Microwave oven filter: Warning, the most boring question of the day
February 26, 2016 3:45 PM   Subscribe

I just purchased a new microwave oven that is bigger than my old, busted one.

The old microwave sat in a shelf that seems to have been built to fit it by the previous homeowners, and which now holds cookbooks.
I planned to place the new, bigger one on a countertop. But the manual says you must leave 4" of space in back of the oven to allow for hot air flow. (Also 2" on each side, which is not a problem.) What? There is no good place to leave a microwave that does not let it sit with its back flush against a wall. Plus, if I push the button, the whole thing moves back because it's not braced by a wall.
The Actual Question: Do I really need to pay attention to this instruction? Can't I just push it against a wall?
posted by flourpot to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
I have for about 27 years. YMMV.
posted by AugustWest at 4:03 PM on February 26, 2016

I suspect that the consequences of not following the advice are relatively minor, especially if you have clearance above the unit and allow at least some space for any rear-exhaust or intake fan to do its job. If you can't get it to not slide back without blocking off the rear vents, you might place a block of wood or or something behind it (positioned to not cover any vent holes, of course). YMMV.
posted by Aleyn at 4:53 PM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Give it one full inch and don't worry about it again.
posted by intermod at 8:13 PM on February 26, 2016

I have a compact microwave that wants to sit about 3" from the wall (so that the front of it is even with the cabinet above). I cut a piece of 2x4 down to the right width, tossed it on the counter, and plopped the nuke down in front of it. No more sliding when I push the buttons or close the door.

4" is probably overkill, but an inch or two probably is a good idea.
posted by DaveP at 3:19 AM on February 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

If pushed to the wall, my GE microwave frequently shut down especially with moist foods, and its sides felt warm. It would restart after unplugged for 45 minutes. I made a 2" spacer like DaveP's and no more problem.
posted by gregoreo at 5:01 AM on February 27, 2016

What do the vents at the back look like? Are they flush with the back panel or are they profiled— ie would they still flow if the unit was pushed against the back wall? Are there other vents?

If you're not completely blocking the only exhaust vent, I'd make a small spacer as recommended above and enjoy your new microwave. One full inch, same as in town.
posted by a halcyon day at 11:22 AM on February 27, 2016

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