Microwave Built In Trim Kits

Most consumers will have a microwave oven in their homes these days with many of them sitting on the counter or perhaps on a side table within easy reach of the kitchen table. Microwave ovens are extremely useful to rapidly heat up leftovers, cook a variety of foods and heat many different kinds of prepared meals that have been designed specifically for heating in microwave ovens.

Microwave ovens are also very energy efficient as well compared to heating foods in the oven  and they save a great deal of time. However they do take up a lot of room, particularly if they are sitting on top of the kitchen counter. As a result many consumers are installing their microwave ovens into their cupboards and treating them as another major appliance in the kitchen.

Placing the oven in a cupboard that is open with lots of air circulation around the unit is perfectly safe, since the fan in the microwave oven will disburse any heated air evenly without any surface becoming overheated.

Why Use a Trim Kit

Trim kits are required for safety and esthetic reasons when a decision is made to enclose the oven on all sides. If a solid surface with no gaps around the sides is used there is no possibility for air circulation  and therefor no cooling effect possible. Some ovens, particularly convection ovens can become quite hot and there is a distinct possibility overheating and fire without the proper precautions being taken.

A proper trim kit ensures that all hot surfaces have a metal protective shield between the oven and the wooden cupboard; they also ensure that hot air driven by the ovens fan is disbursed into the kitchen and not bottled up inside the cupboard. Trim kits can be installed by consumers or they can arrange for a professional installer to complete the installation on their behalf.

Trim kits also improve the esthetics of the microwave and the surrounding cupboards. Instead of a black hole with a microwave sitting in the middle, you have a tailor made matching trim kit that provides that professional look to the installation. There are often various colors and finishes available, however you must purchase the trim kit that is specifically designed for your microwave.

Tools That Will Be Needed

If you plan to install the trim kit and microwave yourself there are a number of tools that will be needed. these tools are pretty common and most home owners who tackle do it yourself projects will have them readily available.  In addition we assume that there is an electrical outlet in the compartment were the microwave will be installed. If not, you will need an electrician to install a new circuit to this location.  These tools include:

  • Screw driver, usually a Philips
  • Marking tool such as a pencil
  • An Awl or punch
  • Scissors
  • Drill with various size drill bits
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Straight edge
  • Jig saw if you need to cut a new opening or  enlarge the existing opening

Safety Considerations

There are a number of safety considerations that consumers should be aware of.

  • Wear proper protective eye covers
  • Turn the power off to the microwave before removal and installation
  • Ask a friend to assist in lifting the microwave into the opening once the kit is installed.

Practical Issues Regarding Installation of a Microwave Trim Kit

Many homes that are designed for a built in microwave will already have a shelf in place with the electrical wiring already installed. If there is an existing microwave in place that you are replacing, you will need to remove it as well as the existing trim kit. It is unlikely that your existing trim kit is going to fit the new microwave due to dimension changes.

You may also have to enlarge the opening to accommodate the new microwave and the new trim kit. Follow all of the instructions and wear protective eye gear while using the jig saw to enlarge the opening.

There is going to be lots of dust when you enlarge the opening. Most consumers will find that you will have to clean everything after you are finished due to the fine dust that floats through the air. If you rig up a vacuum to capture this dust while sawing you can reduce a lot of the dust.

Trim Kit Air Flow

Aside from improving the esthetics, the most important function of a trim kit is to ensure good air flow around the microwave with proper intake and outtake of air from inside the cavity were the microwave sits. This avoids heat build up around the unit prolonging the life of the microwave and protecting the cavity from overheating.

Once the Trim kit is properly installed, test the air flow by holding a piece of paper over the intake to confirm air flow. You can do the same at the outtake location to also ensure that air is moving properly.

Do It Yourself Installation vs. Professional Installation

Trim kits are fairly expensive to start with and the cost of installation can add quite a bit to the total cost of the microwave trim kit combination. As a result many home owners will do their own installations.

Do it yourself instructions are available with the product as well as online. Most consumers who are handy with tools can accomplish this task quite easily. However if you do not have the time or just do not want to install the trim kit on your own, your store were you purchased the trim kit can usually put you in touch with a handy man who can perform this task for you.

Summary

Trim kits for built in microwaves really make a difference in terms of providing an esthetic improvement to your kitchen. What we found surprising is the cost of these trim kits. Depending on the choices you make, trim kits can cost almost as much as the microwave you are installing in the built in opening.

They are relatively easy to install, however you may need to enlarge the opening if you are removing an existing microwave oven.

 

 

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