Can I use a 14/3 extension cord with a 16/3 wired microwave???

kas81057January 20, 2008

We have almost finished a kitchen reno.

My old kitchen had an OTR Advantium Microwave which I could not part with but also did not want to use as OTR.

We pulled the unit and have it on a cart and sometime soon my DB(my contractor) will be building a box for it to be

covered by for aesthics. A dedicated outlet was installed at the location BUT after putting the micro in place the cord didn't reach; we never thought to measure the length of it.

For now I am able to plug into the outlet that is in a recessed niche that is for my TV but this is above the microwave so will not work once the box is built, besides being unsightly.

My DB say he would just rewire it but I figured I'd see about a heavy duty extension cord instead. I found one that says it is for AC's but it is 14/3 wired and the micro is 16/3 wire.

Will this be ok?

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It is always ok to use bigger wire, which is indicated by a smaller guage number (isn't the world logical?). I.e., the #14 extension cord is bigger than #16 and so is more capable of carrying the current drawn by a load.

The load (microwave) basically draws as much as it needs regardless of the wire, and too small a wire size would overheat. The circuit breaker should trip if the load tries to draw too much. Manufacturers are allowed to use #16 when they design and test equipment to make sure it is safe, so it is ok if they installed #16 coming out of the microwave The smallest wire allowed to be put in house walls is #14, in order to avoid overheating with maximum loads on a 15 amp circuit breaker.

It is a good idea to use heavy extension cords when they are needed for temporary situations. Code prohibits "permanent" use of extension cords in place of fixed wiring.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 11:17AM
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Thanks billhart; knew that someone would point out the "permanent" thing.

Will see about him wiring it for a permanent fix but in the mean time will use the extension so we lose the add'l hideous cord running up the wall(the situation will still be hideous since the top of the microwave is unfinished but that will be done...).

Wasn't sure which was "larger", thought it was the way you described but wanted to be 100%.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 11:31AM
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