Q: I want to replace my electric wall oven with a new one, but I need some advice on how to install it. What are your thoughts?
A: You should look to your neighbor for help, as a wall oven is heavy and awkward, so you will need help pulling it out and positioning the new one in the wall.
When you remove the old oven, you will first want to shut off the circuit breaker to the oven in the main panel and make sure the power is off. The oven will be held in place by screws that fasten it to the surrounding cabinet. These screws will be hidden from plain view. You may have to remove some decorative trim pieces around the oven, or you may just open the oven door and they will be visible along the sides of the frame. Remove the screws .
With the screws out, you should be able to shimmy the oven out of the hole. One person should stand on either side of the oven and pull it out far enough so that you can access the electrical connection. The oven will have a 3-foot piece of conduit that runs to an electrical junction box mounted to the wall behind the oven; you can't just pull out the oven without disconnecting the electrical connection. One person will have to support the oven's weight while the other person disconnects it.
Try reading the owner's manual for clearances around the new oven. If you have to cut the opening larger, you can use either a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade or you can use a router with a pattern-routing bit. The router will make a much cleaner cut, but since it will be hidden by the oven anyway, use the jigsaw and you won't have to worry about making a pattern.
The jigsaw is fine for this project as long as you take it slowly. Check for screws or other fasteners. Measure where you will cut and mark a line on the face of the cabinet. Place some blue painter's tape on the outside of the line so that the cut will be clearly visible, and also so that the shoe of the jigsaw won't scratch the face of the cabinet .
The new stove goes in like the old one came out. You must find the wires in the conduit attached to the new oven, and strip one-half inch from the end of each wire. Then lift the stove onto the edge of the opening.
Again, one person supports the oven while the other person hooks up the electrical.
Refer to the owner's manual regarding the electrical requirements, but generally you will use wire nuts and attach all the wires, keeping each together by their color: the bare or green ground wires, the black hot wires, the red hot wires and the white neutral wires. Then replace the junction box cover and slide the oven the rest of the way into the opening.
Now you will either screw the face of the oven into the cabinet face or into the edge of the opening. Either way, the wood you will be screwing into will likely be hardwood, so you want to predrill the holes to prevent it from splitting. Then just secure the oven to the opening by tightening the screws. You may have to put some trim pieces around the oven after you secure it, but they usually just snap into place.
When you are finished, turn the breaker back on and start baking. Don't forget the cake you promised your neighbor.
Michael D. Klimek is a licensed contractor and president of Pro Handyman Corp. Questions may be sent by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, mail to: P.O. Box 96761, Las Vegas, NV 89193. His Web address is: www.pro-handyman.com.