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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Installing a Microwave Oven in 210 Days: Part 1

Our old microwave proved reluctant to leave home.
(I guess it liked us or something).

A few years ago, our over-the-stove microwave packed up.  As we had never gotten around to selling our old countertop model from our previous house, we carried it in from the garage.  The countertop microwave took up a lot of space.  Soon, we vowed, we would replace our old over-the-stove model.

Last November, we headed out to Home Depot on Black Friday.  We were going there to purchase a new dishwasher, as our old one had given up the ghost a few years before the microwave.  Assured by the sales staff that all microwaves were all the same size, we also purchased another over-the-counter model, along with a three-year extended warranty.  We would be leaving the following weekend on travel, and had lots to do before we left.  We set the box containing the microwave on our living room floor, and vowed to install it when we got back.

The following week, we got our dishwasher, but they couldn’t install it, as the company or service responsible for delivering it hadn’t realized they had to hardwire it.  So it was back to Home Depot, when, after several consultations, we were able to arrange for its installation, but only after we returned home in December.  Finally, in the middle of December, the service man hardwired our dishwasher, and we no longer had to wash our dishes by hand anymore.  As Christmas was just around the corner, we were running around like dinosaurs who have just witnessed a massive meteorite impact.  Installing the microwave was consigned to the following year.

In January or February, we tried to remove the old model.  We unscrewed the bolts supporting it from above, but couldn’t get the machine to budge.  Whatever we did, it remained stuck fast, as if Superglued to the wall.  We decided to do some research, and decide how best to tackle this problem later.

In April, I decided to pull the oven out from the wall.  Then I used a wood chisel to chip away the caulking on the wall between the tiles and the microwave.  I also took off the bottom of the old microwave to see if anything else was holding it up, but saw nothing.  So I removed the top bolts again and pulled down on it.  I banged the top of the microwave lightly with a hammer.  I tried to be careful, as I didn’t want the machine to fall down, but I also tried to be forceful, as I really wanted it out of there.  No luck.

Cleaning out the old beast's nest.

I had decided to give up when I changed my mind and gave the machine one last go.  I decided I didn’t care if it fell down and injured me, or damaged the gas line protruding from the wall.  I just wanted it gone.  So I grabbed hold of the microwave and lifted myself completely off the ground.  I bounced up and down, each time with greater force.  Finally, the microwave came loose.  It was a heavy beast, and I needed my wife’s help to lift it off its support frame and carry it out of the kitchen.  Then I measured the new microwave, and the wall space between the cabinets and the tiles. 

All the microwaves that Home Depot sold may have been the same size, but our new one was over an inch taller than its predecessor.  I removed the old metal support frame, and two pieces of plywood that had been used as spacers between the old microwave and the shelf above.  I wasn’t sure if that would leave enough room, but at least it was a start.  Hey, I had only had the new microwave for three-and-a-half months.  What did it matter if it took a little longer?

To be continued,
Dragon Dave

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