Widening cabinets to fit a OTR microwave [closed]



We'd like to install an OTR Microwave, however, our current cabinets are a bit too tall to be able to accomplish an aesthetically pleasing result. The bottom of the cabinets over the range are right at 66 inches, which is the minimum distance required. It'd leave a paltry 13.5 inches between the bottom of the OTR microwave, and that's just not acceptable.

The cabinets are a dark veneer over plywood., and I haven't seen anything remotely similar at Lowes or HD. My original thought was to just buy a shorter unit to replace the one that isn't doing what I need it to. Since I haven't found anything like that yet, I was thinking of cutting the exiting cabinet to the size I want, but then I'm concerned about it holding the weight of the microwave. Is there a way I can remove 6 inches of height from the cabinet and have it still bear the weight of an OTR microwave?

Here's a couple pictures of the work...

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I'm trying to decide on where to put our future microwave and have to let the builder know within a week.

Options are:

1) Just leave it on the counter
2) Install a microwave cabinet built into the shelves
3) Get an OTR microwave.

I'm torn.....

1) Takes up counter space and a plug.

2) I'm iffy about this because of our cabinet configuration......Has to be installed in the cabinet unit that is between the fridge and stove. In this case, the final product may look sloppy because set up will be:

Stove with hood vent sticking out (below 12" deep dabinets)----> right next to 16" deep microwave shelf sticking out below 12" deep cabinets---> right next to X" deep fridge below 12" deep cabinets (OR possible gable and possible 24" deep cabinets with counter depth fridge)

So this could mean that the hood vent, microwave shelf, cabinets above shelf, cabinets above fridge, and fridge:

-all stick out to different depths

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How-To Videos

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By: Danny Lipford

Venting an over-the-range microwave

Many times an over-the-range microwave that recirculates cooking fumes can be converted to exhaust to the outside. Here’s how to go about it:

Remove the access plate on the top of the unit in order to reach the motor. Remove the motor mounting screws on the back of the oven. Take out the motor and rotate it 90 degrees, so that the fan motor now blows upward. Attach the transition piece to connect the oven to ductwork Modify the cabinet over the stove to allow the duct to pass through by cutting holes on the top and bottom. Use a laser measuring tool to mark a dot on the ceiling that will identify the center of the hole that needs to be cut for the ductwork. Join the sections of ductwork and seal the joints with metallic tape to secure them. In the attic mark a spot directly above the duct so you can cut a hole in the roof decking and extend the vent pipe up...
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A 14-inch deep microwave stands a little proud of the nearby 12-inch upper cabs. Here are some design suggestions for deeper cabinets to bring the faces flush. April 18, 2006

I have a customer that does not like how his microwave/hood combo will stick out past standard 12" deep uppers, so I am contemplating making uppers 14.5" deep to accommodate the microwave/hood. What do you think?

Click here for full size image

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor W:
I have run into this on an installation before. Be careful with changing the depth, because the swing of the microwave door will contact the adjacent wood door. I would mock this up so you can see for yourself. The door on the microwave does not act like a concealed hinge and requires some swing.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I already measured for the door to make sure it will clear with the adjacent face frame. I'm...
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Having just done this same installation this past weekend (and also being a DIY noob), here are my comments/suggestions:

- The absolute easiest installation will be if you bought a similar sized microwave from the same manufacturer as the old. This will increase the likelihood the bottom supporting bracket and the hole patterns of the bolts that come down from the top cabinet are the same. This would allow you to simply remove the old and insert the new with little effort since you wouldn't need to monkey with drilling new holes all over the place, worry about leveling, etc.

- Unfortunately my experience tells me that OTR microwaves come in all shapes and sizes and require their own "gear". At one point, I had 3 different makes/models sitting in my kitchen (GE, Kenmore, and LG) and all three had different patterns for the bottom supporting bracket and different overhead bolt patterns. This meant we had to remove the old bracket, mount a new one at the proper height,...

