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What Is The Difference Between An Instant Hot Water Dispenser And Water Heater?


A constant supply of hot water is something many homeowners take for granted – and you’ll only realize it when your hot water runs cold in the middle of a shower. For homeowners, convenience is key. While a tank/tankless water heater is a necessity that does require water heater maintenance at least once a year, some homeowners may also choose to install an instant hot water dispenser in their kitchen. But what is the difference between these two fixtures?

Let’s start with the basics of how an instant hot water dispenser differs from a hot water heater:

Water Heaters

Most homes make use of a tank system water heater. This provides hot water in your bathroom, to your washer, as well as in your kitchen for your sink and your dishwasher. In general, it works by using electricity to heat up the water – although there are some models that make use of gas. These types of heaters are insulated as they store water until it’s ready for you to use. The problem is that the hot water coming from a water heater, often takes time to heat up after you have used the stored supply. This could result in water or time wastage as you wait for the water to heat up to acceptable temperatures. The size of your tank also plays a role in things, as the larger the tank, the more hot water you’ll have at your disposal. If your tank is too small, you may find yourself involuntarily taking a cold shower.

An alternative to the tank system is a tankless model. With a tankless water heater system, you are able to save a fair amount of energy each month. With this system, water is only heated as you need it. Tankless heaters are great if you want to save on your utility bills and they don’t take up any extra space. Without a tank that holds water, the chances of water damage to your home is significantly lower should anything go wrong. There are things that aren’t so great about tankless systems; you will need to constantly maintain it to avoid the high mineral concentration in the water, and depending on the type of tankless heater (electric/gas) you may need to make certain modifications to your home. You may also have to install a water softener system in order for your tankless manufacturer’s warranty to be upheld.

Instant Hot Water Dispenser

It’s exactly what it sounds like – it’s a small plumbing fixture that allows you to instantly have hot water at your disposal. A small tank with a built-in heater is fitted into your home kitchen, that instantly heats up and stores water inside of it. It is mostly used in the kitchen to provide you with small amounts of hot water to use for cooking, warm drinks etc. You’ll have access to near boiling water at any moment but there are a few disadvantages to having a hot water dispenser. It is not meant for you to use in large amounts. It provides you with a minimal amount of water suitable for small needs and it does rely on electricity. Should anything go wrong in your home or residential area, and the local gas or electrical supply is shut off, you won’t have any access to hot water at all until the electricity or gas supply returns. Another thing you will need to consider is that electricity costs spike during peak hour usage, if you need hot water during that time frame you will end up paying a higher electrical premium.

Dispenser vs Water Heater

The answer is simple. A tank/tankless hot water heater is a necessity in your home to provide you with hot water. A hot water dispenser is only really useful in your kitchen if you’d like to have smaller amounts of hot water on hand at a moment’s notice without having to boil water on the stove or in an electric kettle. While a water heater is a necessity, a hot water dispenser is a “nice to have” fixture.

If you need to decide between repairing and replacing your current water heater or if you’d like to install an instant hot water dispenser in your home, you can contact one of our licensed plumbers at Art Plumbing, AC & Electric at 1-800-475-1504.

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