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How to Install a Built-in Microwave

by Dave Donovan

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Man taking food out of a microwave

Things You Need:

  • Drill
  • 3/4-inch bit
  • Keyhole bit
  • Screwdrivers
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil

Microwaves are a kitchen staple. They offer convenience, no residual heat from cooking and, when compared with an oven or range, efficiency. With so much going for them, it's no surprise microwaves are so popular. If there was ever a drawback to having a microwave oven in the kitchen, it was that the appliance claimed too much valuable countertop real estate. But ever since microwave ovens were made to be installed over the range, that dilemma has ceased to exist. Installing a built-in microwave is really not that difficult, but what many people don't realize is that they need a dedicated 20-amp circuit installed in the cabinet directly above the microwave oven for the installation to be up to code. If you're not comfortable running your own circuit, hire a qualified electrician for the job. Once you have the circuit installed, you can then install a built-in microwave.

Installing a Microwave:

  1. Position the back template. Open up the back mounting-template that came with your microwave and position it on the wall. Use the pencil to mark the available holes for mounting the bracket to the wall.

  2. Position the top template. Open up the top mounting-template, hold it against the bottom of the cabinet and mark the area where you will be drilling the two holes in the cabinet's bottom.

  3. Locate the studs. Use the stud finder to locate the wall studs and mark their location with the pencil. Identify the holes on the back mounting-plate that are within the stud's width. You will be using these areas to secure the back plate to the wall.

  4. Make sure it's level. Hold the back mounting-plate in place and use the level to check for proper alignment.

  5. Attach the back plate. Secure the back plate to the wall studs using the heavy-duty mounting screws included with your microwave.

  6. Drill holes in the overhead cabinet. Before you drill your holes, clean out the inside of the overhead cabinet, as a lot of wood shavings will accumulate. Drill through the two spots you previously marked underneath the cabinet using a 3/4-inch drill bit. Change the bit on the drill to the keyhole bit and drill a hole in the cabinet bottom near the wall where the microwave's power cord can enter.

  7. Position the microwave on the rear bracket. Lift the microwave and set the bottom rear on the mounting bracket. Find the two hinges that fit into the rear slots on the microwave. This will help to take the weight off of the unit.

  8. Position the microwave on the top bracket. Slide the power cord up into the cabinet and lift the microwave's front up so that the two holes on the top of the microwave are aligned with the two holes in the cabinet base.

  9. Insert and tighten the bolts. Take one mounting bolt and washer combo and insert it into the drilled hole and begin tightening it. Then do the same thing with the second mounting bolt and washer. Tighten both bolts down very securely.

  10. Plug it in. Plug the microwave into the outlet and set the clock.

Installation Tips:

  1. Due to the weight of the microwave, this installation is much easier accomplished with help from a friend.

  2. Look at the location of the power cord on the microwave before you drill the hole in the bottom of the cabinet. Drill the hole on the same side that the cord exits the microwave.

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