How To Remove An Over The Range Microwave

It's time to renovate the kitchen! Or, maybe you got tired of the over-the-range microwave. Whatever the case, you want to remove it from your kitchen. But, how do we go about doing that? If that's what you're wondering how to do, let's find out!

The process to remove an over-the-range microwave is simple. After all, an over-the-range microwave is designed to come out easily. However, the appliance is a heavy one. So, you'll most likely need someone to lend you a hand. To remove it, you'll have to:

  • First, locate the wall receptacle. Unplug the cord.
  • Then, find the mounting screws. Use a drill to unscrew them.
  • Dismount the microwave by tilting the front down.
  • Carefully take down the microwave with help if needed. 

The steps above cover the general idea of removing an over-the-range microwave. Of course, it won't always be this simple. There might be some obstacles along the way. In either case, there might be some additional information you might want to know. If you'd like to find out more, keep reading ahead.

A modern kitchen counter with gas oven and microwave, How To Remove An Over The Range Microwave

How Long Does It Take To Replace an Over the Range Microwave?

Before you get to do the task, you might be wondering, how long does it take to replace an over-the-range microwave? The job might take too long that it interferes with your plans. Or, maybe you have a busy schedule, and you have to set a time to do it.

Regardless, removing the microwave shouldn't take too long. At most, it could take about an hour to finish. It could take more or less depending on how efficiently you and your partner work together. Seeing that the microwave is heavy, safety should be your main concern. So, you should expect to take about half an hour or more to finish the job.

Appliance technician installing a microwave

Removing the Microwave

Since we know the timeframe it will take to remove the microwave, it's time to get to business! 

Taking Measurements

This first step is an optional one. If you're planning to replace an existing microwave, take some careful measurements beforehand. Record how much space the current one takes up. This measurement is crucial because some manufacturers require you to have a certain amount of clearance. 

You don't want the microwave to be too close to the range. There should be 30 inches of space between the top of the range and the bottom of the cabinet. In general, the bottom of the microwave should be at least 13-1/2 inches above the top of the range. Regardless, check the manufacturer's directions for an adequate amount of clearance. 

Locate the Wall Receptacle

First, you'll need to look for where the microwave is plugged in. In most cases, the wall receptacle would be located in the cabinet above. Unplug the cord and route it through the hole at the bottom. 

Remove the Mounting Screws

Next, locate the mounting screws. They should be present at the bottom of the cabinet above the microwave. In general, there should be two or three mounting screws. Before unscrewing them, have someone support the microwave. This way, it won't fall and cause accidental damage. 

Now, remove the screws. 

Dismount the Microwave

It's time to remove the unit altogether. Though, you can't do it by just pulling it. You'll have to tilt the microwave forward to dismount it from the mounting bracket. If your microwave is located over a shelf, open the microwave and tip it forward through the back. 

Depending on the model, tilting the microwave forward might not be enough to dismount it. Some may have holding rods to guarantee it won't fall off. So, it is best to consult the microwave's instruction manual on how to dismount the unit in this case. 

Carefully Take Down the Microwave

You can set the microwave aside on the floor or a counter. If you wish, you can also remove the mounting bracket to finish the job. One quick thing to note, if you're planning to replace the existing microwave with one of the same brands, you might be able to reuse the same mounting bracket. 

From here, you can choose to do whatever you want. You can fill the holes with a drywall-joint compound. Paint the wall if you're not going to replace the microwave with a new one. 

With the microwave freshly removed, there are more options you can install to fill in the space. Maybe it's time to bring back the range hood. Or, you can install a pot filler to add more convenience to the kitchen. Whatever the case, you're free to install anything you'd like in place of the microwave! 

Does an Over the Range Microwave Need To Be Vented?

Modern gray, brown neutral kitchen features front cabinets with granite countertops and tile backsplash

Of course, if you're installing an over-the-range microwave, you're giving up a range hood in its place. Range hoods are essential for improving the air quality in the kitchen. They remove odors, grease, and other pollutants that are present when you cook. That begs the question, should an over-the-range microwave be vented? 

This time, it depends on your preference. Or, as some suggest, it's determined by the construction of your home. Let's take a look at the options. 

Recirculating Ventilation

In any case, venting the microwaving can be an optional choice. Some microwaves come with recirculating ventilation. It works by drawing in the pollutants that cooking produces and filtering them through a charcoal filter.

After removing the pollutants, it recirculates the air back into the kitchen. Though, this option isn't the best to go for if you prioritize clean air. 

Although it's not efficient, it still provides cleaner air than what was produced by the stove. Lastly, depending on how frequently you cook, you'll need to replace the charcoal filter every six months or so. 

Venting

If you want the best air quality, you'd need to vent the microwave. In essence, it depends on how much work you want to put forth into this. You'll need to run a series of ducts from the cabinet above the microwave to the outside. It's a time-consuming venture but for a good reason. 

All in all, it's not necessary to vent the microwave. However, you'd be better off putting in the extra work installing a duct system to get things running. 

How Much Space Do You Need for an Over the Range Microwave?

American residential home with the kitchen, dining area, and family room in a large open space

We've covered the amount of space necessary to ensure an over-the-range microwave won't encounter problems with the top of the range. In general, there should be at least 30 inches of space between the stovetop and the bottom of the cabinet. Once you add a microwave, the amount of space you need varies. It depends on the manufacturer's specifications. 

Some manufacturers may require at least 24 inches of space between the stovetop and the bottom of the microwave. Others may offer more leeway by requiring 13 inches of space. It all depends on the brand. So, if you want to distance the microwave from the stove safely, consult the instruction manual.

If you're seeking even more details on appliance spacing for your kitchen, we also covered this question in depth. To find out more, check out our post here

Can You Mount Any Microwave Over a Range?

Microwave on timer

If you're thinking about saving costs, you might be wondering if you can mount any microwave over a range. While it might seem like a good idea, it won't turn out well. Countertop microwaves are designed to do just that, exist on a countertop. Essentially, it means that it doesn't have the design necessary to work successfully over a range. 

The Disadvantages

As mentioned above, above-the-range microwaves do double duty. They can act as range vents by working with a series of ducts. Or, they can use a recirculation system that filters air through a charcoal filter. Standard microwaves don't have these benefits. 

So, if you were to install a standard unit over the range, you'd need to find a way to vent it. Additionally, over-the-range ovens come with mounting brackets. It's another aspect you'll have to account for if you decide to mount a countertop microwave.

Lastly, the build of a countertop microwave will likely not withstand the heat from the range. You might end up with damage on the bottom of it. As other users suggest, steam and grease will move into your countertop microwave instead of filtering the pollutants.

Likewise, you wouldn't use an over-the-range microwave as a countertop unit. Their design is not aimed at being used that way. So, it's best to use different microwaves for their intended purpose. 

Final Takeaway

While over-the-range microwaves might look nice, sometimes the appeal fades. In this situation, we should figure out how to remove it as safely as possible. This way, we can ensure there's no damage to surrounding cabinets or appliances. We hope you found the information above insightful! 

Before you go, you might want some ideas on how to fill in the space. If you're considering getting a pot filler, you should figure out how high it should be from the floor. To find out more, check out our post here. Until next time!

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