Install an over-the-range microwave oven

Installing an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

by Michael Chotiner
( Technical diagrams courtesy Whirlpool Corporation )

Like all disruptive technologies, microwave cook is controversial. Most people do n’t actually understand how microwave exercise or how to use all of their available features. An calculate 90 % of families in the U.S. use microwaves to cook and/or reheat foods, however this handy appliance continues to take flak catcher from chefs and foodies.

I can speak to some other contentious issues with authority : many folks want built-in microwaves rather than freestanding models, to save available counter space, but installers complain that the available sizes of microwave ovens do n’t actually correspond to the typical dimensions of neckcloth cabinets and other objects that must be coordinated in kitchen layouts, so it ‘s often difficult to line things up for seamless ocular effect without filler panels and other contrivances .

Size Matters!

Microwave ovens designed for use by consumers are available in three size classes : Compact, Mid-size and Full Size .

While the size of a microwave oven expressed in cubic feet gives you an estimate of whether it ‘s excessively little for much more than heating up a cup of coffee bean or big adequate to roast a turkey, it tells you nothing about the overall width, altitude and astuteness of the appliance — authoritative to know if you ‘re planning to build-in. Pro installers complain that many specification sheets purporting to give the overall dimensions do so inaccurately. I know one contractor who wo n’t start to build a microwave cabinet until he has the actual unit in bridge player .
If you look at all of the available variants of microwave ovens on the market in terms of width, altitude and depth, you ‘ll see that there very are no standard sizes, but microwaves designed for over-the-range installation all fit into a 30-in. wide-eyed space .

The Over-The-Range Microwave Option

purpose-built microwaves are available with handy kits for installing them over a scope, but OTR installations are n’t constantly simple. here are some issues to consider :
ventilation : All microwave ovens have a built-in electric fan for a recirculating discharge system. Most microwaves designed for over-the-range facility offer two more options for venting to the outdoors : The cetacean can be positioned to direct exhaust air up and out through the roof via ductwork above the unit or horizontally through ductwork in the wall behind the whole. While microwaves themselves do n’t need venting to the outdoors, when they ‘re installed over a range or cooktop, vents for carrying odors, moisture and grease from conventional cooking out through the roof or an outside wall should be provided, if possible .
Installed height : For safety and appliance, you do n’t want to install an OTR microwave excessively high. The National Kitchen and Bath Association says that the bottom of the microwave to be no higher than 54 inches off the floor. If anyone likely to use the microwave is shorter than, say 5’4 ”, tied the recommended standard might be uncomfortably high .
clearance between stovetop and bottom of microwave : build codes and other standards are inconsistent on the allowed headroom between a stove crown and anything above it. At least one existing rule allows a minimum of 13 inches, but pro installers and others who know their way around kitchens argue that there should be 20 to 24 inches of clearance above the stave top .
( A note from NH : I received a note on this altitude offspring from a reader therefore some clarification is necessary. Both height locations are general recommendations .
The stature above the floor is to accommodate people of respective heights to be able to comfortably use the microwave and read the display. The distance above the stove top is 1 ) to allow for the widest range of kitchen pots and pans and besides to allow full moon visibility of the range top to all but the tallest people and 2 ) to accommodate the normal distance that the manufacturer recommends .
There is some variability … improbable people might want the microwave installed higher ! Of run, the exceed cabinet may need to be modified or replaced in any installation if the microwave needs to be moved higher. I think the writer may have been trying to cover all bases, but in any installation I have done the first regulate of business is to use the manufacturer ‘s recommendations as to the MINIMUM distance to the cooktop. This protects the microwave from excessive heat which could be an issue with some models if mounted besides close up to the compass .
I do n’t know for sure, but the manufacturer ‘s acme recommendation might besides include an optimum acme for the exhaust winnow to have the most effect, though true above the range microwave fans in general are not a good as a firm range hood ! )

Preparation for installation

Long report short : To install an over-the-range microwave oven, you need to have enough quad between wall cabinets flanking the stove and between the cooktop and ceiling. There should be a cabinet or shelf above the point where the microwave will be installed so that you can fasten the top of the microwave to it. Most OTR microwaves are equitable under 30 in. wide ; heights vary from approximately 10 to 18 inches and depths vary from 12 to about 18 inches. You need to choose a model that allows adequate headroom above the range but can be installed at a comfortable stature.

