Installing a built in microwave can be a godsend to the kitchen. Fitting one into a kitchen cabinet saves kitchen surface space, and if done the right way, can look stylish and fashionable in a modern kitchen. Installing a built in microwave as part of a DIY job can be relatively easy, as it requires just a few tools and can be done within a day. The details here apply to conventional microwaves, microwave combination ovens, and multifunctional ovens with integrated microwaves. Most built-in units can be installed in a variety of positions – a standard tall cabinet, wall cabinet or at any level to suit the installer. Follow our steps below to ensure the right procedures are followed and the correct tools used, so the home has a built-in microwave to be proud of.
Tools Required for the Job
- Suitable drill bits – usually 5/64” or 5/63”
- Spirit Level
- Small pieces of wood to use as runners
- Screws (including wood screws if using runners)
- Stud Finder
- Cabinet (if not already installed)
Before installing any piece of electrical equipment, ensure that it is switched off and unplugged, and also any pieces of equipment around it. Ideally have at least one other person with the installer, to help carry heavy items and assist if there are any issues. Always ensure that the power supply to the microwave is easily accessible, in case of emergency. The power socket should not be installed behind the microwave; ideally it should be to one of the sides outside the cabinet, or above it. Firstly, consider where the microwave will be installed. Some models are able to be directly installed into a wall or as part of a wall oven cabinet. The product manual will give further instructions into the best place for installation. The area for installation must be level - check this with a spirit level – and it must be able to support the weight and size of the unit. Make sure to measure the microwave (or have the measurements from the manual handy) so it is known that it can fit into the desired space before work begins. This is important before any kind of drilling is done, which may potentially damage the cabinet for no reason. Note that side opening microwaves should not be installed underneath a worktop. It is not recommended that a microwave be installed over a conventional oven or a fridge. Freestanding microwaves can be installed into open cabinets designed to fit a built-in microwave, however, this is not usually recommended. Microwaves require adequate space in which to operate, and the fan needs enough air circulation to prevent the machine overheating. It will also not look as polished a finish as a built-in unit. Be very cautious about placing a freestanding unit into a space where a built-in unit was designed to go.
Microwave Installation Tips
Not all microwaves will be the same size, although in general, they fit a ‘standard’ size range. Never assume a product will fit, always measure first. If purchase has been made of a new microwave for this job, always use the fitting kit that is supplied with the product. Failing to do so can result in the microwave having insufficient air to cool down the unit, resulting in a breakage of the machine or even worse, a fire within the unit.
Step by Step Instructions
- If applicable, prepare the cabinet for installation. Different cabinets will require different spaces, and microwaves can be installed at any height. Consult the microwave product manual if unsure.
- Install a junction box (or have close access to a power socket) within the cabinet, so the microwave can be safely powered. Use a qualified electrician if inexperienced in this area.
- If installing a microwave that is not new, unplug it from its previous location and move it away from the installation area. If installing a new microwave, ensure it is removed from packaging.
- If installing a microwave into a solid cabinet where no support is needed - route the conduit cable into the back of the cabinet. Lift the microwave very carefully into the open cabinet.
- Drill holes into the cabinet frames around the front of the microwave and then secure the microwave using suitable screws (often provided as part of a kit for a new microwave).
- Some models provide a clip-on fascia to finish the look of the product in its place. If one is provided, install it now.
If Using a Base Pan to Support the Microwave
- Firstly, if making any drill holes into the wall, always use a stud finder to locate the studs beforehand.
- Carefully place the base pan support for the microwave inside the cabinet at the location where the microwave will be. This needs to be exactly at the centre of the cabinet shelf in order to safely distribute the load of the machine. Then drill two holes for the front of the base pan – these need to match the holes at the front of the base pan in their alignment.
- Insert the hold down brackets into the base pan by inserting them into the slots at the rear. Using a pencil, mark the four necessary holes needed to mount the pan into the cabinet. Drill out these holes. Then carefully mount the rear hold down brackets into the cabinet shelf.
- Carefully remove the front screws from the base pan, and gently slide the base pan out of the cabinet.
- Remove the glass turntable from inside the microwave (and anything else), then turn the machine upside down. Stand the base pan on top of the microwave. Carefully line up the four mounting holes on the base pan with the same mounting holes on the microwave itself. Attach the pan to the microwave using a screwdriver.
- Attach the back duct piece onto the rear of the microwave so the bottom piece of it can slide between the base pan and the microwave. Using the screwdriver, attach it.
- Attach the side duct piece onto the right hand side of the microwave so it fits between the base pan and microwave, as before in the previous step. Attach using the screwdriver in the same way.
- Plug in the microwave. Carefully set the machine into the cabinet shelf and push it slowly and cautiously backwards until it fits into place with the two rear brackets.
Where to Find a Built-in Microwave on eBay
In order to find a microwave on eBay, head first to the site homepage. From here, go to the links on the left hand side of the page, select Home and Garden and then Home and Garden again from the options in the drop down box. This will then open the Home and Garden listings page of eBay. From here, go to the left hand side of the page again, select the first option of Furniture & Living and then select Cookware, Dining & Bar. This will then load all the possible listings in that category. Click on Small Appliances from the options on the left hand side again. This will then open all the small appliances listings on the eBay site. The selection open for microwaves is on the left hand side again. Alternatively, use the eBay search engine to enter the details of the desired built-in microwave. Listings of this type can be found under different categories, so this may be useful and save time.
Doing a DIY installation of a built-in microwave can be simple and save money from having to employ a professional to do it, as long as the correct steps are followed. Individual microwave models will have their own specific installation instructions contained within the product manual, which should be followed. Any accompanying kit to aid installation should also be used. Be wary about installing freestanding units in a space made for a built-in unit, and if unsure at any stage of the process, consult with a professional. Use great care when installing a built-in microwave, and by following the steps above, having a stylish and functional unit in the kitchen is easily achievable.