Updating Your Kitchen for Pro-Style Equipment
While most prosumer kitchen appliances don't require restaurant-level power and ventilation, you may need to adapt your kitchen space to get the look.
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"One of the very first issues to consider when planning a pro-style kitchen is size," explains Bob Somrak Jr., board member of the National Kitchen & Bath Association and co-owner of Somrak Kitchens in Bedford Heights, Ohio. "If a consumer wants to install all these pro-style appliances, they'll need three feet of refrigerator space, three feet of freezer space and four to five feet for the commercial-style range. That is 11 feet of space just for these appliances, and they still need room for the cabinets and countertops."
Contrast that with the kitchens of yesterday when those same appliances required just five linear feet of space and weight was not a concern.
"Some of these large Aga and La Cornue ranges can weigh the equivalent of a concert grand piano," Somrak says. "This requires a specially constructed cement base that can support those loads."
However, not every prosumer range requires a special base.
"These manufacturers continue to introduce smaller, more versatile models of their appliances," explains Alan Abrams, founder of Cabinet En-Counters, a kitchen design studio in Cleveland. "These tend to be not nearly as heavy, requiring no special construction considerations."
Of course, Abrams adds, homeowners are always strongly encouraged to check the individual manufacturer's specifications before proceeding.
One of the more widely recognized concerns when it comes to pro-style ranges and cooktops, which have burners that can exceed 20,000 BTUs, is ventilating all that heat.
"Standard cooktops require ventilation hoods that move as little as 150 cubic feet per minute (CFM)," Somrak explains. "But these (restaurant-style) cooktops require hoods that can handle up to 1,200 CFM, nearly 10 times the amount."
According to Craig Napravnik of Broan-NuTone, which manufactures range hoods, ventilation fans and indoor air quality products, the industry rule-of-thumb to ensure proper ventilation is to add up the total BTUs of a range's burners, divide by 100, and the result is the number of CFMs needed. So a range with a total output of 80,000 BTUs should be equipped with a hood capable of moving 800 CFMs. Any less, according to Napravnik, and you may have issues with heat, smoke, grease and moisture.
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