putting microwave over stove (?!)

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legio XX
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putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby legio XX » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:10 am

In the perennial quest for optimal storage in a Manhattan apartment, I'm asking for opinions on this:

I am thinking of putting my microwave on a shelf above the stove. (No, can't open a wall and set it inside.) The question is: how far above the stove does it have to be so that the heat of cooking doesn't damage the micro or cause problems I can't even think of? Would, e.g., having 2 ft. between the stovetop and the shelf the micro sits on be enough for safety?

I'm not a big cook, and use the micro mainly for a quick nuke and the occasional defrost. My suburbanite friends all have built-in setups and never even thought about it. Just wondering if its an issue before I put up the shelf . . . . [shelf - heavy-duty metal brackets from professional kitchen supplier; will probably use a metal shelf like my kitchen wheeled shelves -- unless there's a heat-resistant material I need to know about?

Has anyone done this?


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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby TheGreyingDuke » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:18 am

I had a microwave with a built in fan that went over the range. If you do a lot of Chinese style cooking, probably not a good idea. Bt if you do a lot of take out :happy two feet is the minimum.

Take a look here at the full story on installation minimums:
http://www.ajmadison.com/ajmadison/item ... 7736en.pdf

We are in a tiny space now and I have the nuke on top of the fridge, but then I am 190 cm in height (75")
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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby sport » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:21 am

One consideration is that you want to have sufficient space above the stove to have a tall pot on the stove, plus enough room to stir whatever is in the pot. FWIW, our built-in is 17 inches above the stove grids.


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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby bluelight » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:48 am

I did that in a previous house and had the shelf mounted about 20" above the gas range. It worked well. I now have an OTR microwave that sits about 18" off the range.

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby dbc47 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:01 am

We built a new home 5 years ago and we put the microwave over the oven as we liked the look and it saved space. However, we quickly discovered that the exhaust fans in the microwave were no where near as powerful as a "regular" range hood. Maybe we just had a bad installation, but I was having to constantly clean grease from the air intakes and exhaust vents. I replaced the microwave a couple years ago with a much more powerful range hood which works very well. Consumer Reports a while back wrote an article on over the range microwaves which recognized this problem so you might check them out first.

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby yellowjacket » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:17 am

The building code for this condition reads as follows:

M1901.1 Clearances.

Freestanding or built-in ranges shall
have a vertical clearance above the cooking top of not less than
30 inches (762 mm) to unprotected combustible material.
Reduced clearances are permitted in accordance with the listing
and labeling of the range hoods or appliances."

What this implies regarding non-combustible is moot. Prudence would suggest consideration of the microwave unit itself in heat exposure situations. Though the shelf may be non-combustible, heat from the cooking operation below MAY cause damage to a microwave not designed for heated situations. The manual for the microwave should provide some guidance. Absent guidance, 30 inches clearance is suggested.

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby SpringMan » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:54 am

I use something like this http://www.fingerhut.com/product/Over-t ... /NC719.uts
Not the same brand but same idea. No problems so far and its been several years.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby NAVigator » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:57 am

I just measured the distance. My microwave is 17 inches above the burner (electric) on the stove.

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby HardKnocker » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:04 am

You will need some kind of vent fan/range hood above the stove/below the microwave.
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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby Sam I Am » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:33 am

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby p14175 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:34 pm

We have a range with an overhead oven (1969 GE Americana). At 5'3" I find lifting hot pans and casseroles out the oven to be a bit dangerous. That has kept me from putting a microwave on a high shelf over the stove. When (if) we get around to remodeling our kitchen, the microwave will get its own space at counter height (or perhaps below the counter) with a pull out shelf in front of it or maybe a drawer model.

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby linuxuser » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:36 pm

The builder put a microwave above the gas range. I haven't measured the distance. When I am cooking on the range, the handle on the microwave's door gets warm.
I wouldn't have done it this way.

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby markpa » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:21 am

when I am cooking on the range, sometimes the microwave vent fan comes on by itself to reduce the heat as a safety.

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby legio XX » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:46 am


Thanks for all this information. I'd never even heard of the shelf that goes on the stove itself.

There's no question here of a range hood, no outside vent! The micro in question is about 20 years old and still working fine for my use. It has it's own vent fan in the back and I'm allowing clearance for that.

So I needed to know how high it had to be above the stove to be both safe and reachable. I was hoping that 24" would do it because 30" will make reach an issue for someone like my 5' sister. The 14" shelf will protrude over the back burners of a new electric stove. These are the low heat burners and warmer (the high heat 3600-watt monster up front is what made the thing so expensive!) which won't get all that much use. I don't see myself reaching up to the micro with one hand while the wok is in action on the high-heat burner!

So, I'm off to the Bowery to see what's around. Will think some more before actually doing it - thanks for the input.


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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby stemikger » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:56 am

I just did this two years ago and was short by 1.5 inches and it worked out fine. I would have done it sooner, but was under the impression I needed a vent/fan in the wall, but they now make above stove microwaves with the vent/fan built into the microwave.

In my case, I was nervous it was too close to the stove and my wife cooks a lot, but two years later and it is still working and no problems.

Ideally, it should be 17 inches to meet their recommended guidelines.
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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby EagertoLearnMore » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:51 am

When looking at new homes, many have the microwave in the LOWER cabinets. I inquired why and they said safety, height reasons.
We opted for the microwave OVER the stove for heights reasons. Putting the microwave in a lower cabinet made it too difficult to bend over and put
containers into the microwave especially if they were heavy.
So, it is a matter of preference. As long as there is sufficient clearance from the stove, the only problem would be if you do a lot of greasy cooking. Our
microwave has washable filters that you place in the dishwasher but we haven't needed to do that because we don't fry anything.
Have you considered looking at kitchen design stores to see how they place various microwaves?

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby NAVigator » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:06 am

With the suggestions that an over the stove microwave have a vent, I just checked my microwave AGAIN. It does have a built-in vent fan and filters. I have lived here over five years and never noticed that. I use the microwave far more often than I use the range or oven. Thanks for helping me make discoveries in my own home. :shock:

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Re: putting microwave over stove (?!)

Postby Mudpuppy » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:29 pm

My parents have one of the shelves that goes on the stove. Over the years, they've decided it's more hassle than it's worth. They still have the shelf, but now it houses things like pots and pans. They moved the microwave to the counter. The primary reason has already been cited on this thread: it was too high up to comfortably take things in and out of the microwave (particularly for my mother).

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