Does Microwave Require Ventilation? And How Much?

Does Microwave Require Ventilation

If you want your kitchen organized at all times, keeping your electronic appliances out of sight is smart. You’ll hardly see a mess-free space when you let your appliances and kitchen essentials cram the countertop.

But is it smart to tuck kitchen appliances away? Especially your oven and microwave that exude heat? Does your microwave require ventilation to stay safe? These are a few factors to consider when adjusting your electronic appliances.

This article will explain if your microwave needs ventilation and how you can keep it safe. Stick around to know more.

Does a Microwave Require Ventilation?

Yes, a microwave requires enough ventilation to perform well and stay safe. When you put your microwave in an enclosed space, and it doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, it can overheat and pose multiple risks to the surroundings. If your microwave oven has built-in venting fans, provide sufficient breathing space to keep the heat under control.

However, if your microwave resides near a window on the countertop, it doesn’t need a separate ventilation system/fan.

A microwave oven heats the water and food particles and vibrates them to cook them. When this vibration continues, the microwave’s air gets warm and starts to expand. This expanded air needs an outlet not to overheat the enclosed chamber.

If your microwave sits in a kitchen cabinet or drawer, its hot air might not have an escape and result in overheating. That’s why microwave manufacturers recommend you not shove these appliances into narrow places and ensure sufficient ventilation.

Let’s say you have an over-the-top microwave that is not connected to your kitchen’s ventilation system. When you cook in this microwave for an extended period, a huge amount of warm air generates inside it and enters its surroundings. Cooking in such a microwave will quickly raise your kitchen’s temperature and risk other electronic appliances’ safety.

Therefore, never compromise your microwave’s well-being and give it some breathing space. The optimal ventilation space for an enclosed microwave is three inches on all sides, but the more, the merrier.

How Much Ventilation do you Need Around a Microwave?

Although the exact breathing space you provide to a microwave depends upon its size, a minimum of three inches of venting space should be the starting point.

If your microwave oven sits on the countertop, don’t shove it to the wall and leave some breathing space on its sides. When dealing with an enclosed microwave, you should be even more careful about this factor because its vents are probably blocked.

Let’s discuss different microwave settings in your kitchen to clarify this point further:

Over-the-Top Microwaves

Microwave ovens mounted above the kitchen stoves are usually hefty and more powerful than countertop appliances. If you have an over-the-top microwave oven, make sure it’s connected to the kitchen’s central ventilation system or range hood to avoid any risky situations.

Since these microwaves often have rear-facing venting fans, you can connect them to the range hood’s pipe to prevent unnecessary overheating and smoke emission.

Countertop Microwaves

Since countertop microwaves aren’t enclosed from all sides and are usually compact, you don’t have to worry about their ventilation. Leave three inches of space on all sides of your countertop microwave to keep its fans unblocked. If your microwave is right below your kitchen cabinetry, you can also use heat protection pads or cabinet lamination to protect it from heat damage.

Enclosed Microwaves

Enclosed microwave ovens are often at the risk of overheating and temperature damage. Placing an electronic appliance in the cabinet can block its venting fan, eventually stressing its heating element. Choose the kitchen cabinet carefully where you want to install the microwave. If your kitchen cabinetry is laminated, conceal it with a silicone pad to protect it from direct heat.

Leave a minimum of three inches around your enclosed microwave to avoid the risk of excessive heat buildup and ensure its fans work fine. You can also remove the kitchen cabinet’s back panel if you notice the microwave overheating despite the breathing space. If not possible, poking a few ventilation holes in its back panel can also work.

Is it Safe to Enclose a Microwave?

Yes, enclosing a microwave is safe if you follow some safety prerequisites and don’t block your appliance’s ventilation. Placing the microwave or oven in a kitchen cabinet often becomes a problem because people don’t understand its risks. But if you acknowledge your microwave’s ventilation needs and choose its spot accordingly, you can prevent these risks.

Here are a few points to consider when you enclose a microwave:

  • Ventilation

This is the most obvious and important one. When you tuck a microwave in the cabinet without checking if it has enough ventilation or not, it can be risky.

For example, if you cook in an enclosed microwave on high heat, hot air accumulates in the cabinet, eventually raising its temperature. That’s why providing a microwave with enough ventilation should be your priority.

  • Surrounding Objects

If you place other kitchen items along with the microwave in a cabinet, it can be hazardous. Microwave manufacturers recommend you clear these appliances’ surroundings so their venting fans work fine. It’s better to place a microwave in a cabinet and move other things away from it.

  • The Cabinet’s Material

Some kitchen cabinets are highly flammable while others are not; taking care of this factor is mandatory. If your kitchen cabinets are plain wood, you can cover them in a silicone heating pad or lamination layer to avoid heat damage. But if they’re made of non-combustible material, you should be concerned.

Can you Put a Microwave Inside a Cabinet?

Yes, you can put a microwave inside a cabinet without facing any significant risk. Tucking the microwaves in a kitchen cabinet is the easiest way of reducing the clutter in your place. If you’re worried that putting the microwave in a kitchen cabinet can pose some risks to the appliance or your kitchen, let those concerns go.

The only thing you should be careful about is your kitchen cabinet’s material and your ventilation while putting a microwave in it. Read this article to learn a few more tips about your microwave’s placement in the cabinet and do it right.

Final Thoughts

A microwave’s safety and performance determine its usability in your kitchen. When you ensure this helpful appliance has sufficient ventilation, you can use it for extended periods without worrying about its safety.

Your microwave oven needs sufficient ventilation to dispel the generated heat and prevent overheating. If your microwave seems to exude a significant amount of heat while working, you should pay attention to its ventilation. Leave a minimum of three inches of breathing space around your microwave, and don’t cram its surroundings with other objects.

It’s better if you place the microwave on your countertop, but you can put it in the kitchen cabinet as well if you can ensure good ventilation. If possible, connect your microwave’s exhaust pipe to your central range hood and avoid the unnecessary heat buildup in your kitchen. Don’t keep any flammable items near your enclosed microwave, and the rest is all good.

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