Problems You Might Encounter When Replacing Your Over-The-Range Microwave

If you're trying to replace your over-the-range microwave, you might think it's a little more difficult to replace than your oven given its location and how it's fastened in. It can be a simple task, but you can run into some complications along the way that make the job incredibly frustrating. Replacing a microwave is a job best done with two people for safety purposes, but apart from that, it's a job you can probably do without the need for a handyman.

My Old Microwave Won't Come Off The Wall

Getting the old microwave out can be one of the hardest parts of the whole process, especially if you didn't install it in the first place, which means you'll have to go hunting for screws and brackets.

For the most part, microwaves are installed the same way: A bracket attached to the wall behind the microwave holds it from the bottom, and two bolts hold the top of the microwave. You can find the bolts in the cabinet above your microwave where the vent is located.

Make sure that the microwave has been disconnected from the vent, that its power source has been unplugged, and that the two bolts have been removed. In many cases, the only remaining item holding it up is the bracket. When trying to remove the microwave from the bracket, lift it from the back to lift it off the hooks, and tilt the front forward so you can pull it up. If you just pull down or out, you're pulling against the bracket, which is very strong.

If it still won't come off, take off the top vent (if applicable) and look for two very long metal rods that stretch from the front of your microwave into the back wall and remove them.

I Can't Find Studs For The New Bracket

Though most microwaves work the same way, you'll want to use the bracket that came with your new microwave, just to make sure that the connections will be secure and safe. To do this, you typically need two or three studs behind your microwave for the bracket to connect to, but if you can't find enough studs, or if your studs don't line up with the bracket, you can fix this.

Take two 1-by-4s and attach them to the wall perpendicular to the existing studs. Use two screws in each stud so that each 1-by-4 is attached to two studs to form two 90-degree angles. Both of the 1-by-4s should be attached like this so that they are sturdy. When this is done, you can fasten the mounting bracket to the 1-by-4s without worrying about locating a perfect stud.

I Don't Have Enough Cabinet Space For My Venting

With a new microwave comes the chance that you'll need a new fitting for your vent. To provide additional trouble, many microwaves have a rectangular vent while stock vending is round. If you can find enough attachments, you may find that you don't have enough space to put it all.

The easiest solution is to just redo the venting in your top cabinet from scratch so that you don't have to struggle to find multiple fittings that also fit in your cabinet. You can also install the microwave a little lower to give you more room – just a few inches at most should do – then cover the gap with a plastic bar that matches your microwave (or even some other decoration).

However, the smarter option is to hire a professional if your venting no longer matches. Your venting needs to be airtight to avoid any damage. A professional can modify the existing venting and cut it down in size so your fittings will all fit.

If you're interested in remodeling your kitchen, direct any questions to contractors with a business like RDI.


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