Comstock-Castle Stove FAQs
Q: What is the difference between a commercial range and a "commercial- type" or commercial-style" range?
A: There are many "Commercial-Type/Style" residential ranges now on the market. The price of these ranges is far higher than real commercial ranges. Among the reasons for the price difference are electronic ignition on top burners and zero clearance from combustible surfaces. A real commercial range has far more cooking capacity and more durability due to heavier materials used. Some "Commercial-Type" residential ranges use slightly heavier materials and have more cooking power than their residential counterparts but far less than a commercial range. At a very high price, they satisfy a demand for a little more cooking capacity as well as giving the appliance a "commercial" look. Very few restaurants use a "commercial-type" range in their operations since they need the durability, productivity and price of the real thing.
Q: Can I install a commercial range in my home?
A: Yes, it must only be installed according to commercial building code. Homeowners who have properly installed real commercial ranges in their homes do so for many reasons. Some owners just enjoy cooking and or need to cook larger portions than a residential "Commercial-Type" range is capable of. Some owners want the look of a real commercial range while saving money. Many B&Bs and caterers find that a real commercial range is just what they need to serve their clients.
Q: Do I need a special size exhaust hood?
A: Yes. Many "Commercial-Type" style ranges do not require an exhaust hood due to the lower BTU rating but most buyers tend to install a hood anyway. The primary purpose of an exhaust hood over a commercial range is to remove the combustion gases of the more powerful burners. Removing cooking smells is a secondary purpose for a commercial stove but for a residential stove it usually is the primary reason for the hood. A properly sized commercial hood needs to be physically matched to the equipment underneath it as well as for the BTU rating of that equipment. Local commercial building codes may vary but generally the hood must extend a certain distance left to right and front to back over the equipment under it. The hood's fan motor must remove a certain amount of air (cfm) in relation to the BTU rating as determined by the local commercial build code. The price of a commercial exhaust hood is not much more than a domestic hood but requires certain installation considerations. The easiest place to install a commercial hood is on along an outside wall rather than going up through a ceiling and roof.
Q: What type of pilot lights do commercial ranges have?
A: Most commercial ranges in the USA used in foodservice locations have standing pilots on open burners, griddles, hot top and char-broiler sections while the ovens use a pilot light connected with a thermocouple and safety valve. For homeowners a downside of using and installing a real commercial range include the standing pilots on the top burners. These pilots are on all the time, using gas and putting out heat into a kitchen. These standing pilots can be adjusted to be permanently off but the burner then has to be lit with a lighter or match.
In most cases the standing pilots normally can not be economically replaced by electronic ignitions since the power of the burners and constant on/off in restaurant usage will burn or wear them out quickly. There are some new gas valves coming on the market that may add a feature to allow the burner to be lit only if the pilot is lit first. These are expensive and most restaurants will not want to pay for this feature.
Q: Since real commercial ranges are deeper front-to-back than residential ranges how does that effect cabinetry, especially if cabinets can not be zero clearance?
A: Commercial ranges in restaurants and foodservice operations generally are installed in a long line of equipment made from noncombustible material so the ranges are not as well insulated as residential ranges. Castle uses more insulation in the sides of their ranges and the clearance rating from combustible materials is lower than other commercial ranges but they are not zero clearance.
The need for space for the hood overhang leads many to create an alcove for the unit or place it at the end of a counter line. The alcove and or hood can be lined with tile or stainless steel to compliment the kitchen décor. There are many ways to blend an exhaust hood into a residential setting.
Commercial ranges are deeper than most normal cabinetry however due to the increase of use of "Commercial-Type" residential ranges and real commercial ranges in homes, there are many new lines of deeper cabinetry as well as custom cabinetry available. In new construction, recessing the range into a properly build wall can blend it in with a shallower line of cabinets.
Q. Can I get a convection oven in a Castle commercial range?
A. No. In most cases convection ovens are used in foodservice operations to speed up baking to accommodate large demands in a short time. A convection oven option adds a lot to the price of a commercial range and in most home owners would not have the cooking demand to need a convection oven.
Q. What makes Castle's ranges different than others?
A. Castle is the oldest stove manufacturer in the USA and perhaps the world. We insulate the sides of our ranges to reduce the clearance from combustible materials.
Castle makes 3 widths of ovens for their ranges, 19 1/2 ", 26 1/2 " and 31 1/2 ". The 31 1/2 " oven is the widest in the industry. The extra space allows for air to circulate around the sides of a full size sheet pan reducing the scorching that can sometimes occurs in some 26 1/2 " ovens when full size sheet pans are used.
Castle also offers more top configurations than any other range manufacturer. On open top burners we use an energy efficient 24,000 BTU rated star burner that spreads heat evenly to small or large pots. This energy efficient pattern allows a lower BTU burner to produce the same cooking results as a higher BTU rated ring or octagon pattern burner reducing energy consumption without sacrificing performance. While many users want the full 24,000 BTU rating on the open top burners some find they do not need that much for every burner for home cooking. Castle will reduce the BTU rating on any of its open burners to 15,000 or more at no charge. Lowering the BTU rating will reduce the cfm required by the exhaust system and save on utility costs.
Considering the cost of "Commercial-Type" residential ranges versus the cost of a real commercial range, the savings can easily pay for proper commercial installation with savings to spare as well as getting the cooking performance and durability of a real commercial range.
The most important consideration is to keep in mind is a commercial stove must be installed according to local commercial building code. Comstock-Castle Stove Company can not tell you what the code is in your area. You should research this with a competent professional in your area.