How to Troubleshoot Instant Hot Water Dispensers

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Things You'll Need

  • Owner's manual for hot water unit

  • Screwdriver

  • Replacement filter (optional)


Remember to refill the water tank before plugging the unit back in to prevent the motor from burning out. If you no longer have the owner's manual for your unit try looking on the manufacturer’s website. They may have your manual available for download.


Always wear rubber gloves to prevent burning your hands. Inspect your unit on a regular basis for signs of leakage. Replace tubing immediately to prevent any damage to items stored under the sink.

Getting cold water from a kitchen or bathroom faucet is an easy thing to do. Getting hot water can be quite a different story. Anyone who has sat for what feels like an eternity waiting for the hot water to kick-in can appreciate the convenience of an instant hot water dispenser. Instant hot water dispensers install and operate much like a normal faucet and usually provide many years of trouble-free use. For those times when problems do occur, it is useful to know how to troubleshoot and make minor repairs.


No Hot Water/Water Not Hot Enough

Step 1

Check the power cord. Most units plug in under the sink and can become loose or unplug if accidentally pulled on. If the cord appears to be connected, check to make sure electric current is running. Unplug the unit and plug in a nightlight. If the nightlight does not work, check the fuse box to see if a fuse needs replacing.

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Step 2

Press the reset switch. The reset/overload switch will be on the front of the base unit (usually a red button) or behind a panel on the base unit that you will need to unscrew and remove to see. Press the reset/overload switch on the unit, wait 15 minutes and try the tap. If this does not work, the heating element may need replacing.


Step 3

Adjust water temperature. Most units come with the water temperature preset at 200 degrees. If your unit is set below this temperature, turn the control knob until it reaches 200 degrees or Max. Wait approximately 15 minutes for the water to heat and run the tap.

Water Dripping/Leaking/Sputtering

Step 1

Clean waterspout. Unscrew the end piece from the waterspout, check for any blockage. Wipe it off with a mixture of vinegar and water and replace.

Step 2

Adjust water temperature. Water expands as it heats, so if the water temperature is set too high, a full tank may be under too much pressure. Lowering the temperature may relieve some pressure.


Step 3

Inspect the water filter. Water filters need replacing every six to 12 months. The location of the filter and instructions for replacing it will depend on your manufacturer. Refer to the owner's manual or call the customer service department for further instructions.

Step 4

Check the water-supply valve. Unplug the power cord and wait a few minutes. If the unit is still leaking, check the water-supply valve to make sure it is open. Inspect the water line to make sure there is not a kink in the line. If these things check out, the problem is could be due to a poorly mounted saddle valve.


references & resources

Jackie Lohrey

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.