Just bought a house and has a GE Profile Spacemaker XL1800 microwave oven. The set up allows for outside venting, but all I get is the top front recirculation vent to operate and hence food odors just go back into the room. How do I get it to exhaust through the outside vent. Do I need to override something in the control panel?
Your vent flap could be taped or it could be faulty installation not allowing the vent to open. If you take the front vent cover off, you should be able to reach in above the fan unit and gently push the vent flap up, it should move freely with no binding. If it doesn't it is taped or blocked. If it is taped, gently putting upward pressure on the flap might release the tape. If that doesn't work the vent installation is blocking the flap. You might have to remove the unit from the wall (two people to do this) or disassemble the vent duct above the microwave and rework the interface for clearance.
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Remove a GE Spacemaker
The GE Spacemaker series of microwave ovens are designed to be installed above an oven range, freeing up counter space in your kitchen. Some of these Spacemaker models are connected to an outside venting system to carry kitchen vapor and odors outside. Other Spacemaker models utilize a ductless system to do this. Removing a GE Spacemaker microwave oven isn't a difficult task, but, because of the size of some of the oven models, it is a two-man operation. Have a question? Get an answer from an appliance repair specialist now!
Open the cabinet above where the Spacemaker microwave oven is installed. If you see a vent in the cabinet leading to the Spacemaker oven below, your Spacemaker is vented. This vent needs to be disconnected before continuing with removal. Disconnect the vent either by loosening the duct clamps or by cutting the duct tape away with a sharp knife. Pull the vent out of the top of the oven.
Have an assistant support the oven from below. Loosen the mounting screws connected to the Spacemaker through the cabinet bottom. Loosen the screws by turning counterclockwise with the Phillips screwdriver.
Unplug the Spacemaker from the socket in the cabinet.
Continue loosening the screws while your assistant holds the oven in place. Once the screws are removed, have your assistant slowly lower the Spacemaker down by lowering the front face at a 45-degree angle.
Feed the power cable for the Spacemaker through the hole in the bottom in the supporting cabinet.
Help your assistant slowly pull the Spacemaker forward and out of the mounting brackets on the rear wall. Once the Spacemaker is cleared of the mounting cabinet and rear wall, set it down.
Remove the mounting bracket from the rear wall by loosening the screws.
Interesting post, because I have the same problem! I have spent the better part of today researching and taking our microwave apart (partially) to inspect the top portion re: outside vent. Everytime the microwave is on, the "active vent door" (manufacturer's term, not mine!) opens. Apparently this is normal. But it also opens when you turn on the vent fan, when cooking on the stovetop. I don't like this feature, because I think it 'overrides' the outside venting system. I double checked our outside vent to ensure that when this oven was installed, the person did in fact allow the flap to be open when the fan is on (he did). So I think what 'our' problem is, is that the microwave active vent sort of interferes with the outside vent, thus more of the cooking smell being blown into the house instead of the outdoors. I was thinking of simply disconnecting the gizmo that make the active vent door open each time you use the oven and/or vent fan option however I don't think that's a good idea as apparently the main purpose of the active vent door is to keep the electronics of the microwave oven from overheating. The more I read about this version of microwave, the less impressed I am with it. Lots of electronic issues with it. I am not fussy either with having the microwave over the cooktop. Sorry I don't have a solution for your problem but I do feel your pain!!!
Your ventilation seals may be aging, but they have nothing to do with microwave energy leakage, (And microwave energy is not ionizing radiation anyway, so it does not cause cellular mutation or cancer)
You should check your grease filters (if you are venting to the outside) or your charcoal filter (if recirculating).
If you are venting outside, check your outside vent flap for proper operation, and check your outlet and ductwork for a bird's nest or mouse nest, etc.
If you have other questions, feel free to contact me directly, because FixYa doesn't always notify us when there are follow-ups.
- William E. Miller, AS-EET
Microwave Oven Control Panel Repair Nationwide