Commercial ranges in homes (residential kitchens)?

hardwarehackJanuary 1, 2013

[Information first compiled, written, and posted in the Appliances Forum by Colin (GW Member Page: cpovey) on 1-9 June, 2004. Many thanks, Colin!]

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A Short FAQ on commercial ranges in homes (residential kitchens):

One of the biggest trends in appliances is the "professional" look, meaning appliances made out of stainless steel. This trend was largely the result of Viking Corporation making the first "pro-style" ranges, meaning a range that looks like a commercial range but is designed for home installation.

Some people, including myself, have thought of going all out, and installing true "commercial" ranges in our homes, because they are less expensive and produce more heat than the "pro-style" range. However, there are issues with installing "commercial" ranges in homes. This FAQ will attempt to answer these issues.

To keep confusion to a minimum, I will refer to "commercial" ranges as the ones made for use in restaurants, and will refer to ranges made for home use as "pro-style".

True commercial ranges are made by companies like Garland, Vulcan, Wolf, DCS, Comstock-Castle, Royal, Montague, American Range, US Range, Jade, Imperial, Quest metal works, Southbend, Blodgett, and the like, while the "pro-style" ranges are the ones made for home use, by Viking, Wolf, Blue Star, DCS, Capital, Dacor, Heartland, Jade, GE Monogram, Thermador, Imperial, etc. Yes, some companies make both.

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Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of these units in general.

Pros of commercial ranges:

  • Less costly than home ranges.
  • Higher output burners (generally 25k BTUs on restaurant grade, while the "heavy duty" models come in around 35k BTUs).
  • Ovens usually hold full sheet pans (see note 1).
  • Very durable.
  • Generally no electronic gimmicks to break.

Cons of commercial ranges:

  • Insurance and warranty issues:
    • With many brands, the warranty is void in residential installations. Here is a quote from one manufacturer: "The use or installation of our products in Non-commercial Applications renders all warranties, express or implied, null and void." (the quote continues in this vein for nine additional paragraphs).
  • Insurance issues: you may have problems with homeowners insurance, though probably not, if the range is installed exactly per specifications. Whatever you do, if the insurance company asks if you have commercial equipment installed, do NOT lie to them. Lying to them creates a "Material Misrepresentation" which will void your insurance and they can refuse ANY claim you make.
  • Installation and service issues:
    • In homes with natural gas, the gas supply line is generally insufficient in size for a commercial range. Having too small a gas supply line seems to void the warranty of every unit I looked at.
  • Generally require 6 inch or more clearance from combustible surfaces, with some ranges requiring up to 12 inch clearance. This generally means lining cabinets, walls, backsplash, etc. with...
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