the gas face
December 7, 2005 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I was thinking about buying a commercial range for my kitchen - a Vulcan costs half as much as a Wolf and has the same output, same safety rating, same dependability and two folks I know who use them love them. However, many of the sellers will only sell to a commercial entity - not just for tax purposes, although I could understand that, but because they tell me my insurance company won't allow it, that I'll need fireproof floors, and industrial venting etc.

Is this really true? I asked friends of mine in the legislature familiar with such issues and they believed that the safety ratings for commercial kitchen goods were the same as residential. So what's the big deal? Is it really a bad idea to put one in my house? Why are Wolfs and Vikings double or triple the cost of these - is it just a matter of people being willing to pay for them?
posted by luriete to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
It *seems* like it could be more than just bullshit - for the simple reason that there are different building codes for restaurants vs. residences. Can you call the manufacturer and ask why they won't sell to non-businesses?
posted by agregoli at 11:56 AM on December 7, 2005

The outsides of commercial ranges are not insulated the same way that domestic ranges are. So your two-year old toddles up to the stove at home while you are baking cookies, and puts her hands on the oven door, and nothing happens.

With a commercial range, you've got a child with burned hands.
posted by ambrosia at 11:58 AM on December 7, 2005

From everything I have read - you definately need better than standard residential venting. A commercial range puts out 20-40% more BTU's than a standard. And frankly our standard (KitchenAid
If I read this correctly, a 30" Wolf range will put out 64,000 BUT's if all burners are on.... And that is with a four burner range, with 6 - you would add another 32,000 BTU's...

So, while I've never of fireproof floors, the ventilation is a must...
posted by jkaczor at 12:01 PM on December 7, 2005

oops, I meant to complete that thought....

our standard KitchenAid puts out about 40,000 BTU's with all burners on, and comes close to exceeding our venting capability if the oven is on as well.

Thanks Ambrosia - I did not know that about the insulation, I will pass this onto my wife who drools for a Vulcan or a Wolf.
posted by jkaczor at 12:03 PM on December 7, 2005

There are a couple threads on eGullet that touch on this issue. It looks like a bad idea for a number of reasons.

One thing to consider (anecdotal, I know) is that when my girlfriend's folks installed a "prosumer"-style stove with 17,000 btu, they had to run a second gas line from the main to provide enough fuel.

However, if you decide to go ahead, I've seen a fair number of commercial ranges come up for sale on Craigslist. That'd avoid the problem of vendors who don't want to deal with an individual.
posted by stet at 12:41 PM on December 7, 2005

what stet said - restaurants are going out of business all the time, slightly used can be just as good as new and way cheaper. Skip the regulations and check the newspaper for this weeks' batch of auctions.
posted by chuma at 1:13 PM on December 7, 2005

Take a look at the installation instructions for the stoves you're considering. When I bought a Wolf two years ago, I remember that the residential models were "zero clearance" -- that is, they could go right up against a wall or a wooden cabinet. The directions for commercial ranges specified a certain amount of space.

Many of the manuals can be found as pdf files on line.
posted by wryly at 1:28 PM on December 7, 2005

If you can swing a commercial oven, definitely go the auction route. I once saw a gorgeous, just-like-new ten burner Vulcan stove go for $400.

There might not be too many auctions now but there will be in the spring.
posted by Atom12 at 2:27 PM on December 7, 2005

Do you want my oven?

Still not clean, unfortunately.
posted by bh at 4:47 PM on December 7, 2005

The idea that your homeowner's insurance will be voided if you install a commercial stove is an urban legend. This subject comes up every few months on; you can read some thoughtful comments by a commercial insurance broker here.
posted by Wet Spot at 4:53 PM on December 7, 2005

Another thing to take into consideration is weight. Be sure that your floor can handle the weight of the range and that the underlying floor is sound (important in old houses with basements)

What is weird, is that I went to a restaurant equipment store they refused to sell me the commercial range even when I was willing to pony up for the venting. I ended up buying a Bluestar (re-dressed Garland) and installing a vent-a-hood.

Big suggestion is to go to the dealer store and bring FOOD you plan to cook. Test the oven and the range. If you stir fry you need to be sure that it can truly put out the BTUs and if you bake make sure that the temperature setting is true and your cake does bake in the expected time.
posted by jadepearl at 4:15 AM on December 8, 2005

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