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I currently have an OTR microwave that is externally vented The exhaust vent for the microwave is concealed by cabinets above the microwave, and inside the cabinets the ducting itself is concealed by a box constructed of the same material as the cabinets. The ducting is completely concealed, with no visible fasteners.

I'm looking to access the ducting to clean the inside (the suction from the exhaust fans is not great, I'd like to make sure there aren't any blockages).

But here's the catch; I rent, which means I can't remove/destroy the covering without violating my lease.

Is there any other possibility for me to access the ducting? For reference, my microwave is a GE model jvm1540lm5cs.

Also, any other tips to improve the exhaust efficiency would be appreciated.

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  • If you're renting, you can remove the filter to get much better airflow. It's not good long-term, and can ostensibly be a fire hazard, but it will be far more effective. If it's not pulling better w/o screen, then you have poor venting. – dandavis Nov 13 '20 at 19:51
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Is there any other possibility for me to access the ducting?

Yes, you remove the microwave from the cabinets/wall. It should be on mounting bracket that is on the wall. Installation instructions are available, in a PDF file, on the GE web site.

Even if you ripped out the box concealing the ducting you would still not be able to access the inside of the duct. It is fixed in place, you have to access it where is connected to the fan, microwave or range-hood, or at the exhaust port in the exterior of the building.

Do not expect a great increase in air flow by cleaning the ducts. I find many average priced range hood exhausts and microwave exhausts to be inadequate or not placed well to capture smoke or fumes, and if the ducting is long or has to many turns the fan just cannot do an efficient job.

Also, any other tips to improve the exhaust efficiency would be appreciated.

Keep the filters clean and free of grease build up.

Also; while the unit is off the wall check to see that the flapper is functioning properly. Make sure the removable cover plate to route the vent into the living space was not removed. (Most units have two ports on the top and cover plate that can be used to cover one or the other, this option is there to provide exhausting into the room if you do not have duct work to exhaust to the exterior).

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