When you install your over-the-range (OTR) microwave, you can either recirculate the air back into your house or you can vent it through the wall. It is not a requirement that an OTR microwave should be vented outside. Some homeowners prefer it, but no harm can come from recirculating the air into your kitchen or elsewhere (provided you’re not dealing with smoke or harmful fumes).
If you choose to vent outside, you simply need to make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s directions in the case of a DIY project, or you may need to hire a professional if you’re remodeling the space.
About OTR Microwaves
OTR microwaves are designed to be installed underneath kitchen cabinets and over the range. These microwaves come with built-in vents and lights underneath to improve the homeowner’s cooking experience.
Why People Use Over the Range Microwaves
The primary reason people choose to install an OTR microwave is space. Traditional microwaves are a wonderful amenity for your kitchen, but at a width of 20”-30”, they can easily steal cooking and prepping space from homeowners.
Another reason homeowners will install an OTR microwave is convenience. When your oven and microwave are within arm’s reach of each other, prepping your meals is that much easier. This is especially the case if you have a more dynamic microwave with multiple functions.
Why Vent Your Microwave Outside?
The reason you would set up your OTR microwave venting or kitchen stove venting to push the air outside—as opposed to recirculating the air or venting it to another room—is to maintain good air quality in your home. The air from your microwave may give off fumes, oftentimes with potent smells, and can affect the freshness of your space. In the case of smoke, the fumes can even be hazardous. But if your microwave is smoking or your food is regularly burning, you probably have a completely different problem on your hands.
Can I Install an OTR Microwave Myself?
With the proper ductwork and outside access, you can install your own OTR microwave to force the air outdoors. As we mentioned previously, we recommend using a professional or at least researching the microwave manufacturer’s directions for installation.
Like many kitchen ideas, microwave venting can be reworked upon remodel. So, if you have additional plans to change up your kitchen, you can always wait to install an outside vent until that point. That way you’re taking care of new kitchen amenities all at once and you have the peace of mind knowing an experienced contractor performed the installations.
Matching Your New Microwave to Your Kitchen
Keep in mind that you’ll probably want your new microwave to match your current appliances and kitchen aesthetic. Thankfully, most models come in relatively neutral colors. You’ll often see stainless steel, slate, black, or white options. Some even have smudge-proof finishes to keep the surface looking sleek.
You also may want to consider upgrading other appliances while you’re at it. Among other reasons, homeowners prefer to upgrade all their appliances at once so the kitchen looks more uniform and appealing. Hence why most kitchens have a matching microwave, oven, and fridge.
Minneapolis Home Remodelers With Decades of Experience
Honey-Doers provides remodeling services to the Twin Cities area and beyond. Our professional remodelers help homeowners realize their vision and transform their homes so that every space is equal parts beautiful and functional.
We also provide exterior services like roofing and deck building. Get your free remodeling estimate by using the online form to connect with us.