Buying Guide for a Hot Water Dispenser
Have you ever turned on the kitchen faucet and waited several minutes for the water to run hot? Kitchen and bathroom faucets are not designed to give you hot water in an instant. Most faucets are hooked into the water supply and heater, so you need to wait for at least 3 – 5 minutes to get hot water. Even then you’d almost never get boiling water.
Now while that’s perfectly fine for most everyday tasks, it is inconvenient in the kitchen. There are times when you need 1 or 2 cups of hot water for tea, soups, or because you’re cooking large meals for the family. What can you do other than start boiling water on the stove?
Instant hot water dispensers could be the solution you’re looking for. Now there are 2 ways to get instant hot water in the kitchen:
- Built-in hot water dispensers
- Countertop kettles
The latter is a good option if you need hot water rarely, say maybe once or twice a week. But they take up precious counter space and don’t offer much beyond the basics. Built-in dispensers come with an under-sink tank and a faucet which is where you would get the hot water from. They are convenient, durable, easy to install, and the higher-end models also have temperature controls and safety shut-off features.
Most instant hot water dispensers have the same components. The units are compact so they can fit below the sink. The interior tank holds water and a heating element. The size of the tank and the element dictates how much hot water you can get instantly. Stainless steel tanks are more durable than alternative materials. The water stays hot longer as well.
Apart from that, you may have a control dial to adjust the temperature and even turn the unit off. So when you go on vacation, you can switch the knob off. The other main component will be the thermostat. It tells the heating element to turn off when the water reaches the desired temperature. Some models also have auto shut-off features to ensure the element does not turn on when the tank holds no water.
Do you need an instant hot water dispenser?
These instant dispensers are not a necessity so most people don’t think of adding the unit when building or buying a house. However, there are incredibly convenient and after installing one, you might wonder how you managed without it!
Built-in hot water dispensers are easy to install. Many models offer tool-less installation, so you can do it yourself. The unit allows you to set the temperature and you can get near-boiling water immediately. It might not seem like much but when you need 1 cup of boiling water for a particular recipe or to sterilize bottles, they can be invaluable.
However, these units can be expensive especially if you want one with a bigger tank, more power, and better features. If your current sink does not have a free hole for the faucet, you might need to change the sink itself or drill an extra hole. Hiring a plumber for the task will cost extra and you may not have room in your budget.
What to look for?
When buying a built-in unit look for specific features that are important to you. For instance, how hot should the water get? Can you turn it off? Since these units are always on – so to speak – you should consider energy efficiency as well. The best units don’t cost more than a few cents per day.
The next thing to note is the tank capacity. Also called draw-off, it’s how much hot water you can get before the tank needs to refill. You should get between 40 – 60 cups of water per hour for most models. You also want to note the build quality and materials used. Insulated tanks keep the water hot for longer while stainless steel ones will be more durable.
Style and finishes
Not all dispensers come with the faucet, you might have to buy it separately. It’s much easier to get a model that has the faucet, saving you another trip to the store and worrying about compatibility. Consider a model like an InVite H-HOT100™ Instant Hot Water Dispenser which comes with a choice of faucet finishes in either chrome or satin nickel. An option like this allows you to match the hot water faucet with your existing sink setup. Also consider a tank and filtration system, like the InSinkErator – Hot Water Tank & Filtration System.
Other popular finishes include black, white, brass, and even copper/gold options. You can get low-slung models that are easy to reach or high neck models which are great as pot fillers. Whatever the existing finish and style of your kitchen sink, you can find a matching hot water dispenser so that everything looks coherent. So, go ahead and add hot water on demand to your kitchen sink!