Do microwave ovens need ventilation?

Modular kitchens are compact and confined in space! That’s what makes them attractive. Having small kitchens, many homemakers confine their electric appliances like microwaves into small spaces! Yet, while doing so, you must never sacrifice on appliance ventilations! Do microwave ovens need ventilation? Yes, all microwaves do!

If you do not keep microwaves vented, repercussions could be dearly. Both cost and time wise! So, in this post, we’ll see types of microwave ventilation systems, which is better – internal vent or external vent, costs & durability involved, and more. Read this guide till the end. You ought to get better insights!

Do microwave ovens need ventilation?

Do microwave ovens need ventilation

Definitely, yes! Be it any microwave oven – countertop, over-the-range, cabinet microwave, or any other! All microwaves are needed to be vented. It’s something you cannot escape from.

All microwaves have a heat-releasing device named Magnetron installed inside. It is a self-regulating microwave oscillator. As heat is being released inside the microwave, it needs to escape out of it as well. That’s how your microwave cools down when not in use. These heat-escaping tasks are performed by air ventilation systems.

Be it any electric kitchen appliance, they have vents! And, microwave ovens are no exception to it!

Why do microwave ovens need ventilation?

All heat-generating kitchen appliances need ventilation!

Microwave is an appliance that generates heat. It emits microwave radiation and thereby heats up or cooks the food. These microwaves do heat up foodstuff. However, not all microwaves go into your food!

As microwaves cook foodstuff inside out, the heat reaches a bit slower. In the process, the appliance gets moderately heated up. So, after you take out the cuisine, there is still some heat revolving inside the oven. This heat needs to be escaped through venting!

Be Cautious ! : The extreme heat inside can damage the microwave! Keep the appliance vented always.

If the heat doesn’t find its way out, it hampers the microwave’s efficiency and safety. Also, not good for your monthly-budget pocket! For anyone, it’s better to install smooth air venting than spending on microwave repairing or replacing tasks.

What happens if microwave doesn’t have ventilation?

What happens if microwave doesn’t have ventilation

Proper ventilation keeps the microwave working! It helps to keep the appliance cool after its use. This in turn improves kitchen appliance operational efficiency and durability. What if microwave doesn’t have ventilation? What could be the repercussions?

Blocking vents lead to microwave overheating. While you cook food inside the microwave, lots of heat, odor, steam, and smoke is generated. All these elements need to be vented. Otherwise, odors & steam can create a stinky smell inside the still-sitting oven. This smell can gradually spread inside your kitchen too.

Also, a lot of heat inside will get absorbed by Magnetron – the thing that releases microwaves. As a result, the appliance can run poorly, develop a fault, or damage as well. Sometimes, constant heat-trapping can also lead to appliance failure. You might need to repair or replace it in the short or long term.

That’s why microwave manufacturers emphasise on microwave ventilation. Take the advice seriously! That’s how you increase savings in the future as you save on costs!

How much ventilation do you need around a microwave?

How much ventilation do you need around a microwave

A countertop microwave has vents on side, back, or on-the-top. On the other hand, an over-the-range microwave generally has vents on the top-front.

In general terms, leave at least 3 inches of gap where vents are! It’s ideal. Yet, refer to your owner’s manual, it tells the best thing to do! Every model and design is unique, so are the venting requirements. Even a microwave inside the cabinet needs proper vents, leave 3 inches of space there as well.

The minimum clearance requirements are also written there in the user’s manual! At all times, it’s best to follow them to ensure proper airflow.

Do countertop microwaves need to be vented?

Yeah! After all, it’s a heating appliance! So, countertop microwave models need to be vented. You must keep air clearance on sides, top, and at the back.

Follow these short instructions:

  • At least 1 inch clearance at the rear-side
  • At least 3 inch clearance on the sides
  • In the best case, leave the top-space all open! Do not place cookbooks, kitchen gloves, or other items above it.
  • If placed inside a cabinet, at least leave a 3 inch gap from the front door. It will avoid accidental fall-offs.
  • If placed next to stove, at least leave a 2 inch gap in between.
  • Never pull out the microwave’s feet. Not good for air ventilation!

Remember above tips for countertop ventilation. And, you’re good-to-go!

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Does Over the range microwave need to be vented?

Yeah! Over-the-range (OTR) microwaves also need to be vented. The over-the-range microwaves are located above your stovetop.

As they’re above the stovetop, they probably be in contact with maximum heat! As you know, naturally, there is high heat around heat-generating appliances like stovetop, microwaves, etc. So, air ventilation is something they cannot skip!

Also, if one uses a microwave frequently in a day, the need is more! The more you use a heat-generating appliance, the more it generates heat! And, the more it requires to ventilate over-and-over!

In a nutshell, Over the range microwave too requires air ventilation.

How are over-the-range microwaves vented?

You can install both exhaust systems or recirculating vents for OTR. Any of these two would work! A right venting always improves energy-efficiency of appliances. 

A ductless recirculating system has a charcoal filter and exhaust system. Both are built-in. It pulls out the heat through its fan situated at the bottom, in most cases. It then blocks the airborne toxins, odor, smoke, & pollutants inside the filter. After which, it recirculates the air back into the kitchen through its exhaust system.

Another is the external exhaust system. In this case, the microwave expels hot air outside through a ductwork. The bad air is pulled outside of the kitchen through this external exhaust fan. The heat is released into the outside atmosphere and not inside the kitchen’s atmosphere. One needs to call a technician to install this system.

Microwave ventilation requirements

Microwave ventilation requirements

Recirculating vents are in-built inside the microwave! So, they are easier to install. A technician will carefully set up this microwave inside your kitchen.

An external exhaust system is a bit tricky! One installs ducts through the home walls to fit an exhaust fan. So, certain conditions are required to be met. What are they? Let’s learn below:

Comply with building code

As you drill a hole on the building’s wall, you need to obtain permission. One needs to conform to building code and standards before work starts. It ensures whether it’s safe to run a line through the wall or not.

You need to avoid danger zones while creating a hole. Is it safe for your building construction? Is it safe for water-carrying building pipes? While you apply to get permission, such questions are answered!

Choosing a right spot

As you’re creating an external exhaust through the wall, choose the installation spot cleverly! Later, you cannot easily choose to move the microwave’s place somewhere else inside your kitchen. Once it is fixed there with an exhaust system, it’s permanently fixed there! Unless and until, you wish to take permissions more often.

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Final Thoughts

To conclude, no doubt, microwave ovens need ventilation! All microwaves need to be ventilated.

System can be any – recirculating vent or exhaust fan system! Both systems have their pros & cons.

A recirculating duct might need to be replaced every 6 months, yet, it’s cheap and easy-to-install! A few filters are washable too. On the other hand, an exhaust system needs to conform to building code, installation is hard, and is expensive. Yet, it’s long-lasting and effective when it comes to ventilating air!

So, choose any system that best fits your price budget, convenience, and requirements. Refer to this short post to distinguish between two systems – recirculating vent vs external exhaust fan! Buy wisely to buy maximum comfort alongside!

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