Why do you need instant hot water at the sink?

eleenaApril 11, 2013

I know it sounds silly but I have never had it and IDK why I would need it. Is it just heated tap water or this thing brings it close to boiling temperature?

I have always believed that hot tap water is not good for cooking because bacteria multiplies in warm water that has not been boiled. I never fill my pots with hot water, only cold, and then bring them to boil on the stove or in a tea kettle.

Am I mistaken?

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I use it to warm baby bottles, hot tea water, occasionally to boil water with but mostly not. I also use it to rinse things clean like knives and things. It was already in place, on our new build I haven't decided just yet to put one in. I hear of people whose insta-hots have leaked and caused major problems.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 1:10PM
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I put instant hot into my new kitchen after my sister convinced me that it was a really great thing to have. I have to say that I really like it. I keep it set at a very hot temperature and use it to make my French press coffee and for tea. I don't need to keep the tea kettle on the stove anymore. It is also great when I need to use broth for a recipe. I can mix the jarred chicken/beef/veggie base with the hot water and create broth quickly as an alternative to opening a quart box of it if I only need a little bit. Finally, the instant hot is really great for cleaning up.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 2:24PM
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The insta-hot devices are so you can have water hot enough to make tea, etc.; without running the water until the water heater's supply reaches you.

I have always believed that hot tap water is not good for cooking because bacteria multiplies in warm water that has not been boiled. No, pathogenic bacteria cannot multiply in plain water because they need a food source, In any place with chlorinated water, they can't even passively survive in the tap water.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 2:28PM
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I don't have one of these, but I will tell you that my friend has had one for years and she said it is her favorite thing in her kitchen. She said if she redoes the kitchen, it's the one thing she will absolutely have again.

I liked your question, though, because I didn't know what they were used for, either.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Holly- Kay

I don't have one and I am not putting one in my kitchen reno but I do admit to using my Keurig as an instant hot water method!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Not only bacteria survive in tap water but ameba/amoeba as well. Have you read stories of people who died using tap water in their neti pots?

The FDA states that "some tap water contains low levels of organisms, such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas" (see link).

Tap water is not chlorinated enough to kill all bacteria. It is known that bacteria multiply when water gets warmer but does not reach temperature close to boiling. That is why it is recommended that we boil water for SEVERAL l minutes to kill all organisms.

But if it gets hot enough to make tea or coffee, isn't it dangerous if one has small children???

Here is a link that might be useful: FDA warning

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 2:59PM
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We love our instant hot water tap. My teenage son announced recently that was one of the top 100 inventions. We make alot of tea and hot cocoa. I also use it to rinse things to kill germs etc.

My kids are older but I would be more worried about them turning on the stove or putting a hand on a still hot glass top surface. None of that ever happened. The stream is much smaller than your faucet and you must keep pressure on it for the water to flow. The instant someone felt the hot water they would let go and it would stop.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:37PM
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Fori is not pleased

The reason to not drink hot water from household plumbing is that nasty things can leach into hot water from old pipes (like lead solder if you go back in plumbing time far enough).

An instant hot tank is a different ball of wax. It's meant to provide hot drinking water so the tank won't put metallic nasties into the water. It's also too hot for stuff to grow. I used mine for coffee (French press), tea, cleaning the floor, pasta, etc. I miss it and will put in a new one if I ever get around to remodeling.

Bacteria and protozoans may be present in tap water. But they won't multiply without food. It's simply impossible. They would have to get to a food source first. Additionally, in US and Canadian water, if a pathogenic critter is found, steps are taken. We do not have waterborne diseases in TAP water.

Non-pathogenic bacteria and amoebas and whatnot? Eh. You have more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Don't worry about it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:40PM
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We use ours for many of the tasks mentioned. It was recommended by a friend and I use it every single day.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 4:20PM
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There are plenty of waterborne diseases found in tap water. Plenty. Legionella. Crypto. And you are the food. They even multiply in hot water heaters, sometimes.

I had an InstaHot in the old place, and never used it. The water does not come out boiling hot, and cools further when it hits the pot, cup, whatever. So my tea was always weak if I tried making it at the sink. I'm not putting in a new one.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Fori is not pleased

How can I be the food for disease organisms that are in a pipe or tank? How do they multiply without a food source? Is it magic?

If these things are in our tap water, we should be putting ALL our tap water through an instant hot because it gets water hot enough to kill them. (If yours doesn't, you have a crappy one.) These dangerous creatures are not endemic to geysers or other hot spots. They are not going to thrive just because things get super hot. You'd have to get one of those funky bacteria from natural hot springs (which would probably find the chemical composition of your water intolerable).

If you do not currently get sick from your tap water, you will not get sick from it after it spends time in an instant hot tank.

Whether or not it makes a good cup of tea is a whole 'nother issue.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:21PM
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I am in complete agreement with marcolo regarding the taste of tea made with the insta-hot.

