Florida Microwave Oven That Vents to the Outside

Answered by Jeffrey ~ October 22, 2010 ~ No Comments

My Pensacola, Florida, kitchen gets steamy enough without my microwave/vent unit blowing smoke and steam back into the room. To replace it with a microwave/hood combination that vents to the outside, I assume a duct has to be run through the cabinet over the range and up through the attic. If that's correct, what's a ballpark kitchen remodeling figure for a microwave/convection/hood unit and the job of creating an exhaust to the outside?

Nicole ~ Pensacola, Florida

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Nicole, the first thing you should check is to see if your current microwave has the option of being rear or top vented. A lot of nicer microwave ovens offer the option of recirculating the exhaust through a charcoal filter or having exterior ventilation installed. Some builders install the microwave oven set up for recirculation and offer the exterior ventilation as an option and if your microwave is built to accept all options, you can save on the cost of purchasing a new microwave. If you have the booklet that came with the microwave, it should tell you in there or you can look on the manufacturer's website by using the model number.

The ideal situation would be if your range is located on an exterior wall. If that is the case and your microwave can vent to the rear, then you can avoid taking up cabinet space, but if the microwave can only vent from the top, then you would go up into the cabinet and elbow to the outside. Either way your costs should be fairly low as you wouldn't need any interior drywall work and an HVAC contractor should be able to do everything by installing a little ductwork and an outside wall cap. I would think that those costs would be somewhere around $200-$400, and could be on the low end if you use a smaller contractor.

If your range is not on an outside wall, then you are either going to have to go into the ceiling and over to an outside wall or up into the attic and vent at the roof. If you have a one story home then going into the attic and venting at the roof should still be a fairly low cost, but if you have a two story home, then you are talking about drywall repair to run the ductwork. If that is the case and your floor joists are running the right way, it might be less expensive and less work to run across your kitchen above the ceiling and to an exterior wall.

A one story home and running up to the roof would be about $300-$500, but a two story home that requires drywall repair on the second floor or the kitchen ceiling could easily run to $800 or more depending on what the contractor encounters, and that price doesn't take into account any special paints or wallpapering you might have to replace. None of these prices include a microwave either. If you can't use your existing microwave, there is a wide price range for a new microwave that can accept an exterior vent; I would figure $800-$1,200 for a nice one, but you can find them for less.

I think the way you should approach this situation is to first find out if you can use your existing microwave and then get three estimates from small but reputable HVAC contractors around Pensacola to run the ductwork for ventilation. It doesn't cost anything to get estimates and by looking at the actual job-site they may be able to give you your most economical solutions. The advantage you have is that many contractors in Florida need work and you'll probably get some pretty good prices.

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