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see the details and fix it. God bless you

All microwaves have some sort of a cooling fan to help keep the magnetron and controls at a tolerable level. Most OTR models will usually use the vent motor for the cooling fan also. Countertop units have a small fan behind the control panel somewhere. Either way, if the cooling fan is not working and heat builds up, it is going to open a thermostat. On some makes, this thermostat might re-set itself as soon as the temperature cools down. Other makes, you will have to replace the thermostat or fuse.

If this is your microwave oven repair problem, you will need to check the operation of the fan. Below in the component testing chart, you will see how to test the fan. Also, if possible, make sure the fan is not obstructed somehow and not turning. Also check your fan relay at your control board for voltage, if no voltage, replace control board. This fan should come on at the same time any cooking...

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Dear Chowhounds,

I am in the process of the doing a kitchen update and am pondering the the trade-offs between the extra counter space an Over-the-range (OTR) microwave yield and the superior venting we would get from a dedicated range hood.

Until now, we have only had a recirculating/filtering vent hood. (For this update we will be doing the work to add external ducting.) Considering that, and assuming I don't do a lot of deep frying or other highly odoriferous cooking, would an OTR Microwave with a 300 or 400 CFM vent make me happy or should I go with dedicated hood??

From a budgetary point of view, I am considering lower end gas ranges with convection ovens. I would like to keep the range / hood or microwave combo under $2000 or so.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Any recs on specific brands models in my price range would be welcome...

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Buying a microwave may seem like a simple task, but it's not. Buy the wrong one, and you'll lose valuable time in the kitchen and tarnish your taste buds. Alternatively, if you put a little diligence into buying the right one, you can ensure your food tastes its absolute best, and your time in the kitchen is minimized.

Microwaves generally work at peak performance for about 10 years, after which it's probably time to start looking into a new model. You may also consider replacing your current unit if the door or seal around the door has any defects, which may prevent the device from working at peak performance.

Design may be another reason to upgrade. Older microwaves can age the look of a modern kitchen, and considering that microwaves are relatively inexpensive kitchen devices, an upgrade for aesthetics alone may be worth the money. Today's microwaves are generally available in black, white, bisque, or higher-end stainless steel to match most standard kitchen...

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America’s most convenient appliance – microwave ovens seem to be an absolute necessity in today’s fast-paced world. They are currently present in at least 90% of homes in America thanks to their ability to cook and reheat foods or beverages in a simple, rapid way.The majority of people use this kitchen appliance without question and often think they are a reasonable alternative to conventional ovens for reheating or cooking. However you may want to think twice before using your microwave, as there are actually many microwave dangers you probably don’t know of.

How Using a Microwave Negatively Impacts Your Health

In short, microwave ovens are kitchen appliances which are used to cook or reheat food by emitting microwaves. Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation and are on the low energy end of the energy spectrum, second to radio waves. The waves are generated by something called a magnetron – something found within every microwave...

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By Yanic Simard, Houzz Contributor

The classic kitchen work triangle organizes foot traffic from the fridge to the sink to the stove, in an attempt to make cooking and preparing meals flow more smoothly. But what about the other major, although sometimes smaller, appliances that many of us use every day? Take the microwave, for example. You can place a microwave high, low, out of sight or within easy reach, and there are pros and cons for every choice. Here's a look at those advantages and disadvantages, so you can figure out the kitchen configuration that's right for you.

19 Kitchen Projects Every Homeowner Should Know About

1. Below the counter. Don't have much counter or upper cabinet space to spare? Consider replacing a lower drawer with a microwave cabinet.

Pros: Leaves the counter clear and the sightline open, especially when paired with airy upper shelving.

Cons: If the microwave is too low, moving dishes in and out of it can be a nuisance....