I suppose if you do not taste the difference between a cup of tea made with hot water versus boiling water, then you should put one in. If you notice the difference, then it is not for you.

I have an electric tea kettle for that purpose. I have transitioned from a tea kettle on the stove top to the electric tea kettle because the electric kettle is less troublesome.

I use the instant hot water to make tea at work. The tea is less than ideal, but I drink it because I do not have other options at work.

In my own kitchen, I would never resort to making tea with water that is not boiling.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:26PM
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I use mine for tea, hot chocolate, adding to espresso for "regular" strength coffee because it is faster that the tap on the coffee maker, dissolving gelatin, adding a splash to tap water for warm water when I'm in a hurry to dissolve my yeast or don't want to waste a couple gallons waiting for the hot water at the tap, hot chocolate, occasional instant oatmeal or to shorten time for truly boiling water as well as to soak pans for easier clean up. My son uses it for cleaning his trombone mouthpiece and says it may be one of the first things he wants to install in a kitchen.

Marcolo, mine has a temperature adjustment. Did yours?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:28PM
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ok tea snobs (myself included!) lets not get carried away as we don't even know if eleena drinks tea.

I just did a quick check on one of my tea cans from teavana. There are lots of different temps to be used with different teas. I have read many times that while some black teas can handle boiling water it is not advised on most green, white or other delicate teas.

My instant water temp is on high and steaming as it comes out. I don't worry about the exact temp for my tea (mostly green). I think for most tea drinkers it would be a wonderful addition to your kitchen. If you have certain temp needs for your fav drink then you may need to research it more.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Yes, I drink tea, all kinds of tea, from herbal to red to green to black. :-)

So, it sounds that the thingy is like having an undercounter tea kettle with a faucet.

So, what about small children and safety?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:07PM
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I'm putting one in my new kitchen. I make coffee with a french press each morning, and waiting for the coffee to boil is bothersome.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:55PM
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I don't remember whether mine had a control or not--we sold a few years back. But it wasn't like you needed to be a tea snob to notice the difference. In fact, even a microwave is way better than my instant hot was. I suppose models vary, but I just didn't like it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 7:09PM
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kaismom - does your work have a microwave? Boil the water in your teacup, then put the tea bag in. Works OK, better than a "hot water" thingie, but I still prefer boiled on the stove and poured into a teapot. Hey, it could be worse. Worse to the point of skipping the tea altogether is tea in a styrofoam cup.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Pathogenic bacterial growth stops at about 126 F. You start killing them at about 130 F (other than the thermophillic bacteria that Fori was alluding to). Your Instahot water will be very well pasteurized by the time you drink it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:12PM
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There are many teas that are more optimally brewed at temps below boiling. Especially green tea. Just had to throw that out there.

I didn't put one in, and sometimes I regret it. Grew up with one, my parents' current kitchen has one. Mom's favorite discovery was that if she was measuring something sticky - say molasses or corn syrup for a recipe - she'd quickly run the measuring cup under the hot tap to make it nice and warm then the molasses or honey would slide right out of the cup. But, she initially installed it for easy tea, cocoa and that type of thing. With a temp set at 200* it was definitely fine for brewing a cup of tea. She used it for all the above mentioned options as well. Quick rinsing and refreshing pasta among them.

My dad is now a widower and will use it to get a quick start on pasta water. Fill the pot from the insta-hot, put it on the stove and it is boiling that much faster, almost instantly.

Safety. That really depends on how often your child is playing at the sink where you would install it. They might now come with safety features. It is certainly hot enough to cause a burn. Depending on the ages of the kids, I think they could be taught pretty quickly not to mess with it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:41PM
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I have had several instahots over the last 20 years. I love it. I love tea and import my tea from England. I turn the setting up high, prerinse the cup with hot water and get a very nice, hot cup of tea - the convenience for me is worth whatever loss of tea flavoring. I have about 8 cups of tea a day.

I use it on my lint free towels that I wipe my marble with. I use it to coddle an egg for use in caesar salad dressing (I guess I am not worried about pathogens!).

I unplug mine when I go away because we have very hard water here.

I really don't use it for cooking. If my kids are making pastina, they might use it. Oh I use it for rice. Pasta requires too much water for me. I still follow my mother's advice of always using cold water so that the lead from old pipes doesn't leach into the hot water. The instahot has its own tubing, so if cold water goes into the instahot (I am not sure if cold or hot water goes into it) and then it is heated and sent to the dispensor, then you don't have to worry about old pipes.

I think the netty pot scare came from well water down South where there was higher levels of bacteria due to warmer temperatures.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:49PM
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I'm just amazed at all the uses people get out of these things. Really amazed. I had one for ten years and used it maybe three times. Way too hot for me to clean with--I burned myself the one time I tried that, despite trying to be careful. Way too hot for cocoa, too. Yet too cool for tea. :shrug:

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:44PM
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