Insinkerator Hot Water Dispenser How-to & Troubleshooting Guide

Insinkerator Hot Water Dispenser How-to & Troubleshooting Guide

Insinkerator series by Emerson is renowned for its quality water systems. Their hot water dispensers connect to the kitchen sink faucet to give you near-boiling instant hot water with the quick turn of the faucet handle. Despite their durability, these hot water dispensers are prone to developing issues such as poor installation, insufficient maintenance, or simple wear over time.

You are likely to experience leaking problems from various parts of the system, water temperature issues, and water flow fluctuations. Below, we have explained how to troubleshoot some common issues and give a detailed installation guide you can do yourself.

How to install an Insinkerator hot water dispenser

Depending on the dispenser model, the connections and details will vary slightly, but the principles will be the same. You can easily install the Insinkerator hot water dispenser without the help of a professional plumber using the following procedure.


  • Drill
  • Provided hex tool
  • T-fitting
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Control valve
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil


  • Identify the mounting locations for the dispenser, faucet, tank, and filter. Check under the sink to make sure there is sufficient clearance for the dispenser handles to open fully.
  • Ensure you have a grounded wall outlet for the dispenser and that it is within reach for the electrical cord, and it should not connect to any other appliance like the garbage disposer or dishwasher.
  • Use a measuring tape to ensure the countertop is three inches thick or less.
  • Turn off the main water supply to the kitchen.
  • Unpack the dispenser faucet, place it on the flat countertop, and carefully straighten the copper tubing.
  • Insert the black rubber seal over the tubing through to the bottom.
  • Thread the faucet through the hole to mount it on the countertop and make sure the rubber seal sits correctly on the dispenser.
  • From underneath the sink, place the semi-circular mounting plate on the threaded stud. Next, connect the hex nut, use the provided hex tool and tighten it to keep the faucet from turning.
  • Choose a location under the sink to mount the tank within reach of both plumbing and electrical connections. Also, make sure there is adequate space underneath the tank for drainage.
  • Hold the tank vertically on the chosen spot and mark the two drilling locations for the screws above the tank.
  • Use an eight-inch drill bit to make two screw holes on the wall. Insert the screws loosely, hang the tank over the screws and tighten them with the screwdriver.
  • Without pressing the gray button, connect the three tubes from the facet onto the tank. Insert the blue tube into its fitting until it clicks into place, the white tube fits onto the middle fitting, and the transparent tube fits onto the far correct fitting. Make sure there are no crimped or bent tubes.
  • Determine the length of tubing required for the plumbing connections, making sure to cut perpendicular and burr-free. Next, insert one of the white tubes into the inlet side of the filter head and the other onto the outlet side of the filter head.
  • Connect the dispenser to the filtration system
  • For hot-only models, connect the white-taped tube from the faucet to the “Y” quick-connector fitting and then connect the white tube from the filter head onto the quick-connector.
  • For the hot/cold models, connect the tube from the filter head outlet into the quick-connector fitting and then insert both faucet copper tubes into the quick-connect fitting.
  • Attach the remaining white tube to the incoming water supply line.
  • Install at-fitting onto the cold water supply line and then connect a water control valve with a compression fitting.
  • Insert the brass nut and ferrule of the control valve over the white tube from the filter head or quick-connector and then fit the white tube into the compression fitting and tighten the nut.
  • Without plugging the electrical cable, turn on the cold water supply and then turn on the hot faucet until it fills the tank, and cold water will come out of the faucet. Leave the faucet running for about three minutes to flush the system.
  • Connect the electrical plug to the power outlet, and it will take about 10-15 minutes for the water to reach the right temperature. It is typical for water to drip from the faucet and to hear gurgling or hissing during the first hot water cycle.

How to correctly use an Insinkerator hot water dispenser

Operate the hot/cold dispenser following the steps below.

  • To dispenser hot water from the faucet, press down the faucet handle and then push the handle back towards the red indicator on top of the faucet handle.
  • To dispense cold water, press down the faucet handle and then pull the handle forward towards the blue indicator at the top of the handle.

How much power will an Insinkerator hot water dispenser consume?

