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How to Install an Over the Range Microwave in 10 Easy Steps

A lot of kitchens now sport an over the range microwave. It saves counter space and it makes it very convenient for the cook. If you’ve already bought your new microwave, you should be ready to install it. Let’s hope you measured the space above your range so you are confident the microwave will fit. Believe it or not, this is the biggest mistake consumers make when buying an over the range microwave. They but one that is too large to fit in the available space. We’re going to assume you didn’t make this mistake!

You could call an appliance pro to come in and install the microwave for you. Or you could call one of your kids or brothers to come do it for you. But wouldn’t it feel good to do it yourself? We’ll go over the tools you’ll need and break the process down in clear, easy steps. You’ll be surprised just how easy it is.

If at any point, however, you do feel uncomfortable or that you’re in over your head, stop. You don’t want to do something that you can’t undo. If you need to call an electrician or HVAC professional, do it. It is more important to be safe than independent.

What Tools will You Need?

If you are going to try to install the microwave yourself, you are going to need a handful of tools and one trusted friend to help you. We can give you a list of the tools, but you have to find the friend all on your own.  Make sure you have the following tools in your house before you start installing your new over the range microwave.

  • Electric stud finder of hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Toggle bolts or screws
  • Wrench
  • Insulation
  • Drill

If you don’t have any of these tools, grab them before you set to work. If you aren’t comfortable working with these tools, call a professional or find a friend who is willing to help. It should take about 2 hours to do the job.

1.      Make sure the manufacturer sent all the parts and instructions.

So, you made sure the microwave fits but did you make sure it came with all its parts?  Did you check to make sure the instructions are in the box? Hopefully, they are. You want to make sure the microwave came with all the part listed in the instructions. You want to read through the instructions. If it requires you to do something you are not familiar with or is too difficult for you to do, call a professional now. Don’t wait until you’re halfway through the project and find out you are stuck.

2.      Make sure there is an electrical outlet

Your microwave will come with a short power cord. There should be an outlet in the cabinet over your range to plug this into. When houses are built these days, they take into account the fact that you may want to install an over the range microwave. Make sure the outlet is there and that the cord reaches. If the outlet is not there, call an electrician. They will have to connect electricity to a new outlet close enough for you to plug the microwave into. There is nothing else you can do until you know you can plug the unit in.

3.      Arrange the setting

It is important that your microwave is installed in exactly the right sport. It needs to be a certain distance from both the floor and the stove. You need to measure to make sure you can install the microwave at the perfect height. Use a tape measure. Check to see that there is no more than 54 inches from the bottom of the microwave to the floor. There should also be 20 inches between the bottom of the microwave and the top of the range. If for some reason you cannot set it just right, you may have ordered the wrong size microwave. You can check the instructions again or call an electrician or appliance professional. Do not install the microwave if you don’t have the room to do so.

4.      Check the ventilation

It is really important that your over the range microwave have proper ventilation. Both your range and microwave are going to ultimately ventilate to the outside. The vent should already be in the wall. If it isn’t, you can have one installed. If you’re good at drywall repair, you can do this yourself. If not, call a professional.

5.      Reframe the cabinets if necessary

You need to have a cabinet to hang the microwave from. If you don’t have one in place, you’ll have to either reframe your cabinets or put in a new one. If you have to do this yourself, your microwave should have come with a framing template. If you need to reframe, follow the following steps:

  • Put the framing template where you want it to be
  • Remove the drywall and pull out the insulation
  • Secure 2 x 4 between the wall studs
  • Fill in empty space with new insulation

6.      Get ready to mount the hardware

You will need a mounting plate. It attaches to the wall and then bolts into the cabinet so it can hold the heavy microwave. If you don’t already have one, there should be on in the box. Place the template on the wall – it should tell you where to put the hardware. Use a level to make sure the template is level.

7.      Find a stud in the wall and drill holes in the template.

You need to make sure there is at least one stud in the wall. Use an electronic stud finder or gently tap on the wall with a hammer. If you can’t find one, call a contractor to take care of this for you. Over the range microwaves are usually affixed using toggle bolts. Pre-drill the holes for these bolts.  It will make your job easier. If you’re using a wall plate, install the hardware per the instructions.

8.      Set the microwave into position and plug it in

It’s now time to put the microwave into its new home. You need to get this right the first time. Since the microwave is a bit heavy, you will want someone to help you with this. You will need a friend to help hold the microwave up to do this. Push the microwave up and bring it up to the bottom of your cabinet. Have your friend hold it in place for now. Feed the power cord through the hole in the cabinet leading to the outlet. Plug the cord in but don’t turn the power on yet.

9.      Thread bolts through the bottom of the cabinet and connect the blower.

The bottom of the cabinet has to be prepared as well. You will need to drill holes into the bottom of the cabinet. You have to do this in the exact right spots so they line up with microwave. You may want to have the same friend help you with this part. You want holes that are about 3/8” in diameter. You will need to drill a separate hole for the electrical cord. The ideal size for this is about 1 and 3/8 “.

10. Test the microwave

You are finally ready to turn the power on and see if your microwave works. Once the power is back on, try to use the microwave. If your over the range microwave works, great!  Start heating up your favorite foods. Test out some new microwave recipes you have been waiting to try.

If your over the range microwave doesn’t work, you want to do one of two things:

  • Review the steps above and see if you missed something. Retrace your steps. If you figure out what step you missed, go back and do that step.
  • If you have checked the steps above and can’t find out what you’re missing, call a professional. It is sometimes better to be safe than it is to try to figure it out yourself.

You now have your brand new over the range microwave installed and ready to use. You may have been intimidated when you started this project. However, you followed the ten steps and now your microwave is safely secured and ready to cook!

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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