Using residential equipment in a commercial facility is like using a knife blade to tighten a screw; while it may work initially, sooner or later you’ll get to the point where it doesn’t, or it becomes unsafe. The commercial equipment requirement is to ensure you have the right equipment for your situation. For example, commercial refrigerators are larger with shelves intended to accommodate larger containers, they have larger compressors and fans to quickly cool and circulate air, and surfaces are smooth, durable, and corrosion resistant. Residential units have smaller compressors and don’t typically have fans to circulate air, they have less storage space, and they often have surfaces made of plastic or glass that do not hold up well in a commercial kitchen (breaking and chipping can be a hazard).
The NSF certification assures that equipment has been tested and meets public health standards. Other agencies such as UL, ETL, and CE also evaluate and test commercial equipment using equivalent sanitation and health standards. Specification sheets (spec sheets) indicate the intended use and any certifications your equipment has. Providing spec sheets in your plan review allows us easily to determine if your equipment meets standards and is appropriate for your intended use.