The hot water tanks vary in size and heating elements’ wattage. Most tanks of 1/3 and 1/2 gallons have heating elements with 500 to 1300 watts. Therefore, the Insinkerator hot water dispenser consumes about an average of  1200 watts. A typical household uses a hot water dispenser for about 1.5 hours a day. To determine the daily power consumption by the hot water dispenser, use the electricity usage calculator; enter the number of usage hours, power in wattage, electricity cost, and then click calculate. So with an average consumption of 1200 watts for 1.5 hours per day at $0.0986 per kilowatt-hour, it costs you approximately $11 kWh.

How do I clean my Insinkerator hot water dispenser?

The water tank of your hot water dispenser will build up with some limescale over time. Remove this build-up is essential in ensuring the dispenser works efficiently. Here is how to clean your Insinkerator hot water dispenser.

  • Unplug the dispenser from power.
  • Turn off the cold water supply valve and allow the tank to cool down.
  • Connect a drain hose to the drain valve at the bottom side of the water tank. Place the other end of the drainpipe into a bucket.
  • Turn on the hot water faucet to avoid forming a vacuum within the pipes.
  • Open the drain valve, allow the water from the tank to drain, and close the drain valve.
  • Open the cold water supply and the drain valve and allow water to flush through for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Once you notice the water draining, if free from dirt particles and sediment, close the drain valve.
  • Open the cold water supply and open the faucet to allow the tank to fill up with water.
  • If you have a filtration system, change the filter cartridge.
  • Close the faucet, plug the dispenser into the electrical outlet for the water to reheat. You will have to run the water through the tank several times to flush out any dirt in the pipes.

How to descale an Insinkerator hot water dispenser

If your hot water dispenser is experiencing reduced flow, it is probably time to descale it. Follow the quick guide below.

  • Unplug the electrical cord from the power outlet and allow the water in the tank to cool down.
  • Clear the under-sink area and place a towel to catch any leaking water.
  • Turn off the cold water supply.
  • Disconnect the three tubes on top of the dispenser tank.
  • Loosen the screws holding the hot water tank to the wall, lift the tank and remove it from underneath the sink.
  • Check the cold water inlet and make sure it is open. If it is clogging with limescale, gently pry out the deposits using a screwdriver, making sure not to damage other parts.
  • Hold the tank upside down over the sink to drain it.
  • Use a funnel and pour one cup of white vinegar into the water tank without diluting it with water. We advise against using any chemicals to dissolve the mineral deposits as they can be difficult to drain out, making your drinking water toxic.
  • Allow the vinegar to sit for about six hours to work on the limescale build-up.
  • After the sitting time, drain out the vinegar solution.
  • Reconnect the water tank underneath the sink.
  • Without connecting the power cord, open the cold water supply and the faucet to refill the tank.
  • Let the water run for about 10-15 minutes to flush out the vinegar solution from the tank.
  • When the water tastes vinegar-free, reconnect the power cord and allow hot water to refill the tank.

Insinkerator hot water dispenser handle is stuck.

Dirt and gunk under the faucet hub can cause the faucet handle to get stuck. You can quickly fix a stuck handle using the instructions below.


  • Slot screwdriver
  • 3/4 inch open-end wrench
  • Spray lubricant(silicone-based faucet grease)
  • Rag or toothbrush
  • WD40
  • Penetrating oil
  • Scrap wood
  • Faucet puller


  • Turn off the cold water supply.
  • Use an open-end wrench to disconnect the small retaining cap that holds the faucet handle. Remove it gently not to scratch the finish.
  • Use the slot screwdriver for popping off the handle pivot cap and expose the stuck plunger. If it is stuck, spray some lubricant, wait for a few minutes and try again.
  • Remove the entire plunger assembly using a wall socket to remove the hex cap that holds the plunger assembly in place.
  • Use warm water mixed with dishwashing soap and scrub off the dirt using a toothbrush or cloth.
  • Spray some WD40 and let it soak and loosen stubborn dirt for a few hours.
  • Wipe off any cleaning solution residue, lubricate the connection between the handle and valve stem with silicone-based faucet grease and then reassemble the handle.

Insinkerator hot water dispenser is dripping.

