If you have a microwave, then you most likely think it is one of the best pieces of technology known to humankind. The problem with microwaves is that microwave cooking can be very controversial, even though an estimated 90 percent of families use them for cooking or reheating food. They're handy, and the additional microwave features are helpful in a time crunch. Most houses already have microwaves built-in, but if you need to install an over-the-range-microwave, you have to make sure you're following the correct height range.
Over the Range Microwave Height
According to GE Appliances, an over-the-range microwave height should be a minimum of 66 inches mounting height from the floor to the top of the microwave. This 66-inch difference from the floor allows approximately 13 inches to 16 inches between the cooktop and the bottom front of the microwave.
If you have a current over-the-range microwave model, it can be installed over gas cooking products, including five-burner stoves. You just have to make sure that there is a 66-inch minimum microwave height from floor to the top of the microwave. If you install an over-the-range microwave correctly, you shouldn't have any issues with performance or warranty issues.
British Thermal Unit
Most importantly, you should not install an over-the-range microwave over any range or cooktop that has a combined British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating over 60,000 BTUs. This does not include oven/broiler BTUs. Although BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, it is not just used in the United Kingdom.
It's a measurement just like pounds, inches and degrees Fahrenheit. BTUs are everywhere — but mostly in the United States — and it's a way to measure energy. When you're counting BTUs, this is basically keeping track of how much energy an appliance can process to heat or cool a room.
Different Microwave Ranges
If you have an electric range, it requires zero inch sidewall spacing above counter height. It is recommended that you use up to 6 inches to avoid heat damage, though. When you purchase your electric range, make sure to look at the specific model installation instructions for the required dimensions of that particular model.
If you have a gas range, it requires 1 inch to 6 inches of sidewall spacing above the counter height for proper combustion. Just make sure you review the instructions for your specific model. Also, there should be 30 inches between the cooktop and bottom of the cabinet above, and zero inches for sides below the cooktop.
National Kitchen and Bath Association
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), the bottom of a microwave should be no more than 54 inches above the floor. This allows 18 inches of clearance above a typical range/counter height of 36 inches. They stand by this height difference because if a shorter person were to reach over their head to try and remove a hot dish from the microwave, this could be dangerous for them. Although they recommend this height, they also think it is up to the occupants of the home and what is considered sensible maximum installation height.
According to the International Residential Code (IRC) and Florida Building Code (FBC), a person should defer to the manufacturer's installation instructions when installing their microwave. Most manufacturer's default to 66 inches above the floor, and the FBC does not have a particular code requirement. Although one may want to install their microwave with convenient height requirements, manufacturers may have specific code requirements for a reason. Standards may also differ by brands: for example, the Samsung over-the-range microwave clearance may be higher or lower than required by another company.