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Before saying "yes", I'd be concerned whether or not the cabinet can carry the weight (including the weight of the stuff you put in the cabinet.) My best guess is "yes" - microwaves really aren't that heavy, compared to what could be put into cabinets. But, I don't know what the quality of your cabinets is, whether they might sag over time, etc. What's directly above the cabinet? Can you reinforce it all the way up into the ceiling or soffit or whatever's above the cabinets?

edit: OP, search for information related to mounting microwaves under cabinets that are in a kitchen island. They make special mounting kits (if your microwave doesn't have one). I realized that this sounds like what you might be trying to do. Another thing to factor in - is your cabinet mounted correctly? That is, are all of the screws/bolts firmly anchored into structural members?

edit edit: if mounting to the bottom of your cabinet, those screws/bolts better penetrate into the cabinet and have...

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While most people know the basics of operating a microwave, ever-evolving technology gives rise to a need for some basic instructions in order to maximize usage of this popular and convenient appliance.

STEP 1: Choosing a Microwave Oven to Fit Your Needs

Microwaves come in a variety of sizes, power capacities and prices. Microwave size is measured in cubic feet. A 0.8 cubic foot microwave, while perfect for small spaces, would not allow you to heat in large quantity the way a 2.2 cubic foot appliance would. Likewise, one consumer might be able to get by fine with an 800-watt microwave oven, while someone who plans for heavier appliance usage would opt for one in the 1,250 to 1,300-watt range. Price will be determined by both these factors, as well as make and model. One can expect to pay anywhere from fifty to three-hundred dollars for a brand-new, residential-grade microwave oven.

STEP 2: Setting up Your Microwave Oven

Most modern microwaves require...

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Page 1: Installation Guide

INSTALLATION GUIDE 1.6 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave NS-OTR16SS8Q Before using your new product, please read these instructions to prevent any damage.

Page 2: Table Of Contents

Contents Introduction ................3 BEFORE YOU BEGIN .

Page 3: Introduction

1.6 Cu. Ft. Over-the-Range Microwave Introduction Congratulations on your purchase of a high-quality Insignia product. Your NS-OTR16SS8Q represents the state of the art in microwave design and is designed for reliable and trouble-free performance. This installation guide will show you how to install your new over-the-range microwave.

Page 4: Package Contents

NS-OTR16SS8Q Package contents • 1.6 cu. ft....

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If you've followed the advice in my article, "How to Improve Your Video-Streaming Clarity," and can't use a Cat 5e or greater specification wired-solution for your network, you may be running into straightforward environmental limitations. The microwave just isn't getting from point A to point B and back again.

WiFi at 2.4 and 5 GHz consists of short radio waves, unlike those of broadcast radio, for example. Place a solid object, like a wall, in front of a WiFi radio wave and, unlike many other forms or radio, you'll get problems -- the stubby, low-powered wave gets blocked.

The advantage of a low-power, short wave for a private, local network is that the wave can't get very far. This means a lot of users can share the same spectrum. But, it's also the technology's disadvantage for those looking for long range through structures. Follow these tips to simply expand the range of your network into dead-spots.

Remove Obstructions

Remove any obstructions...

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If you're planning to set up a microwave in a family room or bonus room that doesn't have upper cabinets, consider mounting it on a wall. Wall-mount accessory brackets have adjustable support arms that attach at the bottom of the microwave. The brackets are available in aluminum and vinyl finishes through online sources and appliance accessory outlets. In most cases, a do-it-yourselfer with some home-improvement skills and tools can install the bracket and mount the microwave in a short time.

Determine a location on a wall that's in proximity to an electrical outlet. Measure up from the floor or down from the ceiling and make a pair of marks on the wall at the height for the bottom of the microwave. Make sure the plug for the microwave's power cord can reach the outlet. Locate two studs in the wall with a stud finder and mark the locations of each.

Position the accessory bracket on the wall with the upper rail horizontal and the support arms extending out. Align the...

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Our pick


The GE delivers best-in-test performance, tremendous value, and a user interface so intuitive that you may never look at the user manual.