After a new install, it is normal for the faucet to drip. However, if the problem persists, there are a few possible causes for this. The best way to troubleshoot a leaking dispenser is to identify the leaking location.

Dripping from the faucet

  • Depending on the water quality of your area, mineral deposits will build up in the valves in the system, causing the faucet to stay open even when in the open position. Spray some limescale remover down in the handle to break down the deposits. Run cold water through the system for a few minutes to remove the chemical residue and then check if the dripping persists.
  • If the problem does not resolve, the faucet valve could be leaking. Disconnect the quick-connect fitting from the tank and check if the faucet is still dripping water without turning the handle; the valve is leaking. If the valve leaks, you need to replace the faucet.

Leaking around the tank connections

  • If the dispenser is a new install, check to see if the connections are tight and secure. Then, tighten the nuts and connections, making sure the tubes are not crimped.
  • If you have the Duratank model, check the nylon nut and clamps and verify that they are sufficiently tight.
  • If you have the barbed fittings model, ensure the tubes are correctly attached to the fittings. The dispenser tubes should be cut perpendicular to the tubes and without burrs to ensure watertight connections. If the cuts are not clean, disconnect them and cut them correctly.

Leaking from the tank

  • You should call for an authorized Insinkerator technician to fix any leaking from the tank as it might require a tank replacement.

Insinkerator hot water dispenser is spitting.

It is typical for the hot water dispenser to sputter a little water upon initial start-up but if it is too forceful that it splashes on you, follow the troubleshooting tips below.

  • If the water temperature is too high, the water will start boiling and cause the spitting when you open the faucet. Therefore, locate the thermostat dial on the front of the water tank and slowly turn it counterclockwise to reduce the temperature. If the water is still too hot, you should press or twist the faucet handle for 20 seconds to allow cold water to fill up the tank and adjust to the new setting.
  • If adjusting the temperature doesn’t work, then the dispenser may have a loose connection. Check all the connections from the tank to the faucet, look for signs of water, and tighten the connections.
  • Clean the aerator to remove hard water mineral deposits. Disconnect the power cord to the hot water, open the faucet to empty the tank as it cools down. Remove the screws holding the aerator to the faucet’s end and then run water through it to clean it. Screw back the aerator onto the faucet and plug the tank back in.
  • If the spitting continues, call in an authorized Insinkerator technician.

Check this too: Kenmore Water Softener How to and Troubleshooting Guide

Insinkerator hot water dispenser is leaking from handle

Below are the reasons why your dispenser could be leaking from the handle and their possible solutions.

  • Low water pressure: Check the water pressure and make sure it is above 30PSI. If the pressure is too low, make sure the main water supply valve is fully open.
  • Long tubing: Measure the tubing from the tank to the faucet and make sure it does not exceed 16 inches. If the tubing is too long, disconnect them, make clean perpendicular cuts and reconnect them.
  • Blocked faucet vent path: Remove the blue vent tube from the tank and blow air through the tube to remove any blockage, such as debris. If the vent tube doesn’t clear, you have to replace the faucet.

Why is my Insinkerator hot water dispenser not heating?

After installing the hot water dispenser, it will take about 15 minutes for the water to reach the set temperature. However, if the problem persists, here is how to fix the issue.

  • Check the temperature. Locate the thermostat on the water tank and turn it clockwise to increase the temperature.
  • Check the electrical connection and ensure the dispenser connects to a well-grounded electric outlet. If the electrical outlet is not working, check the circuit breaker and look for tripped switches. Reset the tripped switches to send current to the power outlet.
  • If you have a Duratank model, check the reset switch, which acts as a thermal cut-off feature. When the reset switch trips, the dispenser shuts off. To reset it, unplug the tank from power, open the front access panel on the water tank. Locate the thermal cut-off switch and depress it to reset the dispenser. Replace the access panel, plug the power cord and allow the water to reheat for about 10-15 minutes.


Insinkerator makes the top contender among other hot water dispenser brands. However, you are likely to experience some problems during its use. Luckily, you can use our article to fix some of the most commonly reported issues. For any problematic plumbing or electrical issues, you should always contact an authorized Insinkerator technician to avoid nullifying your warranty.