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Hot Plate Use in Commercial Occupancies

Read about prohibitions and restrictions for use of hot plates in UC San Diego commercial occupancies.

A "hot plate" is defined as a device with a flat surface and an internal electric heating element that is used for cooking or heating food. 

Prohibitedhot plate

  • Hot plates may not be used to fry or cook food items that produce grease laden vapors (bacon, sausage, butter, etc.).
  • No liquid oils may be used when cooking or heating with hot plates; only small quantities of non-stick cooking spray may be used.
  • Gas fueled hot plates may not be used in commercial occupancies. Hot Plates are also not allowed to be used in any residential dormitory room.

Restricted use

  • Electric hot plates used in commercial occupancies not designed with a kitchen hood assembly must be listed by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • No more than 2 hot plate appliances may be used within a single commercial occupancy.
  • A vertical clearance of not less than 48 inches shall be provided between the top of all hot plates and combustible materials and ceilings.
  • Mount a 4A:60B:C fire extinguisher within 30 feet of hot plates.
  • Hot plates must be plugged into a GFCI (Ground Fault Current Interrupter) outlet.
  • Hot plates cannot be modified; they must be set on their own bases or legs and placed with a minimum horizontal clearance of 12 inches from combustible materials and walls.

Safety guidelines

  • Regularly check the cords and plugs of your electrical appliances to see if they're frayed, damaged or worn out. If they are, discard them. Make sure any electrical cord is kept away from heat.
  • Leave enough space around any electrical appliance to allow for heat dissipation. Also, keep any heating device away from flammable materials and combustible fuels.
  • Never leave turned-on appliances unattended.
  • Always unplug unused appliances.

Developed from NFPA Standards, California Fire Code regulations and Good Housekeeping safety guidelines.