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Kaplan ITA's Monthly Inspection Tips - Free Electronic Newsletter

January, 2007
Instant Water Heaters
Issue #57

This month I would like to discuss instant water heaters (AKA Insta-Hot). Many of us exclude these devices from our inspections and recommend to the client that they inquire with the seller regarding operation and performance. However, some inspectors include built-in appliances; instant hot water heaters being one of the included components.

Typical instant hot water dispenser, installed

Most instant water heaters have a capacity of about 1/3 to 2/3 gallon within a stainless steel, copper or glass-lined tank. An electric immersion heater keeps this water at a temperature of about 200 Degrees F. Most often the heating element operates on a standard 120V circuit. A separate glass filler spout at the sink deck dispenses hot water for use. Some models have a child lockout or child safe activator.

Often I find these devices unplugged and I am unable to test. I notify the client of the condition and recommend they inquire with the seller regarding function or have the unit checked by a qualified appliance repair person. If the unit is plugged in I check first for any corrosion or leakage from the tank or exposed piping. Once I am satisfied the unit is not leaking and is plugged in I operate the dispenser. Instead of immersing my hand in the out-coming water I use my thermometer and check the water temperature. It should be 160 to 200 degrees. Cool water may mean the thermostat is not set properly or is not functioning, or a defective heating element. Occasionally I test a unit that spurts steam out of the dispenser, typically a thermostat problem. The dispenser base should be tight to the sink and have positive shut-off when not in use.

Regardless of the condition of the unit I am sure to note in the report that my clients read the operating and care instructions (go to the Internet and obtain them if missing) and that these devices dispense very hot near-boiling water. Care should be exercised during use and children should be instructed of the hazard.

Everyone have a great 2007 and we will talk again next month.

We'll talk next month,

Mike Casey
Kaplan Professional Schools
Now You're Ready For Business!™



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