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.
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.
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 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.
Mounting the Over-the-Stove Microwave Oven
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 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.
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.
Click here to see more photos of an outlet box being installed using Madison Bars.
Other appliance posts.