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Hot Water Dispensers

Welcome to AP Wagner. You have come to the source for keeping your Hot Water Dispenser and other appliances running like new! Below is some very beneficial information about how hot water dispensers work, as well as what can go wrong with them. You will find answers to many common questions, and learn how to properly maintain your hot water dispenser. We provide many repair and service tips about hot water dispensers. A handy do-it-yourselfer can use this valuable information to determine what's wrong with their hot water dispenser. The DIY can further use this knowledge to repair their hot water dispenser using the appropriate appliance parts. We provide a model lookup feature and an easy to use appliance parts finder to make your repair jobs easier. We also have appliance cleaning products, and an easy to use shopping cart.

The following information should help you repair your Hot Water Dispenser. The information applies to most makes and models including: General Electric, JC Penney, Kenmore, Kitchen Aid, Montgomery Ward, Sears, Whirlpool, and more.

Warning! Reduce your risk of personal injury or death. Disconnect your appliance from its power source before you start any troubleshooting or repairs. Danger of electric shock when working on electric appliances. Appliances have many razor-like machined edges; use caution when working inside any appliance.

How do Hot Water Dispensers work?


A hot water dispenser typically holds a couple quarts or liters of water. It initially heats the water to boiling, and then maintains the temperature slightly below boiling, at about 190F. Many models have an adjustable thermostat. They are typically used for an immediate source of very hot water for making: instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate, ramen noodles, or any other time that clean, hot water is needed.

Your dispenser should be plugged into a grounded, three prong outlet. Do not use an adapter or extension cord. Never have this unit turned on unless it is filled with water.

The principle behind hot water dispensers is simple. It takes water from the cold water supply, and heats it up in readiness for hot water demand. The water flows into a small, insulated holding tank that has an unexposed heating element in it. Usually located under your sink, it connects to your household water supply by copper tubing. Next, an electric heating element heats the water to the desired temperature. A thermostat controls the heating element to keep the water temperature within a desired range, between about 185F and 195F, at about 190F. The sink top control valve sometimes has a pressure relief valve in it to allow for water expansion as the tank water is heated up. The water is dispensed from a valve near your faucet. Unfortunately, once internal parts go in this appliance, there's not a lot you can do to fix them, and it's probably more cost effective to just replace the unit.
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Common Questions about Hot Water Dispensers (FAQs)

Here are some common questions about Hot Water Dispensers

Why is there no hot water? Check to make sure the unit has power. Hot water dispensers usually run off of 110V outlets. To verify power to the unit, you can plug in a different appliance, such as a hair dryer. If you have no power, check the fuse or circuit breaker.

On many hot water dispensers, there is an overload safety switch. Other models may have an internal fuse that may have blown. To reset an overload switch, simply push it in. Wait 15-20 minutes and check to see if you have hot water. If you have your hot water dispenser plugged in to an outlet, make sure that if the outlet is operated by a switch, that the switch is in the ON position. Perhaps your cold water is still getting heated. Turn the thermostat to the Maximum heat position.

Occasionally, the heating element will burn out. Some models have replaceable heating elements. Check your owner's manual to see if yours is one of them.
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Why is the water too hot? When a hot water dispenser is first installed, it may be set to a certain temperature. It initially boils the water, then maintains it at the set temperature. If you want yours hotter or cooler, you can sometimes adjust this setting with a thermostat.
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Why does it constantly sound like the water is boiling? The hot water dispenser will usually boil the water first, and then maintain the temperature at the set point of the thermostat. The altitude at which you live helps determine the air pressure. Low air pressure leads to a lower boiling point for water. Are you in an area of high elevation? If you think the water is boiling, you can lower the thermostat settings on many models.
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Can I adjust the temperature of my Hot Water Dispenser? Sometimes, yes. Many hot water dispensers are thermostatically controlled to go from Off and up to about 190F. It will usually boil the water first, and then maintain the temperature at about 190F. Consult your owner's manual for directions.
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How hot is the water from my dispenser? Heating water up to boiling and then holding it at 190F or higher, this water can cause serious scalding burns. Be very careful, and monitor your children’s use of this unit.
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Why is the faucet leaking? As water heats up, it increases in volume by expansion. Sometimes a faucet will drip from the excess pressure. A little may be normal, but if there’s a lot, there’s a problem. Determine exactly where it’s leaking from and proceed from there. Sometimes the water valve packing can go bad or washers can wear out.
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Why is there no water pressure? If the pressure is suddenly a lot less than you were getting, check for any leaks underneath. If not, turn off the water supply and look for obstructions in the line and valve. Sometimes the faucet screen gets clogged with sediments and particulates or rust. If you think this is the problem, these screens are fairly easy to clean or replace.
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How does my Hot Water Dispenser work? Your hot water dispenser works because electricity heats a nichrome element in the reservoir, which then heats the water.
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Why doesn't any water come out when I press the button? Make sure the water supply valve is open and that there are no kinks in the supply line. If you are using a water filter, make sure there is enough water pressure. You should have about 20 psi at the dispenser. Check to make sure the faucet screen is not clogged.
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Why does my water taste yucky? If your water tastes yucky, verify that your water supply line is attached to the cold water supply, not the hot water supply. You may want to add a water filtration system to the supply. Sometimes, if you haven't used the dispenser in several days, three days or more, you will want to purge the system of old water. Hold open the cap for two or three minutes to purge the old water from the tank. Allow it to heat up to the desired temperature, and dispense again. The bad taste should be gone if that was the problem.
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Do I need to do anything if I go on vacation? If you're going away for three days or more, there is some preventive maintenance that you can take care of before you leave. Turn the temperature control to Off, unplug the power supply, and turn the faucet cap to open and run it until the water runs out cold. Now, turn the water supply off. Some manufacturers have specific procedures for you to follow about removing the dispenser itself and draining it. Consult your owner's manual. You will usually want to leave the unit and the water supply to it turned off until you return.
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Maintenance Tips for Hot Water Dispensers

Household appliances have average lifetime expectancies. Maintaining your appliances properly can extend their lifetime indefinitely.

If you have to do any kind of repair or maintenance on this unit, make sure to unplug it from the power supply.

Do not let children operate this unit, if they do, please monitor their use of it. The water has a very high temperature and can scald or seriously burn anyone.

Keep the hot water dispenser clean.

If you will not be using the unit for a long period of time, like over the winter in a summer home, you will want to disconnect and empty the unit. For detailed instructions, look at the owner's manual.

If the dispenser has a faucet screen, you can use a small brush and vinegar to remove hard-water deposits.

A leaky hot water dispenser should be replaced or repaired as soon as possible.
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