Stainless steel range hood in a contemporary kitchen

Replacing an Over-The-Range Microwave with a Range Hood

If you’re looking to boost the ventilation in your kitchen, a range hood may be a great option for you. While over-the-range microwaves offer the flexibility of being able to cook and vent in the same appliance, range hoods typically offer higher CFMs (cubic feet per minute) for powerful venting. Available in vented and ventless options, range hoods are a worthwhile purchase if you want to replace your over-the-range microwave. Read on to learn how to replace an over-the-range microwave with a range hood. 

Stainless steel Maytag® range hood in a light green kitchen Stainless steel Maytag® range hood in a light green kitchen

Why Replace Your Over-The-Range Microwave With a Range Hood?

Range hoods typically offer more air ventilation when compared to over-the-range microwaves. Increased ventilation can mean more grease, smoke and odors can be trapped by the range hood. This may help to prevent those substances from settling on kitchen surfaces.

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Replacement tip

Consider your personal style, kitchen size and your cooking preferences when thinking about replacing your over-the-range microwave with a range hood. The best option will suit both your style and kitchen needs. 

Stainless steel Maytag® over-the-range microwave Stainless steel Maytag® over-the-range microwave

How to Remove an Over-The-Range Microwave

This project is a two-person job, both for removing the microwave as well as installing a range hood. Read on for a general overview on the microwave removal process, followed by a range hood installation guide.

  • Electric drill or screwdriver

  • Socket wrench (if applicable)

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Step 1: Empty the upper cabinet

Your over-the-range microwave plugs into the cabinet above the range. This is also where venting connects to the unit’s vent fan if it has been vented through the wall or roof. Empty out this cabinet to clear the way so you can disconnect power, venting and bolts.

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Step 2: Remove venting (optional)

If your over-the-range microwave has external venting, there may be a metal duct that connects from the top of the appliance, into the cabinets and through the wall or ceiling. Unscrew the venting from the damper assembly.

Some microwaves are configured for recirculation installation and can be installed without venting through the wall or roof. If this is the case with your appliance, you can skip this step.

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Step 3: Unplug microwave

Disconnect your microwave’s power cord from the outlet.

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Step 4: Unscrew bolts

With the help of another person supporting the weight of the microwave, use an electric drill or screwdriver to unscrew the two bolts that screw through the bottom of the cabinet into the roof of the microwave.

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Step 5: Rotate and remove microwave

With two or more people, slowly rotate the microwave downward then lift it off the mounting plate to remove the appliance. Gently set it down on a flat, protected surface.

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Step 6: Remove mounting plate

The screws or bolts that hold your microwave’s mounting plate are typically located in the four corners of the plate. Remove the screws to detach the plate and set it aside.

Maytag® range hood in a modern kitchen Maytag® range hood in a modern kitchen

How to Install a Range Hood

Use the following as a general guide for range hood installation, making sure to refer to your appliance’s user’s manual. This is a two-person job–it also requires electrical work, so it’s best to consult with an electrician for this project.

  • Wall mount range hood

  • Metal ducts

  • Wire connectors

  • Caps

  • Building wire

  • Caulk

  • Square PVC trim (optional)

  • Duct or foil tape (optional)

  • Power drill

  • Twist drill bits

  • Level

  • Tape measure 

  • Screwdriver

  • Wire strippers

  • Cutting pliers

  • Caulk gun

  • Oscillating tool/Reciprocating saw

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Step 1: Choose range hood placement

Most range hoods are packaged with a paper mounting template that can help you determine the best venting path. Measure the center point of the wall and tape the template to the wall where you intend to install the range hood. Use the template to mark the spot where you will place the vent hole.

If your range hood packaging didn’t provide a mounting template, you can use measuring tape to choose the venting location.


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Step 2: Inspect vent location

Cut out a small section of drywall to inspect the wall for plumbing or electrical obstructions before you begin cutting an entire vent hole. If pipes and wiring are in the way, you may need the help of a licensed technician to create a new vent path.

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Step 3: Cut interior vent hole

Using an oscillating tool or reciprocating saw, cut the interior vent hole. The venting hole needs to be at least 6 inches wide, but you may want to cut a larger hole to provide better visibility while connecting electrical wires. 

Once your vent hole has been cut, use an extra-long drill bit to drill four locator holes around the edges of the interior vent hole to help you create a connecting vent hole on your home’s exterior.

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Step 4: Prepare exterior vent hole

If your home has smooth siding, use your oscillating tool or reciprocating saw to connect the four exterior locator holes in a circle before cutting the exterior vent hole. Apply caulk to the inner lip of the vent cap and position it inside the hole. Screw the vent cap securely in place and caulk again around the exterior to create a tighter seal.

For homes with lap siding or an uneven exterior, cut a square around the hole and place PVC trim around the vent hole. Secure the vent cap to the trim using caulk and screws.

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Step 5: Connect damper

If your range hood includes an interior damper, place it in the interior vent hole. Determine how much ducting you’ll need by measuring the space between the interior and exterior dampers. Cut the necessary amount of ducting, making sure that the ducting fits the space. Mark the outside of the interior damper to indicate where you will need to secure the duct to the interior damper, then tape it with duct or foil tape.

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Step 6: Connect wiring

Many range hoods can’t just be plugged into an outlet as they require hard wiring. If your space is not already equipped for hard wiring, you may need to schedule a service with a licensed technician. Refer to the installation instructions for your model.

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Step 7: Secure range hood

With the help of another person, move the range hood into place with the damper and ducting secured to the vent hole. Remove the grease filter before you begin mounting the hood. Secure screws through the mounting slots of the range hood, tightening the upper screws first. Check the placement of your range hood and make sure the appliance is level before completely tightening the screws.

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Step 8: Finish wiring

Refer to the installation instructions for your model to finish the wiring step. If you’re not experienced with running and connecting electrical wiring, consult an electrician to complete the process.

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Step 9: Complete range hood installation

Reassemble the filter screens, vent covers or vent fan. Turn on the range hood and ensure it is running properly.

Stainless steel Maytag® range hood in a bright kitchen Stainless steel Maytag® range hood in a bright kitchen

Does the Type of Vent Hood Matter for Height Above the Range?

Range hoods are available in an array of sizes that can accommodate most kitchens. Wall mount and island hoods tend to be taller, ranging from 24” to 29”. The best way to select the right hood type is to measure the space above your range before shopping for range hoods. Learn more about how to install an over the range microwave.

What if I Don’t Have Enough Range Hood Clearance Above the Stove?

Shorter hood types, like an under-the-cabinet or range hood insert style, are good options if you are working with less space. These types of hoods typically range from 4” to 18” tall.

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Get Powerful Venting for Your Kitchen
with Maytag® Range Hoods

Maximize the ventilating power in your kitchen by finding a range hood that fits with your lifestyle to help keep your kitchen clean. Available in a variety of sizes, select Maytag® range hoods provide the option to filter and recirculate air or expel it outside to meet the needs of your kitchen. Whatever Maytag® range hood you choose, you can trust it has the power and durability to help clear the air in your kitchen for years. 

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