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Microwave Over Range


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Hi,

Our kitchen redesign is finally starting to gain traction. We've gotten contractors to call us back, and now we're starting to make some decisions on how it will look. I'll post photos once things get underway.

The kitchen footprint is very small, and given its orientation (and our budget) putting in a full vent hood is not an option. I'm fine with that and I'll put in a recirculating vent. One, slightly irritating, discussion we keep having is that people keep asking us "where will the microwave go?" to the point where I think the microwave lobby is paying people to say that to us.

We don't really use microwaves (we don't have one now), but I acknowledge that once we have kids and when we decide to sell the house, a microwave would be helpful. So its going into the design. Fine.

My wife wants to put it over the stove. I think this is kind of ugly and slightly impractical and want to put it elsewhere. Am I being insane? Putting it elsewhere might mean less counterspace (which is a premium in this scenario) How are people's experiences with over-the-range microwaves?

Thanks

s

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I personally don't have a microwave above my stove, but my grandmother does. When I cook at her house, it is mildly annoying to use it when simmering pots of liquid or things are sauteing in oil are on the stovetop at the same time. That being said, if counter space is an issue, I wouldn't think twice about putting it above the stove.

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I put it above the stove for precisely the space issue and have not found it to be problematic. Frankly, I find it much more efficient than the old hood and with its combined functions of storage (when not in use), light, venting and actual cooking, much more multipurpose.

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I don't think you are being insane. If you don't use them, maybe having one in "premium" space in the kitchen would not be a first choice for you.

I can't speak from personal experience to the benefits of over the range, since I don't like anything over the range space other than necessary ventillation. If I can bump my head on it, it usually gashes my head, so I design defensively. I like more room over the range so I don't peel back my scalp. I'm balding, and everything that impinges on that volume of space tends to leave me with a big scar and a foul mood. Range hoods get installed higher than standard for me. Ditto wall cabs.

There are options. Can you find wall space to build it in? Can it go under counter? Could it go on one of those lift bracket thingies that usually are employed for stand mixers? Can it go in a closet in or adjacent to the kitchen? Can it go on a cart you roll out when needed?

Best,

C

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I'd put it somewhere else, but built-in if you can. Often people with separate built-in ovens will have the microwave on top of the "oven stack."

The problem with putting it over the stove, IMO, is that since you have a recirculating hood, you will be guaranteed to get kitchen grease all over the microwave.

--

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DO NOT DO IT. I absolutely hate mine. You can actually get decent squirrel cage recirculating hood that are relatively inexpensive. I put one in at my previous house. The vent I have now in my over the range microwave is totally useless. When I redo my kitchen, it is gone. I have two kids (2 and 5) and a microwave is handy. One thing I am considering on redo, is creating a space below the counters to house an inexpensive MW. Either that or adding an outlet in a pantry and putting it in there.

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I kind of like have having a microwave above the range. We have an electric range, so there aren't too many flames and the ventilation system built into the microwave works beautifully. We are lucky enough to have one of those fancy microwaves that can act as a convection oven. So I will put that at a low temp, and use it to store food. It really works great in that manner.

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Look at this logically,

1) You don't have any counter space and

2) You're already not putting in a full hood.

It just seems to me the best place for it would be above the range. And there is no reason why it needs to be ugly. It is only as ugly as you allow it to be.

And, to me, it seems like the most practical use of space.

As for kitchen grease? To a certain degree, kitchen grease gets everywhere. Considering most microwaves are large rectangular blocks of plastic, its not as if they are a difficult appliance to keep clean. And hitting your head on it? Really? Are you hovering over your range? I'm trying to imagine how it's even possible to hit your head on a microwave.

I'm going to have to agree with your wife on this one.

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I put it above the stove for precisely the space issue and have not found it to be problematic.  Frankly, I find it much more efficient than the old hood and with its combined functions of storage (when not in use), light, venting and actual cooking, much more multipurpose.

I agree!! We redid out kitchen in Nov 2007 and didnt have the space( or $$) for a big honking range/hood combo. We got an over the range microwave and had IT VENTED TO THE OUTSIDE. I think thats the import part right there. Its worked really well for us.

Here is a pic before we installed the backsplash.

gallery_25969_665_148263.jpg

eta: pic

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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I have one installed at the cottage over the range, and my old house had one as well. I think Cali is correct, and it must be vented to the outside. They don't stick out anymore, especially with cabinets on either side, and they do come in handy for venting smoke out etc.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I am going against the majority and vote for over the range. I had it at my old house and it never felt in the way. The model I had also doubled as a small convection oven. The oven function kept temperature and handled sheet pans and casseroles with ease. Thanksgivings were even easier with this function. 3 birds with one stone... not bad.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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My grandmother had one installed in the late '80s and being an Italian grandmother she cooked a lot of pasta

After about a year of that tall pot of boiling water under there the display of the microwave got kind of crazy, showing partial or random images sometimes.

