Putting a microwave beneath an induction cooktop

needinfo1December 17, 2012

We have a twenty old 30" dual fuel JennAir downdraft range we want to replace before we install new contertops. We have thoroughly looked at every different option we can think of for replacing the JennAir other than induction, so I am just starting to investigate this.

On another wall than the JennAir we currently have a 27" wide built-in with the microwave on top and the oven on the bottom. This is still fine but will need to be replaced eventually. We could do the replacing now if it made sense in the bigger picture.

We are empty nesters, and, for the most part there are just the two of us. But, we also have family in town so I am almost always the host of gatherings for 15 or so, including small children. And, the little grandkids are here quite a bit. Because we do host larger groups, I still want to have two ovens somewhere, so just eliminating one oven isn't a consideration.

What I am thinking about is putting an induction cooktop with a telescoping downdraft in the space where the JennAir range currently is. Then, I would install the microwave beneath the cooktop. (I haven't even looked at the size configuration with the venting to see if I could get a microwave to fit in the space along with the downdraft.) If it works, and if we did this, for the other wall we could just get a set-up with two double ovens to replace the current configuration of microwave and oven.

Does this make sense? And, are there inherent problems with having a microwave installed in a cabinet underneath a cooktop? Would I need to get a built-in microwave, or could I just a have a shelf built in the cabinet and plug one in?

I am trying to look at all of the issues and costs involved with all possibilities (the other choice is putting in a gas range in place of the JennAir and installing an exterior venting hood).

This induction option would involve getting a new cabinet custom made for the cooktop and microwave, but I wouldn't have to pay the costs of trying to install a range hood to vent outside (something that isn't particularly easy or cheap to do with our current setup). I still need to examine all the costs involved and the benefits of both options, but now I am wondering if there is a good reason not to put a microwave under an induction cooktop.

This is not a kitchen remodel, and we don't want to turn it into one; it is more of an upgrade of some tired appliances and counters.


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I think you can put whatever you want under it as long as you meet the airflow requirements in the specs.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 3:09PM
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I'm not sure you're going to have room underneath with a downdraft in the cabinet.

Have you thought about a convection microwave or Advantium above a normal oven? That would give you two ovens for those times when you need it.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Induction cooktops need quite a bit of air clearance beneath them. It will be tight as it is with the downdraft innards. No way will a MW be at a comfortable height to use by the time you get through with that.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 4:47PM
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"Have you thought about a convection microwave or Advantium above a normal oven?"

I am not familiar with a convection microwave or an Advantium. Are these actually dual purpose and can be used as either a microwave or a regular oven?


    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 5:43PM
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"Are these actually dual purpose and can be used as either a microwave or a regular oven?"

Yes, exactly. A convection microwave can act as either oven or microwave or both at the same time (depending). The Advantium is a GE product that also has a broiling element inside.

The other things out there are called 'smart ovens', but you pay more for their 'education'.

Panasonic and Sharp make countertop convection microwaves, as does GE. The Advantium comes in an OTR version as well as a built-in model.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:06PM
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Funny, I did the same thing. I replaced a 30 year old Jenn Air 48" cook top with a Bosch 36" induction cook top and a telescoping downdraft and took out a warming drawer that was under and to the right of the Jenn Air and placed cookbooks in it's place. I did entertain the idea of an under counter MW but after looking at those prices, I opted for a Viking convection MW over a Viking single oven. It can handle anything another oven can do. I had an Advantium 240 oven in my last kitchen but don't have a space for it in my current kitchen. I am not doing a gut makeover so it won't work for me this time. In fact, I still have it for sale if you're near by and want to buy it! Hardly used it too. I didn't answer your concerns, but wanted to weigh in with options that work!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Induction cooktops often do not require much space for airflow, it depends on the manufacturers requirements.
Miele has a 4.5" dimension for airflow from the countertop including the 2.6" thickness of the induction unit.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:01PM
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This is now sounding more doable. Now that I know about the combo microwave/ oven deal, I could possibly just get a cooktop and eliminate the idea of a separate microwave under the cooktop all together.

Is there anyone who now has induction and had gas before? If so, do you like the induction?

It seems there are many of us who are now having to figure out how to deal with replacing those downdraft JennAirs that were cutting edge when we purchased them close to twenty years ago.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 11:31PM
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I have had a Miele gas cook top, among others, solid electric burners on a glass cook top, and now the induction and so far, the induction ROCKS! Boils a HUGE pot of water in just a few minutes, cooks evenly and goes up and down temperature wise flawlessly when I want to raise or lower it, and I don't worry about my grand babies getting burned by accidentally touching the top! Clean up is a BREEZE! A little wiping with a sponge and a little Spray Way glass cleaner and it's done. I just made Chicken and Dumplings tonight and wiping the grease off the top took about a minute!~ As far as replacing the down draft, my appliance guy just removed the old one and put new ducting in, went under the house, (we're on a raised foundation, and mounted the fan which was quite large under our deck. Not sure what your set up is, but it was not a difficult job, just took a little time. Induction cooking has been in Europe for over 20 years and it seems that we are just getting interested in it. A lot of great chefs LOVE induction!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 11:45PM
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We put in an induction cooktop and a micro/convection combo oven over our regular oven. Love both the induction and micro/convection combo but now wish I put two full size ovens in. With my new kitchen I love cooking so much more!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 11:49AM
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I had gas before putting in induction (Miele). It wins hands down. Yeah, the boiling quickly is nice, but that's not the best reason. It is being able to keep things at a low temp for a long time. You can even melt chocolate without a double boiler.

And there's another element of safety. I have burned potholders, plastic utensils, and my sitter once nearly set a bag of groceries on a low flame we didn't realize was not shut off. I stopped by a friends house to water her plants while she was out of town and she had left the gas burner on low - for five days! I feel much safer with my kids using induction than I would if they were using gas. Not that kids can't be taught safety, but it is easy for all of us to get distracted.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 1:26PM
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It does sound as though you are all big induction fans! We were just at the appliance store, and the cooktops certainly are nice and simple compared to the big gas ranges we also looked at.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:43PM
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