Range Clearance

Question, what is the standard clearance for range top to microwave/fan bottom. The owner replaced the exhaust fan with a microwave fan unit and the clearance was such as you had to bend over to see range dials. I told the buyer it’s a good thing your short and don’t use any large pots or fry anything on back burner.:smiley:

I checked in IRC and online for more info but came up dry. The range documentation was not available to see recommended clearance.

The manufacturer has specifications on the height above a range if the microwave is equipped with an exhaust fan. Otherwise, it can be at the same height as the bottom of the upper cabinets. This is typically 54" above the finished floor. Hope this helps.

I have seen manufacturers with as little as 13" clearance from stove top. That would never work in my house, I need more room for my pots and pans.


I’m just going from memory here, when I installed mine a few years ago, it (the manufacture) called for 20" from the burners to the bottom of the built-in…Just went and looked up the stats in the GE manual. The electric range manual states, 30" to unprotected wood…24" if protected with flame retardant millboard and metal covering.

The GE microwave manual states 30" to the bottom of the cupboard that you are attaching the TOP of the microwave to. On my unit that would bring the bottom of the microwave about 14" above the stove…thats low! You would hardly get a canner pot under that! My cupboard is about 34" above the stove top, which puts the bottom of the microwave at about 18" clearance. Maybe you can find out what the exact specs are by searching the web for your specific make/model. GE’s is www.GEappliances.ca

From the 2003 IRC


M1901.1 Clearances. Freestanding or built-in ranges shall have a vertical clearance above the cooking top of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) to unprotected combustible material. Reduced clearances are permitted in accordance with the listing and labeling of the range hoods or appliances.

M1901.2 Cooking appliances. Household cooking appliances shall be listed and labeled and shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The installation shall not interfere with combustion air or accessibility for operation and servicing.

Department of Design, Housing and Apparel, University of Minnesota, St. Paul MN 55108-1011

Two studies were conducted to determine recommendations for placement of a microwave cooking appliance in residential kitchens. In the first study, 30 subjects completed tasks using microwave ovens located at heights typically used in kitchens and evaluated the safety and convenience of the tasks on a five-point rating scale. The ratings at the varied microwave oven heights differed signify cantly for both safety and convenience evaluations. In the second study, 24 par participants prepared a dinner meal. Data collected included the number, purpose, and sequence of trips between the work centers during the meal preparation. The utilization of a microwave oven did significantly change work-center relationships. Based on these studies, for safe use, the microwave oven should be located so that the interior food shelf or rack is no higher than the user’s shoulder; 58"-60", for most convenient use, the interior shelf or rack should be located from between 2 in. (5 cm) below the elbow to 10 in. (25 cm) above the elbow. The microwave oven center should be placed so that it is close to the mix center. When the microwave oven and range are combined in one center, this center should also be convenient to the sink center.

From this survey, one could say that the stove height is 36"
18" to the bottom of the upper cabinets, and that would place the bottom of the microwave oven at about 24" above the stove. I Would imagine that
58" to the bottom would be adequate.

Hope this helps.


It also depends on if it gas or electric, if it’s a gas range some of the new hot rod high BTU gas ranges have very specific requirements. I would always go with what the range manufacture recommends for clearance for the specific model of range. Also on these hot rod ranges the side clearances to combustibles, cabinets, are also very specific.

There was an extensive discussion on the subject over at inspectionnews.com a few years ago. The lowest anyone found at that time was 13" clearance. That’s still the lowest that I’ve found, but why one would want so little cooking space is beyond me. Maybe they eat out all the time.

What, no pics??

Thanks guys, sometimes a simple question can be more involved than you think. I knew that 16" was far too close. This is a very common problem I’ve seen too many times. The cost to replace a cabinet that is too old to find a match and then move the exhaust pipe and mounting bracket up could be costly. I reccommend re-installing an exhaust fan and use a counter top micro unless they are willing to spend the money, or risk their safety.

Under 11 3/4" and the stainless steel micro handle was over 200[FONT=Verdana]°F or 93[FONT=Arial]°C after just a few minutes SS handle absorbs heat quickly, be mindful and careful [/FONT][/FONT]

Barry, the second picture at 19" would be my preference too.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Good post Barry.
I am not a big fan of over the stove microwaves. The trade off to save a little counter space is not worth the risk of serious burn injuries.

I wish I would have thought about this before I bought the microwave to go over stove 2 months ago. I got it home and realized it would be too low (17 inches)unless I moved all the cabinets up.
So, its sitting in the garage taking up my work space.:frowning:

Ah, yes.
The ol’ microwave sitting in the garage.
Did you use to live in San Diego? :smiley:


Don’t feel bad, I bought a Microwave for my wife for Christmas to install above a new Range that I bought also, and faced the same problem.


  Remove the existing hood fan and the 13" or 16" upper cabinet.

Since you can’t match the cabinets, I would take the original cabinet removed and cut it down without doors in the finished product. Since the Microwave is 30" wide like the stove and cabinet, I would proceed to install the doorless cabinet back in above my new microwave and my wife can now display her old plates. Easy fix.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :smiley:

I have yet to the see a range manufacturer reccomend turning all burners on high for a “few” minutes. You are not supposed to use the range as a source of heat.:smiley:

Do you think the handle would still get hot a “few” inches higher???

PS Jaime, 17" may be ok per the manufacturers installation instructions. It seems common as long as there is 30" from the range to the bottom of the cabinets it would be ok.

Not San Diego, RR.
Southern Orange County-South Laguna, Laguna Nigel and Capistrano Beach. Wish I still had any of those properties.:slight_smile:

I like your idea, but have just listed house for sale-so it can stay in garage and new owners can deal with it.:slight_smile: