Low profile microwaves are equipped with a ventilation system to deal with the smoke, cooking odors, and moisture from your cooktop. This ventilation system may recirculate the air back into the kitchen or lead it to an exterior vent.
Whirlpool low profile microwaves vent in two ways as well. Their microwaves vent through a charcoal filter and through an exhaust port ducted to the outside of the unit.
These microwaves also vent through the charcoal filters and then recirculate the air back into your home.
In both venting options, the cooking by-products get filtered via the filter medium, which is very important.
Low Profile Microwaves Venting Options
A low profile microwave offers 3 important features that you’re most probably familiar with – lighting for your range below, the convenience of a microwave, and a vent fan that removes steam, smoke, and odors from your kitchen.
You, therefore, have two options of venting your appliance’s exhaust fan, i.e.:
- Venting to the outdoors
If your microwave has a recirculating vent, it means that when the unit’s exhaust fan is turned on, the air is drawn in through the filters located at the bottom of the unit. It is then blown out through an exhaust vent on the top of the low profile microwave.
Pros and Cons of a microwave with a recirculating vent
- easy to install
- The smoke and odors never leave your home.
2. Venting to the outdoors
If your low profile microwave recirculates outdoors, it simply means that the odors, moisture, and smoke are removed from the kitchen and never recirculated back.
Venting out requires installing ductwork, piercing the wall or roof, and thus not an easy task.
Pros and Cons of venting outdoors
- The smoke and odors are permanently removed from the house
- Helps to keep indoor air clean and fresh
- High cost of installation
Vent Installation Costs
Installing a low profile microwave with a recirculating vent is cheaper and easier than installing an externally venting microwave.
Venting outdoors requires the installation of ductwork, an exterior vent cup, breaking the wall, ceiling, or roof. And remember, after piercing the wall, you’ll have to repair it after everything is done.
If looking forward to installing a low profile microwave and have it running in an hour, choose the recirculating option. It is easy to install and will keep your costs down.
When venting outdoors, the vent needs to conform to the common building standards for safety. And although most microwaves come with vent installation instructions, they may not include the specifications adhering to your local building codes.
The vent should be made from copper, stainless steel, or galvanized steel. It should also have a smooth interior and always exhaust to the outside.
Some local building codes even specify the minimum distance allowed between an exterior vent and an adjacent window or door.
Recirculating vents don’t have exterior components and are thus not subject to all these requirements.
The charcoal filter in your Whirlpool low profile-recirculating vent will lose its effectiveness with use, and you’ll l thus need to replace it periodically.
It lasts for 6 to 12 months, but frequent use may reduce its lifespan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I vent my low profile microwave to the attic?
Avoid venting your microwave to the attic, basement, or any other enclosed space.
Q. How much does it cost to vent a microwave outdoors?
If looking forward to venting a microwave outdoors, expect to pay between $150 and $500 for the installation.
Q. Can I vent my microwave outside?
All low profile and over-the-range microwaves can vent outdoors.
Q. What space does my microwave vent require?
The vent to be adjusted requires at least 12” of space in front. Don’t place the microwave at the back if there isn’t enough space on the sides.
Q. What is a convertible range hood?
A convertible range hood is an appliance that is specifically designed to remove smoke, grease, steam, and odors from the air in your kitchen.
Q. Does a range hood have to vent outside?
Range hoods don’t have to be vented outdoors. You can choose to vent it outdoors or recirculate your cooking exhaust back into the kitchen.
Q. Why is my microwave not venting?
If your microwave isn’t venting, it’s exhaust fan must have stopped working because the filter is clogged and requires replacing.
Q. How will I know whether my microwave is venting?
To determine whether your microwave is venting, lower the front of the microwave and look over the top. Your microwave’s vent exhausts either rearwards or upwards at the top rear of the unit. You should be able to see a duct opening at that location.
Q. Where is the exhaust fan on a microwave?
The fan is usually located at the top rear of the microwave and recirculates air into the kitchen or exhausts air into the duct system, depending on the installation.
Q. How do I turn off the vent fan on a Whirlpool microwave?
Press the unit’s ‘options’ or ‘control setup’ to turn off the vent fan, so the microwave display enters the setup mode. Scroll to the vent fan and press enter/start. Then, select off, and press enter/start to turn the fan off.
Q. What does recirculating vent mean on a microwave?
A recirculating vent is the opposite of venting outside. If your microwave has a recirculating vent, it means that air doesn’t leave the room. Instead, it’s filtered and recirculated back to your kitchen.
Q. What is external venting on a microwave?
External venting is where a microwave’s fan draws air through the vent and into an exhaust duct that leads to the exterior of the building.
If you have a low profile Whirlpool Microwave, you can choose to have it vented outside or allow the fan to recirculate the air back to your kitchen.
Go through the pros and cons of each option to decide which solution works best for you. After setting on the best option for your home, get a professional to do the installation for you.