Can Dishwasher And Microwave Be On Same Circuit?

Categorized as Microwave Repair and Troubleshooting
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The kitchen is the heart of every home – where families gather, meals are prepared, and major appliances work hard to make our lives easier. Two of the most used appliances are dishwashers and microwaves. But can these essential appliances safely share the same electrical circuit? Let’s find out.

Key Takeaways

  1. Dishwashers and microwaves have similar peak electrical demands of around 15-20 amps.
  2. Sharing a circuit is possible but not ideal – separate 20-amp circuits are recommended for safety and performance.
  3. If unable to separate circuits, use power monitoring and don’t run both appliances simultaneously.
  4. Additional electrical loads should not be added to a shared dishwasher/microwave circuit.
  5. Never install appliance outlets near water – keep electrical connections dry.

Powering your kitchen safely and efficiently starts with understanding dishwasher and microwave electrical needs. While using a shared circuit is an option, separate circuits provide the best benefits for optimal function, safety and future flexibility. Careful planning of your kitchen’s electrical layout will ensure peak appliance performance and peace of mind.

How Electrical Circuits Work

Before we dive into the specifics, it’s helpful to understand how electrical circuits function in your home. The electrical panel is the main distribution center that divides power into individual circuits running throughout the house. Standard breakers are designed to trip and shut off power if a circuit gets overloaded and overheats.

Each circuit has a set capacity, measured in amps, that determines the maximum amount of electricity it can handle. Exceeding that capacity by running too many appliances will trip the breaker. It’s essential to balance your electrical loads appropriately and not push a circuit beyond its limits.

Dishwasher Electrical Load

When selecting a circuit for your dishwasher, the first question is – how many amps does it require? Dishwashers have varying power demands depending on the cycle.

Here are the typical electrical requirements for dishwashers:

Dishwasher PhaseAverage Amps Used
Starting6-8 amps
Washing4-6 amps
Heating12-15 amps
Peak15-20 amps

Most standard household circuits are either 15 or 20 amps. While a 15-amp circuit may work, a 20-amp dedicated circuit is recommended for a dishwasher to avoid tripping breakers during peak demand.

Microwave Electrical Load

Next, let’s look at the power needs for a typical microwave oven:

Microwave PhaseAverage Amps Used
Starting7-10 amps
Cooking12-15 amps
Peak20 amps

Microwaves require similar electrical capacity to dishwashers. A 120-volt, 20-amp kitchen circuit is also ideal for powering a microwave safely.

Can They Share a Circuit?

Based on the amperage requirements outlined above, is it possible for a dishwasher and microwave to coexist on the same circuit? Technically, yes – if the circuit is rated for 20 amps. However, there are a few important considerations:

  • Simultaneous Use: Running the dishwasher and microwave at the same time could easily exceed the 20-amp capacity and trip the breaker, especially during peak heating cycles. It’s best to avoid concurrent operation.
  • Safety: An overloaded circuit can overheat wires behind walls, creating fire hazards. For maximum safety, separate circuits are ideal.
  • Performance: When sharing a circuit, each appliance has less available power capacity. This can lead to longer run times and disappointing performance. Dedicated circuits allow optimal speed and function.
  • Future Expansion: Additional kitchen appliances added down the road will further strain a shared circuit. It provides less flexibility for renovations or upgrades.


While using a dishwasher and microwave on the same 20-amp circuit is possible, it’s not the ideal setup. Here are some best practice recommendations:

  • Separate Circuits: Installing the dishwasher and microwave on individual 15 or 20-amp circuits is safest and provides the best performance. This avoids overload risks and allows simultaneous use.
  • Amperage Check: If unable to separate, verify the circuit is 20-amps and use power monitoring to ensure the combined load stays under the limit, especially when both operate at once.
  • One Appliance at a Time: Only run the dishwasher OR microwave, not both at the same time. Take turns to prevent exceeding capacity.
  • No Extra Load: Avoid adding any other high-power appliances like ovens or air fryers to the same circuit.
  • Location Matters: Never install electrical outlets for appliances under the sink or too close to water sources. Keep all connections dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a dishwasher and microwave share a 15 amp circuit?

It’s not recommended. A 15 amp circuit likely won’t provide enough power for both appliances, especially when running simultaneously. Best practice is separate 20 amp circuits.

What problems can occur from a shared circuit?

Potential issues include tripped breakers, appliance performance problems, overheated wires leading to fire risks, and limited capacity for upgrades.

Can I use a microwave and dishwasher in the same 20 amp circuit if I don’t use them at the same time?

Yes, but this requires discipline to never run simultaneously. It also leaves no room for adding more appliances later. Separate circuits are better for performance and expansion capability.

What should I do if my microwave and dishwasher are already on the same 15 amp circuit?

Consult an electrician about upgrading to a 20 amp circuit or installing a dedicated 20 amp circuit for each appliance. Limit simultaneous use in the meantime.

Why can’t I install a dishwasher electrical outlet under the sink?

Dishwasher connections should never be near water sources like under a sink. Moisture can lead to electrical shorts and increase shock/fire risks. Install in dry areas only.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!

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