Step up to commercial grade in your kitchen

restaurant kitchenA red hot kitchen renovation trend for foodies is to install professional grade restaurant ranges and other commercial appliances at home. Nothing screams “we love food” better than a six burner cast-iron range pumping out 25,000 BTUs of cooking power and a monster stainless steel refrigerator packed full of fresh ingredients.

Before you rip out the Kenmore and upgrade to a Vulcan, though, let’s take a look at all the facets you need to consider before stepping up to commercial grade.

Purchase price is just the tip of the iceberg

It’s no secret that commercial ovens can cost thousands of dollars, even if you pick one up used. What’s not such common knowledge is that investing in the range itself is hardly the end of the line when it comes to additional expenses related to setting up a professional kitchen at home.

  • Weight: Many commercial ovens are so heavy that they require specially constructed concrete bases to prevent damage to the floor. Make sure you find out how much of a load your floor can bear prior to purchasing a super-sized range.
  • Gas power: Standard residential natural gas service doesn’t provide nearly enough oomph to properly power a 25k or 30k BTU range. Hooking up to an insufficiently small line will generally void your warranty and cause the range to function improperly.
  • Increased ventilation capacity: Ventilation hoods for standard cooktops move as little as 150 CFM (cubic feet per minute). Restaurant-style ranges require up to ten times more ventilation to suck all that extra heat out of the kitchen.
  • Space concerns: Commercial ranges run much hotter than residential models and aren’t insulated in the same fashion. All this extra heat means extra space between the oven and wood cabinetry. Coupled with the fact that professional appliances are already extra-large, this causes a double drain on space. Add in a commercial fridge and oversized sink and you’ll quickly see that a pro-style kitchen design is generally reserved for homes with ample floor space.

Insurance and warranty stipulations

Many manufacturers state clearly in their guarantee that the installation of restaurant grade equipment in a private residence renders all warranties null and void. Be sure to check the fine print before handing over your credit card.

Bear in mind, though, that a lack of warranty is hardly the end all be all. Commercial ranges are extremely durable and do not contain cheap electric gimmicks that break easily. It’s OK to select a model that comes guarantee free but be diligent to understand clearly the terms of your purchase.

Check with your insurance agent ahead of time to determine whether your homeowner’s policy contains a clause that voids coverage due to the installation of commercial appliances. In most situations you’ll be fine, but install equipment strictly according to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications and disclose to your insurance company exactly which models have been fitted into your kitchen. Material misrepresentation or lying to your insurer can also easily lead to voided coverage.

A quick and easy workaround

A popular way to create the professional look without going through the hassle of navigating a full professional renovation is to look for manufacturers that offer “pro-style” equipment. Pro-style appliances are specially designed to recreate the appearance and functionality of restaurant grade ranges and refrigerators while maintaining size, weight and insulation standards to allow easy installation in most homes.

Selecting pro-style appliances still mandates extra considerations but not nearly to the same level as a full-scale commercial upgrade.

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