Installation of a Microwave Oven Over a Stove

A microwave oven installed under a cabinet.
A microwave oven installed under a cabinet.

Electrical Outlet for an Over-the-Stove Microwave Oven

Dear Mr. Electrician: I would like to remove the hood over my stove and install an over-the-stove microwave oven in its place.  How do I supply power to the new microwave oven over the stove?  NOTE: Text links below go to applicable products on Amazon.com

Answer:  Make sure that the circuit breaker for the hood is off.  Remove the small cover underneath the hood that contains the electrical connections.  Using a non-contact voltage tester check to make sure that the power is off.  Disconnect the wires sticking out of the wall from the wires on the hood.  Do not cut the wires.  Tape the bare ends of the wires coming out of the wall with electrical tape.  Take note of the type of connector used to clamp the cable coming into the back of the hood.  If it has a locknut, remove it by unscrewing it counterclockwise.  If the cable connector is blue plastic, you can cut it using diagonal pliers.  Be careful not to cut the cable or wires in the cable.

Once the cable in the wall is free from the hood, you can remove the hood.  There are screws in the back, on the sides, and sometimes on the top under the hood that all must be removed to get the hood down.

Here is the wire that was originally feeding the hood fan and light over the stove. It is important to not cut this wire when removing the old hood. You will need a lot of slack to bring the wire up into the overhead cabinet to feed the new microwave oven.
Here is the wire that was originally feeding the hood fan and light over the stove.  It is important to not cut this wire when removing the old hood.  You will need a lot of slack to bring the wire up into the overhead cabinet to feed the new microwave oven.

Be careful when removing the old hood.  That same wire that is feeding the hood will be used to power an electrical receptacle outlet for the new microwave oven.  Do not cut the wire.  The new microwave must be a minimum height distance from the top of the stove.  Before purchasing the microwave oven, look up the installation manual online at the manufacturer’s website to get the installation details.

I love the Milwaukee 2426-20 M12 Cordless Multi-Tool because of its small size and its light weight. It is the perfect power tool for tight spots like this where precision is required.
I love the Milwaukee 2426-20 M12 Cordless Multi-Tool because of its small size and its light weight.  It is the perfect cordless tool for tight spots like this where precision is required.

To power the new microwave oven, an electrical receptacle outlet must be installed in the cabinet above the stove.  The power cord from the microwave oven will come through a hole that you make for it in the bottom of the cabinet and plug into that outlet.  It may not always be possible to use the old hood electrical feed to power the new microwave oven.  It might not be a 20 amp appliance circuit.  The wire may be too short.  In some cases a new 20 amp, 120 volt circuit would need to be installed.

The plan is to pull the existing hood wire up into the back of the cabinet and attach an electrical box and receptacle to it so that the microwave oven can be plugged in.
The plan is to pull the existing hood electrical wire up into the back of the cabinet and attach an electrical box and receptacle to it so that the microwave oven can be plugged in.

The easiest way to install an electrical outlet using the existing cable is to bring the cable up and through a hole in the back of the cabinet that is above the stove.  Then you can bring the cable into the back knockout of a 4″ square electrical box and just mount it on the surface of the back of the cabinet.

I usually mount the electrical receptacle outlet recessed in the wall to give it a neater appearance.  You will need to cut a hole in the back of the cabinet for this.  My post on installing an outlet box in an existing wall may be helpful to you.

This metal electrical box was mounted using one Madison Bar on the right side and a sheet metal screw on the left side. A wall stud is against the left side of the box making it ideal to attach the box. The metal box must be grounded by attaching the bare copper wire using a 10/32 screw.
This metal electrical box was mounted using one Madison Bar on the right side and a sheet metal screw on the left side.  A wall stud is against the left side of the box making it ideal to attach the box.  The metal box must be grounded by attaching the bare copper wire using a 10/32 screw.

Mounting the Over-the-Stove Microwave Oven

Note the template tapedto the back wall. There is also another template for the top mounting holes and the cord hole. The mounting holes must be properly located.
Note the template taped to the back wall.  There is also another template for the top mounting holes and the cord hole. The mounting holes must be properly located.

Every over-the-stove microwave oven has a mounting bracket that gets attached to the wall.  There are also holes that need to be drilled in the bottom of the cabinet for the power cord, and for screws to hold the microwave oven up.  The mounting bracket and the screw hole pattern differ from each microwave oven.  Therefore it is important to follow the instructions that were supplied with the microwave oven.  Templates for holes are usually supplied with each microwave oven for over-the-stove use.

The wall bracket that supports the rear of the microwave oven is mounted using a combination of large sheet metal screws and toggle bolts. This bracket carries most of the weight of the microwave oven.
The wall bracket that supports the rear of the microwave oven is mounted using a combination of large sheet metal screws and toggle bolts.  This bracket carries most of the weight of the microwave oven.

The wall bracket must be screwed into at least one solid wood stud in the wall.  It is important to have the bracket line up with the center line of the microwave oven.

That spot of light on the wall is coming through the hole that was drilled in the cabinet above using a hole saw so that the microwave oven electrical cord can pass through to the new electrical outlet above. Holes were also drilled for two support screws that keep the microwave oven level.
That spot of light on the wall is coming through the hole that was drilled in the cabinet bottom.  Using a hole saw, the hole was made so that the microwave oven electrical cord can pass through to the new electrical outlet above.  Holes were also drilled for two support screws that keep the microwave oven level.

I have installed microwave ovens over-the-stove by myself, but it was always a challenge.  I would put my 4′ ladder under the cabinet and put a folded furniture pad on top of the ladder.  Then I would muscle the microwave oven onto the top of the ladder with the furniture pad.  From there I would lift the oven onto the wall bracket and then try and catch one of the top screws that come through the cabinet.  It is much easier to install the microwave oven with two people.

The completed ductless installation. If air ducts were connected, the work would be a little more difficult and require the skills and tools of another trade.
The completed ductless installation.  If an air duct was connected, the work would be a little more difficult and require the skills and tools of another trade.  Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions before commencing with this work.  There are height restrictions with respect to the distance from the top of the stove.  The oven must be at least a certain distance from the stove as per the instructions.  I recommend that you read the installation instructions of any appliance before you buy it.  Many manufacturers have the instructions downloadable online.

Click here to see more photos of an outlet box being installed using Madison Bars.

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