How high should that Microwave be?

By
Real Estate Broker with RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago
http://actvra.in/7D

How high should that Microwave be?


We've all seen homes where a fire is waiting to happen and lately while showing I've just run into a huge selection of homes with this installation problem.  Some microwaves were barely 8" above the back burner of the stove in an older home with an oversized cabinet over the stove.  What makes people think this is safe?

So, since I really never investigated 'how high', I decided to call the village to talk about current building code.  Guess what, there is none!  Talked to the Fire Marshall who said there should be but at this time there isn't an official height to protect the public against themselves.

microwave stove clearance,Any idiot with a screwdriver and rudimentary electrical skills can install a microwave above the stove and burn their house down.  The pics here are from a foreclosure where the bottom of the microwave was literally melted.  Handle was heat mangled and they started the counter top on fire.  Gee, ya think it was too low at that point?

Depending on the manufacturer there doesn't seem to be a safety standard height recommended only as 'high as possible'.  It also mentions the 'height of the operators'.  So, if you are 'short in stature or height challenged' that makes it OK to lower the microwave and burn the house down?  Don't think so.

So evidently I am the only rational person that is deciding to speak out on this topic.  No lower than the bottom of the cabinets on either side of the stove which is 30" from the top of your cabinets.  My solution is to remove the cabinet above the stove and rehang it higher giving you your needed clearance.  It won't line up with the upper cabinet height but it's better than burning down your house!

Another solution (not mine BTW) but not very cost effective is to take your cabinet to a cabinet maker andmicrowave stove clearance, have it cut down.  Yeah right, as I don't have any idea how much this would cost and most older cabinets are not even wood.  A cabinet maker would laugh you out of his shop when you ask him to re-manufacture your 80's 'euro' style beauty.

 

 

Any home inspectors out there with any suggestions, please feel free to chime in with any advice for homeowners too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lyn Sims    Schaumburg IL Area    Northwest Chicago Suburbs  ●  (847)230-7324

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Comments 13 New Comment

Rainmaker
616,385
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Lyn, Just wrote about this same issueyesterday. You mention code and that is where people get misled. With something like a microwave - range hood all most always the installation parameters fall onto the manufacturers specifications...if there are any. Like those other two home inspector guys said above these installations are often retrofits into spaces neverdesigned to accommodate the microwave. I have seen melted units on a few occasions and many more that just seem to be way too close to the cook top. Bottom line the farther away, the better or as I said yesterday keep the hood and have a separate microwave.

December 06, 2010 10:13 AM
Rainmaker
792,949
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg Homes
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

Sorry Jim I didn't see your post.  This has been in my hopper for some time & I finally got a good pic to add to the post the other day.  It's just rampant in my area.

Jay:  If there are shorter folks or kids alike, I agree you should have a stand alone in another area away from the stove.  Just safer.

Sue:  Fix that thing before your counter top looks like the photos.

I like the convenience of an above the stove microwave but I'm not short by any means.  I can see it being a problem with heavy casseroles, etc.  Could be dangerous but I think melting the underside of the unit is just stupid.

December 06, 2010 11:03 AM
Rainer
146,503
Myhang Gibson
Oakville Mortgage Agent
Myhang Gibson (Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres)

Lyn, great post.. this is something I've not paid attention to before. I think the solution with removing the cabinet above the stove may sound like it makes sense, but in terms of practicality.. especially for shorter individuals (like myself) would not be useful. So, I suppose having a stepping stool close by is also better than burning down your house!

December 06, 2010 12:49 PM
Rainmaker
1,196,894
Michelle Gibson
REALTOR
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc.

Lyn - Great topic and warning!  It's amazing how so many people don't have common sense. 

December 07, 2010 10:20 AM
Rainmaker
792,949
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg Homes
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

Michelle:  No kidding.  Myhang had a good idea for a step stool also.

December 07, 2010 10:25 AM
Rainmaker
792,949

Lyn Sims

Schaumburg Homes
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Lyn's blog gives market comments, updates and real estate news about the surrounding communities in the Chicago Northwest Suburbs near Schaumburg IL.



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