Although manufacturer warranties have made the world of expensive consumer purchases a much safer place to shop, they can sometimes be tricky things. Many warranties come with sets of extenuating circumstances that can render them invalid if the product is used in the wrong way or in the wrong location. Restaurant equipment often includes several of these special-case details, so it is important to read through the warranty sheets on your new equipment before replacing any old machines.
One area where customers tend to run into trouble is overlooking the distinction between residential and commercial equipment. Commercial restaurant equipment is generally not intended to be installed in residential settings. There are some exceptions, but many commercial companies alter the warranty on commercial equipment that has been installed in a residential kitchen. Manitowoc Ice, for example, reduces the standard three year warranty to a one year parts and labor warranty when installing a commercial machine in a home. Some ice machine manufacturers, however, do not alter the warranty as long as the unit is installed properly, so be sure to check the product literature for information about warranty coverage, or contact the manufacturer directly for specific details about your installation.
While some equipment such as ice machines or commercial refrigerators may be at risk of abbreviated or limited warranties in residential kitchens, other types of equipment can present even greater issues. Some equipment may interfere with your homeowner’s insurance, particularly heat-generating equipment such as ovens and ranges. Residential kitchen appliances generally feature more safeguards to keep the smaller and less industrial nature of the home kitchen safe from misuse, overheating, and potential fire hazards. Commercial appliances likely will not feature these safeguards, at least not to the same extent, so it is critical that you check with both your insurance company and with the product manufacturer to make sure that the equipment in question falls in line with your policy. The warranties on many commercial foodservice products are often voided by installing them in residential kitchens, but some insurance policies will still cover the equipment as long as it is installed following the same guidelines and safety regulations (proper ventilation, stainless steel siding, etc.) required of restaurants.
In short, always make sure to check the product literature, review your insurance policy, and research your local home safety ordinances before installing commercial equipment into your residential kitchen. Installing commercial equipment may not always be practical (or legal) depending on your existing kitchen arrangement and geographical location, so be sure to square away all of the details before you clear a space for that new commercial oven.