Do microwaves require any minimum clearances around them?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Although microwaves only heat the food in them, that food heats the air surrounding it and anything nearby, and needs to be adequately dissipated. Here’s the standards that GE has for the different types of microwave ovens they offer. Other manufacturers are similar, if not identical.

Countertop Microwaves
• 3-inches on sides and top.
• 1-inch in back.
• GE does not recommend installation inside a cabinet without using one of their built-in kits, which includes a faceplate surround (shown below). If not used, the clearances above are applicable.


Hanging Microwaves (under cabinet, but not over range)
• 2-inches on each side and underneath.

Over-The-Range Microwaves
• Minimum 66-inches from floor to top of microwave, which allows 13” to 16” clearance below microwave to cooktop.
• Should not be installed over a range or cooktop rated at more than 60,000 BTU.

    Also, see our blog posts What is the maximum recommended height above the floor for an above-the-range microwave? and What are the most common defects with over-the-range microwaves?

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about APPLIANCES: 

 What are the building code requirements for installing an appliance (furnace, air handler, water heater) in the attic?

 Which house appliances need a dedicated electrical circuit? 

 Is a washing machine drain hose required to be secured at the standpipe?

 When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required? 

 Why does venting a clothes dryer into a garage, attic, or crawl space cause problems?

 Does a refrigerator water supply line require a shutoff valve behind it? 

 My spa tub stopped working. What's wrong?

 Why would a home have natural gas appliaces but no gas meter? 

 Is a hot water faucet required at a washing machine?

 Can I remove a 240-volt range receptacle and hard-wire the range? 

 Can a dishwasher be wired to a kitchen counter small appliance receptacle circuit?

 Why is it bad to have a clothes dryer vent near an air conditioning condenser (outdoor unit)? 

 Are a range and refrigerator required kitchen appliances for a house to pass FHA inspection? 

 What are the code requirements for an outdoor dryer vent cover?

 What is the maximum length for a clothes dryer vent? 

 Why are my ceiling fan blades drooping?

 How do you inspect a dryer vent? 

• Why is there a water hose connected to the back of the clothes dryer?

      Visit our APPLIANCES page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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