Install an outlet for an above range microwave

We have a house with an above range microwave, but no nearby outlet to plug it into. The previous owners simply ran an extension cord. While I’m not 100% positive this is illegal to do in my locality, the safety is questionable and it certainly goes against the manufacturer’s recommendations. My home inspector wanted me to install an outlet. Here’s how to install an outlet for an above range microwave.

Better yet, I did it over the drywall without tearing into any walls, and spending less than $20.

What I ended up doing was jumping off an existing outlet behind the refrigerator, which was where the extension cord was running anyway.

Materials

I only needed a few things, some of which I had already:

  • Metal handy box extension (yes, that’s actually what they’re called)
  • 10-foot length of PVC conduit rated for electrical use
  • 90-degree elbow
  • PVC electrical box
  • PVC conduit clamps
  • an adapter that let me plug the PVC conduit into the metal box.
  • 1 1/8-inch drill spade
  • drill
  • Several feet of Romex cable
  • duplex outlet
  • cover plate
  • Wood or drywall screws

Prep work

First, I measured the distance. Conveniently, I had to go up about two feet and to the right another two feet. So I cut two 2-foot lengths of PVC conduit. I moved the fridge and drilled a 1 1/8-inch hole in the cabinet straight up from the center of the existing outlet. After I fit the conduit to the elbow, I used it to mark a line across the back of the cabinet. I used that to drill holes into the cabinet walls between the fridge and the microwave.

Then I fit the PVC parts through the holes, threaded the Romex cable through, and fit the pieces together to make sure everything fit. Once everything fit and lined up well, I secured the conduit to the wall with PVC conduit clamps.

Extending the existing outlet

I cut the Romex to length. Then I switched off the power at the breaker box. Safety first, you know.

I removed the existing outlet from behind the fridge, connected the handy box extension in its place, and connected it to the PVC pipe. Then I hooked the outlet back up the way it was inside the box extension and connected the new wires from my new Romex to the outlet. Finally, I replaced the outlet and the cover plate.

Then I fit the PVC box to the other end of the PVC conduit, secured it to the cabinet back with screws, and connected the new outlet to the wires, screwed it in to the new box, and installed a cover plate.

And that was it. I restored power from the breaker box and tested both sets of outlets with an electrical outlet tester. When they all tested good, I plugged in the microwave and the fridge.

In total, it took about 30 minutes. That’s much better than tearing into walls.

If your garage door opener is connected with an extension cord, you can run an outlet to the ceiling off the existing outlet the same way. You’ll just use longer lengths of conduit, and probably a few more clamps.

If you need help switching out a microwave, I have a guide for that too.

%d bloggers like this: