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Instant Hot Water Dispensers - Instant hot water dispensers deliver hot water without delay; at higher temperatures than standard faucets deliver. But first, we need to define what is meant here by instant hot water. There are three different types of instant hot water service and the services are often confused for another because they use a lot of the same terminology and do roughly the same thing.

The first type of instant hot water service is whole house instant hot water; hot water ready to pour out of any faucet, tub, shower or appliance when called for. This type of hot water is achieved by circulating hot water with a pump throughout the hot water water pipes and back to the water heater. If keeps the water warm because it is continually recirculated from the water heater. A second way this service can be achieved is with point-of-use water heaters serving remote parts of the home. Small point-of use water heaters are typically installed in the the immediate area of a sink and heat water on demand whenever the faucet is turned on. Finally a third way to provide immediate hot water service is with a small, auxiliary water heater. Hot water may arrive quickly enough in one part of the house, but in another part, cold water may run too long before hot water arrives. This can be remedied with an auxiliary water heater positioned to serve the far end of the home. The water heater typically holds only a few gallons, but has enough water for short-term usage. For a longer period of demand, the hot water from the main water heater should arrive before the local hot water tank is depleted. To learn more about any of these hot water service techniques, refer to our plumbing section.

A second type of hot water service people think of as synonymous with instant hot water is tankless water heaters. While tankless water heaters are also called on-demand water heaters and they do produce hot water nearly instantly, they do not deliver hot water instantly. It is a very common misconception that tankless water heaters deliver instant hot water, they do not. They make hot water, on demand and then deliver in exactly the same way as a traditional tank water heater. That is, the hot water flows through the hot water pipes to the faucets. The time it takes to arrive at any faucet is essentially the same amount of time it would take for a tank water heater. The key advantages of tankless water heaters is that they do not waste energy by continually heating stored water and that they can provide an unending supply of hot water. As in the discussion above, a tankless water heater can be outfitted with a recirculation pump to thus, provide hot water at every tap, but a tankless water heater should not be confused with an instant hot water dispenser. To learn more about tankless water heating systems refer to our plumbing section.

Finally, the instant hot water dispenser provides near boiling water to an auxiliary faucet, typically mounted near to the kitchen sink faucet. This service is designed for provision of hot water for food or drink preparation. It provides hot water on demand and contains a small store of hot water. This type of water dispenser uses a small electric heater to heat a tank of water. The tank is typically installed in the sink cabinet under the kitchen sink.

The instant hot water dispenser is a convenience that many say they would never do without once having used one. The convenience of preparing coffee, tea or other hot beverages is unrivaled. For use with cooking, it can save time by starting with water that already near boiling and can quickly be brought up to cooking temperature on the stove. These dispensers are all electric and use between 500 and 1500 watts; the higher wattage typically providing more and faster heating. Operating costs are low because actual usage is relatively small. A drawback to this device is that they tend to have low output rates, so filling an eight ounce cup can take about eight seconds. A second drawback is that they do present a scalding risk. Scalding occurs around 140° and these dispensers produce water at about 190-200°, a consideration if members of your family are at risk of accidentally misusing this type of faucet. Dispensers can be bought with the heating unit and faucet as a package or faucets can be bought separately and be paired with heating units from another manufacturer. When selecting, be certain as to whether the heating tank is included in the price. Prices for hot water dispenser range from about $120 to $400.

If you will be buying a hot water dispenser, consider getting one with water filtration to get the best tasting water. A drawback to an integral water filter is that replacement filters may be expensive or difficult to find. A potentially better alternative is to install a filtration system for the entire kitchen or home. This will filter water to the water dispenser, ice-maker, sink faucet, pot-filler, plumbed coffee brewing equipment and any other source of water used for drinking or food preparation.

For more kitchen planning and design information, visit our main Kitchen Section.

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*All prices are estimated MSRP

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