View Full Version : Over the counter microwave replacement

01-18-2011, 12:06 PM
Has anyone replaced an over the counter microwave? I'm wondering if it's a one man job or will I need help with the mounting of the unit. Most weigh in at about 50+ pounds which is kind of unwieldy considering the bulk.

01-18-2011, 12:18 PM
Has anyone replaced an over the counter microwave? I'm wondering if it's a one man job or will I need help with the mounting of the unit. Most weigh in at about 50+ pounds which is kind of unwieldy considering the bulk.

Just had to replace ours. You need two people. The microwave is mounted and held in place with two lag bolts that are in the cabinet that is on top of your microwave. Very hard to support 50 lbs with one arm and driving a screw way above your head with the other. You need at least 3 hands. I only have two!

01-18-2011, 12:45 PM
I agree that it is much easier with two people. I have done it alone by blocking up the old unit from the stove top by placing a moving pad on the stove then using a stool and some 2X4 blocking. Then remove the supporting bolts and sliding the old unit out. Install the new one the same way.

01-18-2011, 01:59 PM
If you have to do it yourself, slide the range out, and you can support the new unit on your shoulder.

01-18-2011, 03:37 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll let you know how it went.

01-18-2011, 04:44 PM
Just had mine done by Home Depot, they had 2 men come out and the installation was free. They also don't charge tax if they install the unit, couldn't figure that one out. :BigApplause:

01-18-2011, 07:48 PM
No tax when it is part of the real estate.

Cathy H
01-18-2011, 09:15 PM
Many older units are wired directly to the unit but the new units require that an electrical outlet be installed above the unit for the plug. You can use the wiring that feeds the old unit.

01-18-2011, 11:09 PM
One more thing to watch out for: Virtually all over-counter microwaves are the exact same width, so they fit nicely into the original space, but the height varies by as much as couple of inches. This may pose a problem if you have a finished backsplash area with tile, etc. The new unit may leave an unsightly gap at the top of the backsplash or there may not be enough space to mount the microwave flush to the wall.

Old, old rule: measure everything first!

01-19-2011, 09:26 AM
Old, old rule: measure everything first!

Measure twice, cut once.


01-19-2011, 10:00 AM
I was with Whirlpool Corp. for 25 years and one of my last assignments was managing the customer service end of the business in all the western states (this included service personnel, technicians). Although not technically competent myself I did accompany technicians to many customer's homes and either observed or assisted in a lot of repairs. I did have technicians who could replace an over-the-range micro by themselves but they always had some "specialized" tools they had devised. Usually this combined a perfectly sized milk crate to hold the micro and a wealth of experience. Therefore, I agree that this is 99% of the time a two-person job.

WORD OF WARNING: When removing the old unit be extremely careful to avoid the capacitor inside the control panel. These store LARGE amounts of electricity and if not properly discharged before you come in contact they may seriously injure you or can even cause death. If you know the unit needs replacement work only on the exterior. Good luck and be careful. These are NOT toys.

01-21-2011, 08:00 PM
I'll keep a wide berth with the electricals on the inside. I'll handle the exterior only. Thanks for the warning. Every over the counter I could find on line is larger than the one I'm replacing. I found a few that were only an inch or slightly more higher than the old one. I'll have to see how the template lines up when I pull the old one out. If it overlaps the tiled backsplash, I may have to get creative.

Jim 9922
01-23-2011, 12:57 PM
Having replaced 3 units in my lifetime I suggest:
1. 4 hands much better than 2, especially if the fit is tight
2. Protect the surface below the unit with something heavy in case something drops, or better yet move the stove if applicable. Break a glass topped stove and you'll need a new stove too. Or chip the paint from a dropped tool and your wife will never be happy with the damage counter or stove again.
3. Replace with same mfgr and nearest replacement model. The odds are the old mounting brackets will work. Better yet remove the old one before buying the replacement to see whats really there and shop to match.
4 If you have an outside vent be sure that the vent outlet in the replacement is an exact match. Its no fun cutting new cabinet shelve openings or wall openings.
5. Double masking tape the cabinet edges around the opening to protect from possible scratches when trying to fit the new unit in.

01-23-2011, 05:28 PM
Measure twice, cut once.


I already cut it three times and it is still to short.

01-23-2011, 06:45 PM
I already cut it three times and it is still to short.

"Measure once, cut twice".........that's always been my motto, which explains why I screw up on a number of things! :1rotfl:


01-23-2011, 08:12 PM
What is it with the microwave replacements? Our home is only 6 years old and before we bought it was rented and really not lived in full time. We just had to replace ours too.:faint:..wish I had known about home depot .Probably would have saved some $$
Lynn..can't wait for April to be back...in the ice and snow here in Ct:)

01-25-2011, 04:32 PM
Buying the unit was worse than shopping a mattress. Very hard to compare. The same manufacturer has same models with multiple suffixes. It's almost impossible to determine the differences. Different retailers stock different models. So I went online. One search showed 379 or so different models. Unbelievable. Then the ratings and customer complaints online were numerous. "It didn't work out of the box, it died in one year, it died in two years etc". I checked warranties and found that LG warrants the magnetometer 10 years, GE 5 years and most every other manufacturer 1 year. Thinking the 5 and 10 year warranted units were the way to go, I found complaints that the warranties covered the part only. Labor could cost up top $200. So after much grinding of teeth, We bought a Kenmore. I think Sears would be easier to do battle with if needed than GE or the other brands. Then the fun began. All over the counter units are higher than the one I was replacing so the new one would overlap the tiled backsplash. How do you resolve that? I thought of a piece of plywood over the drywall to make up for the tile thickness, and also cutting the tile. Cutting was out of the question. I finally used metal washers on the new frame bringing it out about 5/16 of an inch. That worked well. The other issue I had was the back wall template was supposed to butt up against the upper cabinet. That wouldn't work because the area above the microwave is recessed and the frame for the unit had to be moved down and the upper template had to be adjusted because the unit was moved forward to compensate for the backsplash. It's now installed and functioning. Kept me busy for awhile.

01-27-2011, 01:49 PM
One word... sheesh! Wow, that turned into a big job. It's Miller time :beer3:

01-27-2011, 05:24 PM
Miller time is on.

01-30-2011, 12:15 PM
You will probably need tow persons ...BUT there is a way to replace the microwave or a disposal for that matter with one person.

Just get the tire jack from your care and a couple pieces of wood scraps from a new construction area. Use the jack to hold the unit in place while you remove it and then again when you install a new one. Easy ....

03-24-2011, 01:49 PM
nice info, it really inspire