Perhaps old technology, perhaps way too much steam, but she also had a Jen-Air with a downdraft vent under it....

tracey

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Maxine

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I am short I hated it and my shirt caught on fire

so I would give up the microwave before I would do that again

but again I am short so it was totally not workable

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I have installed 2 of them. the first was in a kitchen I built for some folks about 10 years ago. It was a royal PITA to get the ductwork right. and you also lose space in the cabinet above it.

I did put one in my rental and, every one seems to like it.

I would not have one for my personal use...

Bud

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My friend with a very small kitchen included a microwave/convection oven/hood that vents to the outside over her induction cooktop. She uses the microwave to steam vegetables and fish, and even to bake. It came with a sweet steamer basket. (KitchenAid Red.)

Her kitchen is low end panel, sink base with a generous single sink, 18" dishwasher, corner unit with lazy susan, cooktop base with drawers below, 24" oven in next base unit, 24" fully integrated refrigerator, space between the tall end panel and window wall (houses her trash can and recycling boxes above on simple shelves.)

She has one wall of stacked uppers (with integrated lights) surrounding the microwave. Looks good and functions well for her. A step stool is important. She's less that 5'4" tall.

If you are getting permits for the job, venting to the outside may be required. Her microwave has an option for recirc or vent to the outside.

Happy renovation!

Edited by tsquare (log)
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My two cents...

The original kitchen had the microwave/vent over the range and I HATED it. For one thing, the vent was completely underpowered for my gas cook top. For another, anyone who wanted to warm up a snack (the only reason the microwave gets used in my house as I don't cook in it) while I was cooking had to get in my space. For a third, it was way too high up for my son, the primary snack-heater in the house and I really didn't want my 8-year-old leaning over a lit cooktop anyway. For a fourth, I think microwaves are pretty close disposable--at least they're not the longest-lasting of your kitchen appliances and to install one in a cabinet specifically sized for an appliance that will likely have to be replaced long before the kitchen needs to be redone seems like borrowing trouble to me. And last, but not least, I think microwaves are ugly (though Cali's kitchen is beautiful).

Our solution was to buy a cheap, stand-alone microwave and stash it in a panty cupboard. We had outlets added to the pantry cabinets for just this purpose. Now it's behind closed doors when it's not being used, it's at the right height for my son to access, and it's out of my way. And when it fails, we'll just buy another one and won't have to worry about what size it is.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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How are people's experiences with over-the-range microwaves?

When I moved in to my house the microwave was mounted over a radiant electric cooktop, and recirculating. The vent function was effectively useless; just blowing steam and smoke back into the room. After I added ducting and switched the unit to vent externally, I now use the vent function more often than not. (In fact, I now grill fajitas indoors on cast iron. Even though this produces quite a lot of smoke, it all goes up and out. I tried that... half of one time when the vent was recirculating.)

If you want a gas cooktop, I think you need many more CFMs than an over-the-cooktop unit can provide. I think I recall that these units typically provide something like 300 CFM of ventillation, whereas you want double or more that for gas. (That's just from memory, I'm sure someone will correct me if my recollection is skewed.)

My over-the-cooktop unit sucks in air both from the bottom surface as well as from "registers" along the top of the front. This means that steam/oil vapor drifts up along the face of the unit, since the unit doesn't extend out to the edge of the cooktop/counter. So, grease does build up on the microwave, and has to be periodically wiped away with strong soap. I find this necessary about as frequently as I clean the inside of the microwave, which is to say, "ocassionally".

Also, if you're boiling something like crazy, producing large amounts of steam, and you don't want to run the vent, for whatever reason (somebody sleeping?), steam can build up on the (greasy) face of the unit and drip back down... potentially into whatever you're cooking (yuck)... So keep a towel handy if you're cooking in stealth mode.

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Not quite on topic, but if you're going to get a microwave, get a micro/convection oven combo. At least then if you use the microwave so much, you'll have a second oven (which will be great around holidays or if you doing huge batches of cookies, etc.).

I'd avoid the over-the-stove scenario, but I fry (pan fry or deep) relatively often, and since I'm not an avid cleaner, I'm sure grease residue will build up on the microwave in no time.

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My mother had one installed about the same height as an over the range one and one time was severely burned on her arm when the saran wrap on a dish came loose and the steam escaped. She regretted having it installed so high.

We have one on a shelf under the counter. It's convenient to use, and if it dies, it's easy to replace.

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  • 9 years later...

Hi, forum!

I have two little children and the question of where to put the microwave was very acute. I did not know how to install microwave more safety. I read different home appliance reviews and found there an idea - put it in the closet for the saucepans and closed the door so that the children could not access it. But later I realized that it is very convenient and practical. And I advise you to try this method.

Edited by James0612 (log)
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