A kitchen is a place which always seems out of space and crowded. Those who work in the kitchen in their homes will understand this sentiment.
When I was a child, my family had a simple small kitchen. I used to be always around and inside the kitchen then, thinking that when I start earning money, I would buy my mother a spacious kitchen.
Today, my mother is no more. But I do have a kitchen that is four times bigger than we had, and it still seems small to me.
This is because as the space increases, our needs also start increasing. We keep incorporating new kitchen appliances, which can take up a lot of space.
That’s why we should plan our kitchen design beforehand, carefully arranging all the devices in desired places.
Of all the needed kitchen appliances, a microwave oven is one of the most important for cooking your favourite dishes. Placing the microwave at the right position will help you minimize your workload as it’s heavily used.
This is why many people place their microwaves above their stove or cooking range. This helps reach out to it whenever necessary without moving around the kitchen.
However, not all microwaves are designed to be placed like this. There are special microwaves, known as Over-the-Range, which you can place above your cooking range. They come with a hood vent installed on their bottom part and are made to withstand high heat.
You can even install a regular countertop microwave above your stove if you follow certain rules and precautions.
But how high should a microwave be placed from the stove so that it doesn’t get damaged from the heat of the burners? This question can keep bothering you if you are about to install a new oven or want to move your old one.
You can get the answer to this from your manufacturer. Each microwave comes with a set of instructions for this process.
Still, I can provide you with a rough estimate based on my experience with Over-the-Range microwaves.
Over-the-Range ovens come with an in-built smoke vent. The bottom of the microwave should be placed anywhere between15-20 inches above your cooking range or stove.
In the case of regular countertop ovens, it is advisable to maintain at least two feet distance between your oven and the stove. If you are placing it above the stove, make sure to leave ample space on the sides to allow steam & smoke to vent out properly
Many of you might wonder why it’s necessary to place an oven above the range and if it’s safe to do so. Even if it’s safe, what is the best distance and way to set the microwave above your cooking range?
Let’s look closely at these points to understand this.
Why Place Microwave Above The Stove?
Microwaves occupy significant room in your kitchen and can sometimes be overwhelming due to their size. If you place them on the kitchen island, it can interfere with the space you use for your pots & other appliances.
Due to this, several homemakers prefer to place their microwaves above the stove. Another alternative is to use a built-in oven fitted directly inside the kitchen wall.
It all comes down to saving as much space as possible, resulting in a beautiful kitchen. There are other benefits too. You won’t have to move too much inside the kitchen to operate your stove and oven simultaneously. Swapping food items from the stove to the oven or vice-versa becomes much easier.
Is It Safe To Install A Microwave Above Your Stove?
Microwaves are an important part of the kitchen, so you can’t just eliminate them from the kitchen. You can keep them on a kitchen island or nearby the cooking range. But it’s best to install them inside the wall or above the stove to save space.
As I told you, Over-the-Range is a specially designed microwave for installing above the stove. Still, you might wonder whether it’s the right choice or not and how safe it is.
Over-the-Range microwaves are made in such a way that they can withstand a lot of heat for long periods. They also feature a vent at the bottom to handle the smoke while cooking.
If you are installing a regular microwave above the stove, you will need to follow specific guidelines to save it from damage. Even if it’s an Over-the-Range, you must take some precautions to avoid any problems:
- Avoid installing the microwave too close to the stove or cooking range. It will limit the space for keeping larger pots & utensils and can cause spillages or accidental slips. This can result in severe burns too.
- Installing the oven too high can also cause problems for shorter or older people. They can slip, or the dishes can fall off their hands while handling the oven. So, try keeping an optimal distance between the range and the oven.
- If the oven is already installed too high, get a stepping stool for the kitchen that will help to reach the microwave safely.
- If you use a regular microwave, try keeping it on a platform or installing it inside the wall. If there’s no option but to install it above the stove, maintain at least 2-2.5 feet from it.
- When installing a regular countertop microwave above the stove or cooking range, remember to get a standalone hood vent to suck out all the hot air & smoke. Leave ample spaces on the sides of the oven to let the smoke pass to the vent easily.
Installing an oven above the range is completely safe if you follow the instructions carefully. It will save you a lot of space and make your cooking more efficient.
The Right Height For Your Microwave
Now that all of your doubts are clear about installing a microwave oven above a cooking range or stove, you still need to comprehend the right height between the range and the oven.
If you look at instructions from the International Residential Code, they recommend maintaining at least a distance of 30 inches between the stove burners and any other combustible material.
In contrast, the National Bath & Kitchen Association recommends a gap of 54 inches between the ground and the bottom of the microwave. Keeping in mind the height of the stove or cooking range, you can maintain a distance of 18-19 inches from them.
However, in the case of an Over-the-Range microwave, this distance can be minimized according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Their bottom part already has vents and is made from materials that can sustain high temperatures.
You can look out for the heat limits on these ovens. General Electric (GE) ovens can sustain up to 60,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat.
That said, the cooking range or stoves used in an average home produces only 7,000-18,000 BTUs. So, unless you have a lot of large burners burning out simultaneously, you can stop worrying about this.
Many reputed companies, like GE, recommend only 13-16 inches of gap between the stove and their ovens. At last, it all comes down to individual choice as you know your house best.
If it’s a countertop microwave, maintain a minimum of 2 feet gap from the burners. Their outer body is not designed to go through high temperatures and can melt.
If you are still unsure about this, the best option is to go for a professional service provider who can visit your home and guide you accordingly.
Microwaves hold an important position in the kitchen. Due to its frequent use in daily cooking, it must be within your immediate reach.
Installing a microwave above the cooking range is the best way to make it more accessible and easy to use. As we have seen, special Over-the-Range ovens are designed for this purpose.
If you are preparing to buy a new microwave for this purpose, try to go for a reputed brand. Because what matters, in the end, is your safety and well-being. Quality brands won’t compromise your safety.
However, if you are installing a regular countertop oven above the range or stove, then you need to ensure proper ventilation in that area.
Whatever option you go for, always remember to maintain a safe distance between the stove and the microwave. Follow the recommended distance advised by the manufacturer so you don’t suffer any accidents, injuries or common problems in the long run.
Nonetheless, always consult a local professional before installation if you are unsure about any aspect. They can guide you in much better ways.