I have a new above the cook-top microwave (GE Model JVM1540) which is vented to the outside through a top exhaust vertical duct. The exhaust fan is loud and there is practically no difference in the noise produced by the high and low exhaust speeds. I have wrapped the duct with insulation in an unsuccessful attempt to lower the noise of the fan. Is there anything else I can do to lower the noise produced by the exhaust fan?
You can remove the exhaust turbine unit with one screw and reinstall microwave and buy a braun external exhaust unit that fits over the hole where it is at the roof or wall and all of the noise will be outside and it will actually work. It is weather proof and will **** steam or fumes out like the best vacuum cleaner.
There is a flimsy back draft flap that opens when the exhaust fan is turned on and can rattle at medium and high speed. If the exhaust duct has an outside wall outlet with back draft flaps, the internal flap becomes redundant and can be removed. In my opinion the flimsy flap on the microwave is a very poor and cheap design.
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I usually choose an outside wall if possible to vent outside. You can buy a rear vent that is superior to a dryer vent. When this isn't possible you need a rectangular duct going up through your cabinet and up through your ceiling. hopefully you have an attic or you have to switch to a 5 inch tube going sideways (above your cabinets (if there is space) to the outside wall. If it goes into an attic you have to cut through the shingles to a vent made for bathroom and or hood vents. The motor and blower assembly inside your microwave is designed to turn to be front facing, rear facing or vertical facing. Just unscrew or break out the side that you need to vent through.
I presume that you can hear the fan running? If so, most over the cook top microwaves have an option to vent to the outside or simply recycle through the filter and vents above the unit. If you check your manual there should be instructions on how to change this configuration to suit your situation, but it likely needs to be done before you install the microwave.
The above manual shows how to reconfigure the microwave from recirculation (as shipped) to external exhaust setup on pages 4 - 5.
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 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.
Since you say it's new, it should be under warranty.
I would call GE (see your owner's manual) to get a local authorized service center.
Then while you're on the phone with the service center, you can start it up and hold the phone close to it to demonstrate to the technician how loud it is.
They should be able to tell you if it will be covered under warranty so you get it fixed free.