Gas Ranges with Spark Ignition Provide Efficiency

Eliminating the Standing Pilot

Unfortunately, the folks at ENERGY STAR haven’t yet started rating how any efficient commercial range scores on their scales. Still, manufacturers have been working to come up with an ever-growing list of features that helps users get the most out of their cooking equipment while helping cut costs on utility bills. One of the best things to look for if you’re in the market for a commercial range that will be easy on your wallet and the environment is an ignition system for gas ranges.

Gas Ranges with Standing Pilots Waste Fuel & Money

Gas ranges dominate the commercial cooking equipment market and have for generations. There are some good reasons for that, from the fact that natural gas has historically been cheaper than electricity in many areas to the instant-heat ability a gas flame provides. For many chefs, the only drawback of a gas commercial range is that it’s always on.

To provide an immediate flame in a safe way, the traditional gas range relies on standing pilots, small flames typically in each burner fed by a small flow of gas. In 36-inch gas ranges, the most popular version of this cooking equipment, you’ll likely find seven pilot flames burning all the time. While it may seem like no big deal since each flame is so small, the costs generated by standing pilots are actually huge when added up over the course of a year.

Commercial Gas Range

In fact, the average pilot light consumes 70-80 percent of gas used by a commercial range. So, if your kitchen uses 1,000 therms of natural gas per month, you may be able to cut that number down to just 200-300 therms simply by eliminating the pilot. Over the course of a year, that could mean thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in savings.

The problem is even more pronounced in kitchens that may not use the commercial stove as frequently, like those in churches and schools. In operations that only turn a gas range on once a day or once a week, the ratio of gas wasted to that used in cooking is even higher.

Spark Ignition Eliminates the Waste of a Standing Pilot

In an effort to address the waste issue and provide a more efficient commercial range, the manufacturers of this cooking equipment have added spark ignition systems to some gas models. They use an electric spark to light the flow of gas, enabling them to provide an immediate flame without having a pilot light burning constantly. Some of them even have a flame failure detector that notices if the fire flickers out while the gas is still on and reignites it.

Such systems have been common in Europe and in residential gas range models for many years, but have only recently begun to show up in number on commercial ranges in the United States. While they’re not guaranteed to cut gas consumption by 70-80 percent wasted by a standing pilot, they could certainly provide some savings for most commercial kitchens. For places like the aforementioned religious institutions and schools that infrequently fire up the commercial range, the reduction is likely to be noticeable.

Help to Find the Right Efficient Commercial Range

Finding cooking equipment that utilizes this technology isn’t always easy and even when you find it, it may be hard to determine which is the right gas range for your kitchen. KaTom Restaurant Supply has a staff of customer service representatives available by phone in our East Tennessee headquarters from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Time Monday through Friday. If you have questions about commercial ranges that don’t rely on a standing pilot or need helping choosing the best one for your application, please contact us at 1-800-541-8683 or