Unlike induction stoves, gas stoves are a little risky because they cook with an open flame.
So, when it comes to deciding whether you should place your gas stove close to a microwave oven, a few questions need to be asked.
Is It Safe To Keep A Microwave Near A Stove?
Generally, yes, but can depend on the type of microwave and a few other things. For OTR microwaves, it’s a perfectly safe thing to do although there’s a limit to how close it can be off the stovetop. For a regular countertop microwave, probably not. Still, you will need to adhere to certain norms to reduce the fire hazard and damages to the microwave. If you adhere to the basic safety precautions, you can use these items – even simultaneously and more often – without an incidence.
Why Should You Keep The Microwave Away From The Stove?
The biggest risk here is not a fire outbreak but accidents that might arise from a lack of sufficient clearance area between the two devices.
There’s a real risk of knocking over the microwave while turning food on the stovetop.
Furthermore, placing these two items too close to each other may create venting issues.
Boiling pots on top of the stove need to vent their steam without obstruction. Some microwaves may need venting too.
How Can You Tell If The Microwave Is Too Close?
First off, consider the kind of oven. Countertop microwaves should be as far away from gas stoves as possible so that the heat from the stovetop doesn’t damage them.
OTR microwaves too need sufficient clearance in between but not as large as what you’d need with the former.
If the surface of the microwave feels hot under your palm while you are cooking on the gas stove, the two devices are too close.
Signs of food and oil splattering on your oven may also mean the two are way too close. So how far apart should they be? Read on.
Choose An OTR Microwave
The idea of placing a microwave on top of a gas stove (or any other type of stove) is as old as the devices themselves.
This arrangement is called OTR (over-the-range).
Note that only certain microwaves can be used this way – specially designed OTR microwaves, like this GE product.
The desire to have a compact kitchen may be the reason why you are thinking of placing these two near each other in the first place.
However, there’s no better space-saving arrangement than OTR because it helps free up more space on the counter which you can use for other purposes.
Do Something About The Heat
That’s why safety should be a priority.
As the stove boils your broth with an OTR oven above it, part of the generated heat will rise and settle on the bottom part of the overlying microwave if it’s too close.
Since your microwave is very much an electronic device, undue heat from the exterior will certainly damage the electronic innards.
If your microwave is active at the same time, the chances of an explosion get higher. The casing might end up discolored. The glass door may start to look foggy a well.
So How Low Should an OTR Microwave Be?
While OTR microwaves are purpose-built to work from above the cooking range (gas stove in this case), there’s a limit to how close they can be.
For safety and convenience reasons, the National Bath and Kitchen Association recommends a 54-inch height between the OTR microwave and the floor.
According to the same association, an 18-inch clearance between the OTR microwave and the cooktop is recommended.
You May Insulate Your Microwave
Place a few sheets of cardboard or any decent insulating material at the bottom of your OTR microwave just in case of anything.
A 54-inch clearance area is large but may not be effective against a superhot stove or in event of a fire accident on the range.
If you like to cook on the maximum heat setting, part of the heat may still rise high enough to reach the overhead OTR microwave.
Steam or hot air from an underlying stockpot can reach the bottom of the microwave as well.
That’s why you may enhance the 18-inch clearance with some kind of insulation at the bottom of the microwave just in case of anything.
Maybe Not If You’re Short
OTR microwaves can be hard to use for a short user.
With the OTR microwave 54-inch (or 4.5 feet) off the floor, a 5-feet tall person would struggle to place and retrieve food from it.
That’s partly because the stove’s cooktop may extend slightly outward towards your waist area, sometimes causing you to bend slightly to reach overheard items.
So, if you are short, just abandon the whole OTR microwave idea and try regular microwaves (we’ll look at these microwaves later).
For Non-OTR microwaves (Countertop Microwaves), Obey The Kitchen Triangle Rule
For safety and easy access to the key 3 kitchen points (sink, fridge, and stove), you need to position these items the right way, preferably using the Triangle Rule.
See it as a triangle consisting of these key items, each placed at a certain point in the kitchen.
Other kitchen appliances, including the traditional microwave, should be positioned 4 – 9 feet off any of these 3 key kitchen points or triangle.
Look at it as social distancing for kitchen appliances to prevent one of them from blowing up in your face.
Three Places To Put The Microwave In A Tiny Kitchen
Other than the Tringle Rule, there are a few other ways of positioning these two devices without compromising your safety.
1. Corner Of Your Counter
The space at the farthest corner of your counter is probably the least used part of the kitchen. The location of this space makes it the second fiddle for the placement of appliances.
2. Above Your Stove
This may sound a little counterintuitive but the space above your stove isn’t entirely reserved for an OTR microwave, a countertop microwave can be placed there as well. The only difference is that OTR microwaves are specially designed to work from there.
With a rack, you can place your countertop microwave on any wall in your kitchen including right above your gas stove.
A cabinet can be a great place to put your microwave regardless of its closeness to the gas oven. Still, precautions should be taken to cut the risk of fire and associated accidents.
To summarize everything, broadly speaking, it is safe to place the gas stove close to a microwave.
Still, you need to leave enough clearance area to increase to make your kitchen safer.