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Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4286
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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We have 15 amp circuit breakers in the kitchen, our new microwave

Resolved Question:

We have 15 amp circuit breakers in the kitchen, our new microwave oven requires 20 amps---how do we change from 15 to 20?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 7 years ago.
Hello. Your best option is to have a dedicated circuit installed, just for the microwave. In order to legally connect the existing circuit to a 20 amp breaker, the wire has to be upsized from #14 to #12. That is more work than installing a new 20 amp circuit (#12 wire) for the microwave.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
How do you do that?
Expert:  Jason replied 7 years ago.
How far is the electrical panel from the microwave?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
About 20 feet
Expert:  Jason replied 7 years ago.
Are they on the same floor? In other words, is the electrical panel located in a basement, with the microwave on the main floor?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, we don't have a basement---all is on the first floor---we have a small bathroom just off our kitchen and that is where the circuit breaker is located
Expert:  Jason replied 7 years ago.
Is there an attic space above the ceiling?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes. there is crawl space under the house---it is a 2 story town house----on the second floor there is access to a crawl space in the attic
Expert:  Jason replied 7 years ago.
Okay. It sounds like you could route the wire either direction from the electrical panel, UP into the attic, or DOWN into the crawl space. You will need the following items:

50' of 12-2 w/ground romex (which will have a yellow outer covering)

a single pole 20 amp breaker that matches the brand of your electrical panel (there may already be a spare breaker in the panel)

a cut-in electrical box (single gang, meaning it will only contain 1 outlet)

a standard outlet that matches the configuration of the prongs on the plug for the microwave

a faceplate for the outlet

You will need to route the new wire into the breaker panel from above or below the panel, through the inside of the wall. The white wire connects to the neutral bar, where all of the other white wires are connected. The black wire connects to the new breaker. The bare wire connects to the ground bar, where all of the other bare wires are connected.

At the other end, you have to cut a hole in the drywall to accomodate the new cut-in outlet box. Before installing the box, you have to get the wire to the hole you cut for the box, by chasing it through the wall from above or below. You will likely have to drill a hole in the top plate of the wall (from the attic) above the new outlet, if you choose to route the new wire through the attic.

Once the box is installed in the hole you cut behind the microwave, and the new wire is in the box, strip off the outer jacket, and connect the black wire to the gold screw, the white wire to the silver screw, and the bare wire to the green screw on the new outlet. You need a romex connector for the electrical panel, to put the new wire through. Your local home improvement store will know what all of the items are, so they can sell you the proper parts. If you need to see pictures of any of the parts, let me know.

It may not be a bad idea to print out this answer, and highlight the parts list, and take it with you to the store.

Jason and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jason replied 7 years ago.
If you choose to route the new wire down into the crawl space from the electrical panel, you should drill holes in any floor joists you have to cross with the wire. You will likely see other wires installed this way, and you may be able to use existing holes.