  • Determine that the space between wall cabinets flanking the range is at least 30 inches. If the space is wider, determine about how you’ll fill the space between the sides of the installed microwave and the flanking cabinets. Some OTR microwave kits include filler strips, or you can order filler panels that match your cabinets from the manufacturer or a cabinet shop.
  • If a wall cabinet is present above the range, measure the distance between the top of the range and the bottom of the cabinet. Subtract 20 inches (or whatever minimum between the microwave and cooktop suits you) from that distance to determine the overall height of a microwave that will fit. You may find that you’ll need to cut down the wall cabinet or install another of suitable height before starting the microwave installation.
  • If a vented range hood is present, turn off power to the circuit by flipping the breaker, and disconnect the blower wiring. Remove the hood and determine if a suitable outlet into which you can plug the installed OTR microwave is present nearby. If not, have a professional electrician install one.

How to Install an Over-the Range Microwave Oven

All OTR microwave kits come with detail instructions. Read them before starting your installation. Most manufacturers include templates in the package. You ‘ll need these to lay out the holes that need to be bored in the wall behind the microwave and in the wall cabinet above for fasteners. In other cases there ‘s a wall plate attached to the back of the microwave that must be unscrewed from the machine and held up against the back wall to so you can mark the fastener layout .
1. Find and mark the position of at least one stud in the wall behind where the microwave will be installed.
You can try using a stud finder ( I ‘ve never had much fortune with them ), or look for fasteners inside the wall cabinets and measure in 16-inch increments over toward the wall where the microwave will be mounted. Wall studs are normally spaced 16 inches on-center, so you should be able to project the stud positions. Do n’t be afraid to probe around with your drill to make certain that you find something hearty .

Example of a wall-mounted support plate for an
over-the-range microwave installation .
2. Hold the microwave wall template in position against the wall and mark the positions of the required fasteners.
At least one of those fasteners must go into a stud ; where no stud is show, drill holes for toggle bolts. Fasten the bet on plate to the wall and check it for level and plumb. layout=”responsive” class=”ampimg-mxwidth-ctr-500″

Typical template for marking fastener locations
and cutouts on the cabinet above a microwave .
3. Position the template for the fasteners that will join the top of the microwave to the bottom shelf of the cabinet above it and make your marks.
That template should besides help you lay out the position of the opening that will need to be cut for the exhaust damper and for the microwave power cord, which will most likely plug into an release inside of that cabinet. Drill the holes and make other cutouts as needed, according to the manufacturer ‘s instructions .
4. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, orient the blower for roof, through-the-wall or recirculating venting as needed.

With the bottom binding boundary engaged in the wall documentation plate,
the microwave is rotated up to bring the top of the house up
to meet the bottom of the wall cabinet above .

The world power cord is threaded through the bottom of the cabinet
to bring it to a ground release inwardly. Bolts through the bed ledge
must be threaded through pre-drilled holes into mounting holes
in the top of the microwave .
With a helper, lift the microwave into its approximate position. Thread the exponent cord through holes in the cabinets, as needed, so it can ultimately be plugged into its receptacle. Trying not to strain or snag the office cord, tilt the microwave so you can engage the buttocks back edge with the retaining leach on the wall denture. then rotate the front end upward to get the exceed of the microwave tight against the bottomland of the upper berth cabinet. With the benefactor load-bearing, thread the bolts provided in the kit through the holes you ‘ve pre-drilled in the bottom ledge of the cabinet and into the ride holes in the top of the microwave. Use all of the fasteners recommended by the manufacturer and check the install unit of measurement for level and plumb bob .

Ductwork for outside venting can be connected to
the microwave’s blower/damper and concealed inside the cabinet.


Options for venting over-the-range microwaves to the outdoors
include through-the-roof and through-the-wall ductwork assemblies.

5.Connect the blower/damper fabrication to the ductwork with the appropriate fit — normally a 3-1/4-in. adam 10-in. rectangular-to-round conversion .
Plug ‘Er in and heat up a cup of chocolate, or soften a pint of your front-runner frost cream and eat it all up. You will have earned it. now enjoy having a microwave that ‘s out of the way however entirely convenient .
About the author:  Michael Chotiner is an adept on appliance initiation, and writes on his experiences for Home Depot. Michael ‘s appliance facility tips for microwave ovens are based on his years as a general contractor. Home Depot ‘s excerpt of microwave ovens, including models mentioned by Michael, can be viewed on its web site .