The GE JES1656SRSS is our new pick for a countertop microwave. Like our previous pick, it can do a lot of basic, diverse, often-repeated jobs—like reheating a single bowl of soup or “baking” potatoes for a family of four—with the touch of one of its task-specific preset buttons. It also lets you manually set cooking times and power levels with the push of a button or two—basically, it nukes food as easily as flipping a switch—and being honest, that’s how most of us use microwaves. Moreover, it does these tasks well, many of them outright superbly, thanks to a combination of solid hardware and well-engineered software that delivers its ample power efficiently and effectively. But where this microwave—like all GE microwaves—sets itself apart is in its easy, intuitive operation. How intuitive?...

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Q - Hello, My GE Microwave Oven (model #JVM1630*****) is about 5 years old and won't heat food anymore. Any hints on what electrical circuits to check?

A - Confirm 110-120 volts AC is entering the primary coil on the high voltage transformer....meter works but can be fooled, I usually rig up a light socket and household light bulb and hook that to the 2 input wires for the transformer and see if the light works or not when you run the microwave....can even set a power level and watch the light go on and off. Discharge the capacitor first before attempting any checks or tests.

Scary but works!....

If ok, put those 2 wires back on the transformer. Discharge the capacitor.

Remove the 2 wires going to the magnetron....run the microwave a few seconds ( 2-3 ) and remove power....again discharge the high voltage capacitor. If you got a good crack & spark when you discharge the cap the second time you are creating high voltage but not using it ( bad...

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You’ve decided an over-the-range microwave is right for your kitchen, but the designated space isn’t quite right. Over-the-range microwaves are convenient space savers, but they aren’t something you should install without proper guidance. After all, you are permanently putting something directly over a heat source; improper installation is an accident waiting to happen.

Your existing kitchen design may need to be altered to accommodate the appliance you desire.

You can go from something like this:

To this:

But if you’re not sure how to properly install an over-the-range microwave in your kitchen, we have answers. Here’s a helpful list of common scenarios and our solution to each design dilemma.

Dilemma 1: Soffit Above

In home renovation a soffit, also known as a bulkhead, refers to any kind of boxed-in area that hides structural elements (beams, etc.) or services (HVAC duct work, electrical wires, or plumbing services)....

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All 30" over-the-range microwaves are approximately the same width, and are designed to fit into a 30" wide cabinet opening. Each microwave comes with the mounting hardware (mounting bracket, screws, exhaust adapter), top and rear templates, and installation instructions needed to make installation a simple process. This makes choosing a replacement microwave easy.

NOTE: When replacing an over-the-range microwave, the mounting bracket included with the new microwave should be used since the mounting bracket is specific to each model. The new screws, bolts, and exhaust adapter should also be used.

You can view our current Over-the-Range microwaves and narrow the choices by color, capacity, and more by visiting: Over-The-Range Microwaves

If you are replacing a 36" over-the-range microwave, many current 30" over-the-range microwaves offer an optional 36" filler kit to allow it to be installed in a 36" cut-out opening. If available, the filler kit will be listed...

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You can shorten any cabinet without removing it from the wall. Due to the integrated installation of the cabinets, certain moldings, trim, shelves or fillers can't be disturbed by removing the entire cabinet. If you surgically remove and shorten the bottom part of the cabinet without taking it down from the wall, your microwave will fit. Some microwaves come with a kit for hanging them above the counter and require cabinets to be cut down to make room. Others fit into pantry cabinets. Still other times, there's just not enough room for a microwave to fit under the counter without shortening it.

Draw a line horizontally across the measurement where you wish to cut the cabinet. Consult the owner's manual. If there's a specific code or distance required for the cabinet to breathe, use that to determine where to cut the cabinet. If the line crosses the doors, draw the line there too.

Set a table saw if the doors are solid-slab. Remove the doors with a screwdriver. Cut the...

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