A drop-in stove is installed within the framework of a kitchen's cabinets, in an opening custom cut for the size of that particular stove. When you replace an old drop-in stove with a new model, the cabinets must be altered by a cabinetmaker if the new stove doesn't have the same dimensions as the old one. Replacing the the stove with a regular, freestanding range can be a less expensive alternative. Choose a range that's the same height as your countertops and no wider than the space between the existing cabinets.
Preparing to Convert Drop in Range to Slide In
To begin the process of converting a drop in range to a slide in range, shut off the power to the stove at the circuit breaker box. If you're unsure whether the power is off, turn off the home's main electrical supply. Then, use a screwdriver to take out the screws holding the decorative trim under the oven door and remove the trim.
Next, remove the anti-tip screws securing the sides of the range to the cabinets by lifting the stovetop on top of the range and removing the screws underneath. The screws are located near the top of the side walls. If the top doesn't lift, remove the screws by opening the cabinets on each side and removing the screws from the side walls of the cabinet's interior.
Removing the Drop in Stove
Now it's time to remove the drop in stove completely by pulling it out of the opening in the cabinet. If the oven door is removable, remove it and the oven racks before taking out the stove. This makes the appliance lighter and easier to maneuver.
Finally, disconnect the stove from the junction box behind the stove by removing the wire nuts, the small plastic caps that hold the wires together, and untwisting the wires.
Restructuring the Counters for a Slide in Range
Now you'll see the rectangular cutout in the countertop where the drop-in stove rested. The countertop behind this rectangle needs to be removed. Use a T-square to draw a line from the back corners of the rectangular cutout straight back to the wall, and then use the rotary tool to cut along the line until you reach the wall. If the countertop between the cuts is still attached to the wall, pull it away from the wall with a crowbar, and finish up by sanding the cut edges smooth.
If the opening for the stove doesn't go all the way to the floor, draw lines from the bottom corners of the front opening to the floor. Cut and remove the wood the same way you cut the countertop.
Replacing the Cooktop With a Range
Now that the space is large enough for a free-standing range, it can easily be installed by sliding it into place. Position the new stove in front of the open space between the cabinets and plug it in. If there's no outlet in this area, call an electrician to have one installed.
Then, push the new stove as far into the open space as it will go. The higher back of a standard range should cover the cuts in the counter and any unfinished wall behind the range.