itself from developing a fault. 

A Handy Tip: It is not advisable to use an extension cord for a microwave. However, if you met the earlier requirements and plugged in only the microwave, you won’t have any reason to worry. 

Just ensure no one plugs anything into the extension cord which the microwave is plugged into. 

But if you have a well-grounded 3-prong wall outlet close to where you plan to mount the appliance, go ahead and use that. 

On the other hand, if you only have a 2-prong wall outlet, change it to a grounded 3-prong wall outlet. 

4 Factors To Consider When Picking An Extension Cord For Your Microwave

If using an extension cord is the only way you can connect your microwave to a power source, you need to go ahead and use it. But you have to be extremely careful about this. Choose the right extension cord and ensure it can power the microwave. 

Here are factors you have to consider when choosing an extension cord for your microwave. 

#1: Length of the cord:

You will notice that the wire of your microwave is between 3 to 5 feet long. Why? That’s because the longer the wire, the lower its capacity to carry electrical current. So, it has to be short to meet the appliance’s energy demand. 

It is the same thing when using an extension cord. If the wire were too long, it would have a lower current carrying capacity. You will experience a tremendous amount of voltage drop.

So, choose an extension cord that is not only short but thick. 

#2: Rated wattage:

What rated wattage does the extension cord have? You need to be sure of this and know the microwave’s rating too. 

The point is to ensure the wattage of the extension cord is higher than the microwave’s wattage. If the reverse is the case, a fire might break out or damage the appliance. 

#3: The plug:

When connecting a microwave to an extension cord, don’t use one with a 2-prong plug. Such an extension cord is not grounded, so the wire has no means of sending the excess electrical current away. 

But if it is a 3-prong plug, you won’t have to worry about how to send excess electrical current away, so they become harmless. 

#4: Wire gauge:

What gauge means is the wire’s thickness. It’s usually written as AWG (American Wire Gauge). 

You must know that if the AWG number on a wire is low, its gauge is invariably high. 

A heavy-duty extension cord whose gauge is #12 should power a microwave safely. 

A Handy Tip: If you plan on plugging your microwave directly into an outlet, you would need a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit-Interrupter) or GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter) if the appliance is 6 feet or less, from a water source, such as the edge of a sink, shower, toilet, and others. 

You would also require a GFCI or GFI outlet if you plan to locate the microwave outdoors, on your kitchen countertop, garage, utility sink, near the laundry, wet bar sink, or close to a swimming pool.  

Conclusion

How many volts does a microwave use? You can see we have provided a detailed response to that. 

So, when buying a microwave, consider the power rating. How many watts is the microwave? You need to know this. And keep in mind that the higher the wattage, the more power the microwave would consume. That also means an increase in your energy bill.    

Another essential thing to note is using the proper outlet. By doing so, your microwave might last longer and function well. 

So, endeavor to protect your appliance. Use the proper outlet and abide by the instructions given by the manufacturer. Remember that it is not advisable to use an extension cord on a microwave. 

But if that’s the only option you have, endeavor to use an ideal extension cord. The extension cord should be able to handle the power demand of the oven.  

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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