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How do I Remove an Over the Range Microwave?

It’s hard enough to install an over the range microwave. You would think it is pretty easy to take it down, right? It’s actually not that simple. You have to make sure you take safety precautions since you are dealing with electric. You are also going to have to undo all the work you did when you installed the microwave.

This article will discuss the easiest and safest way to remove an over the range microwave. It won’t involve a ton of tools and it shouldn’t take more than a couple hours. It is a good idea to have a friend there in case you need help. You will have to hold the appliance when you are dislodging some of the components.

Turn off Main Power Source

It goes without saying that it is best to do this project during the day. You are going to need to disconnect the power. You don’t want to uninstall this appliance in the dark or with a flashlight. So, the first thing you want to do is turn off the main circuit breaker.

Unplug the Over the Range Microwave

The next step is just as easy as the first. You want to unplug the microwave. Just pull it right out of the electrical outlet. When you installed the microwave, you should have ensured the outlet is reachable. If it is not, you will need to call an electrician to safely do this for you.

Remove the Screws at the Bottom of the Cabinet

When you installed your over the range microwave, you had to drill holes into the bottom of your cabinet so that you could affix the microwave to the cabinet. Now, you need to do the reverse. Use a drill and screwdriver bit to remove the screws from the bottom of the cabinet. Make sure someone is holding the microwave when you do this. Otherwise, it will drop to the floor. This can hurt you and damage the appliance.

Now you Want to Remove the Mounting Bracket

Now it’s time to remove the mounting bracket. You will use the same electric screwdriver and drill bit to take the screws out of the mounting bracket. Once it is off, put it to the side. Unless you are putting up a new microwave, you won’t need this at the moment.

Remove the Microwave

Now that the mounting plate is off the wall, you are just about done. You can now place the microwave on the counter of floor. Your old over the range microwave is officially uninstalled.

Disposing of an Old Microwave

Now that you got your old over the range microwave down, you need to know what to do with it. Different counties and municipalities have different rules about how to dispose of appliances. You don’t want to end up with a fine that cost as much as the microwave did!

Here is how to dispose of a microwave:

  • You are not allowed to throw a microwave out in the regular trash. They take up a lot of space and are therefore not part of normal trash pick-up. They are also dangerous to crush so they cannot safely put it in the back of the garbage truck with the rest of their trash.
  • If you leave your old microwave out on the curb despite the rules against it, you will be breaking a local ordinance. You could get fined. You may even be issued a citation which will require a court date. Fines can be one flat rate but are often assessed per day. So, the longer the appliance sits on the curb, the higher the fine is that you’ll have to pay.
  • If the microwave still works, you should donate it to a church or charity. There are even charities that will come pick it up from your house so you don’t have to bring it to them. Check your local community webpages to see which charities may be interested.
  • You may want to take the microwave to a professional recycler or appliance yard. Before you do this, however, you should check out a few things:
    • How much do they charge?
    • Will they pick it up or do you have to bring it to them?
    • Do they actually accept microwaves?
  • See if there are any local repair shops that may be interested. Even if you give it to them for free, if they can fix it they can then resell it to a family who cannot afford a brand new over the range microwave.

What to Do with the Empty Space Above your Range

So, you took down the over the range microwave. You’ve even gone through the proper steps of disposing of it. Now you have a glaring empty space above your stove. What are you supposed to do now?

There are some interesting ideas out there for how to utilize this space. Here are just a few ideas to fill that empty, dark space:

  • Put in a faux window – you can put a picture behind it so it looks like the window actually looks out over a pretty scene
  • Build a shelf – you can use this shelf to put all of your cookbooks
  • Install a cool new spice rack – rather than waste the space, why not build a unique, one of a kind spice rack?
  • Install a cool new backsplash or hood. You can have it match the rest of the kitchen. Or, if the timing is right, redo your whole kitchen!
  • Install shelves to house a new herb garden – what better place to grow fresh herbs you can use in your culinary delights!

Now that your old over the range microwave is uninstalled, you can decide if you want to install a new one. If not, you can take advantage of some of the brilliant ideas listed here to fill in the spot where the over the range microwave once stood.

As much as microwaves take up a good amount of counter space, it is really a personal preference. Some people love the convenience of having an over the range microwave. Others would rather have the microwave on the counter where it can be moved, easily cleaned and replaced.

If you have already installed an over the range microwave, you know that it really isn’t all that difficult. And now you see just how easy it is to uninstall one. Even if you’re not a do-it-yourself kind of person, you can handle these types of jobs. They don’t take a lot of time and you don’t need any special tools. You probably have all the tools you need in the house already.

Colin Matthews

Colin Matthews

Colin is an aspiring chef having completing his degree in culinary arts in California. His guilty pleasure is buying the latest & greatest (and sometimes, useless) in kitchen cookware and gadgets.

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