How Commercial Kitchens Manufacturers Deal with NEC Code
One of the industries seeing the largest addition of electrical safety product requirements is the commercial kitchen industry. With updated Class A electrical protection mandates per NEC guidelines, all of the large electrical appliances in these kitchens that run on a higher amperage capacity than a standard 15 Amp outlet now require a GFCI that has a 5mA +/- 1 trip level. While this is a necessity in the industry, many manufacturers of the appliances are failing to see (and fully understand) the need to update their products to operate effectively with electrical protection equipment. There are a few reasons, which include:
Lack of Awareness:
Some manufacturers of commercial kitchen appliances may not be aware of the latest changes in the NEC guidelines (they are updated every 3 years, most recently in 2023) or may not have the resources to keep up with the regular updates. This can lead to non-compliance with the latest electrical safety requirements.
The NEC handbook is a very extensive set of guidelines and regulations, and compliance with the code requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Commercial kitchen appliance manufacturers may not have the necessary expertise and resources to ensure compliance with the latest NEC changes.
Commercial Kitchen manufacturers may have tight production schedules, and complying with the latest NEC changes may require additional time and effort, which can impact said production schedules.
Compliance with the latest NEC changes can increase the cost of electrical protection equipment and installation for suppliers of commercial kitchen equipment. This can make it difficult for manufacturers to offer affordable equipment to their customers.
Resistance to Change
Some manufacturers might not see these requirements as a necessity because they have not needed to add electrical protection to their products in the past. This can lead to their equipment not working well with GFCI products or being cumbersome to deal with during the installation/wiring process.
With all of these changes to the required electrical protection in commercial kitchen environments, it is imperative that owners of these kitchens understand and consult with the right people to make sure that their workplace continues to follow the necessary NEC stipulations. Make sure that you do your own research, consult with the electrical contractors who have dealt with your previous installations, and make sure you match electrical specifications of the GFCI you need to your given appliance so that you can meet the NEC requirements without worry.