How To Get Hot Water Faster at a Kitchen Sink

Waiting for hot water isn’t exactly fun. Patience is a virtue, but not one you need to exercise when you are washing the dishes. It may only be a few minutes, but it can feel like hours. I’m the type of person that stands in front of a sink yelling, “Come on!”

It’s not just about convenience. All those gallons of water wasted while you are waiting adds up. Faster hot water will save you money, and it is less wasteful. Luckily, there are many ways to solve this problem.

Why Does it Take so Long for Hot Water to Get to My Kitchen Sink?

There are several reasons why the water in your kitchen sink takes a long time to heat up. It may be an issue with—the location of the water heater, a low flow faucet, the pipes, or the climate in your region.

The time it takes for the water to heat up depends on your plumbing and the type of water heater you have. The most common type of water heater used in the U.S. is the tank-type heater.  Tankless water heaters are becoming more popular, and they provide water hot water on-demand instead of storing it in a tank. Water heaters are powered by gas or electricity.

How Tank-Type Water Heaters Works

  1. Water enters the tank from the main water supply.
  2. The heating element raises the temperature of the water.
  3. Hot water rises to the top of the tank.
  4. When you turn on the hot water, it travels through the pipes to the kitchen sink.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

  1. Water enters the heating unit from the main water supply.
  2. The heating elements raise the water temperature as it flows through the line.
  3. When you turn on the hot water, it travels through the pipes to the kitchen sink.

Why Is My Kitchen Sink Water Not Getting Hot?

Hot Water at Sink

Whether you have a tank-type or tankless water heater, you can still have slow water heating problems. As we mentioned in the previous section, there are many reasons why the water is taking so long to get hot. You need to figure out why this is happening to fix it. Let’s take a look at the leading causes of long delays. 

The Distance of the Sink From the Water Heater

The most common reason that water takes too long to heat up is that cold water is already in the pipes. Hot water will begin to flow as soon as you turn on the faucet, but the cold water needs to be flushed out first before it shows up. The longer the water has to travel, the longer it will take to get there.

For example, say your water heater is in the attic, and your kitchen is downstairs. It will take much longer for the water in the kitchen to heat up than it would in your upstairs bathroom sink.

Water Heater Malfunction

This is more common with older water heaters but also happens with newer ones. If the water used to heat up fast, but now it seems to take forever—this is a sign of a problem with your water heater.

Problems can range from minor to major. Common repairs involve broken heating elements, faulty thermostats, or blown fuses. If this is the case, call a professional to diagnose the problem.

Hard Water

Hard water is another culprit of slow heating. Hard water contains minerals that can build up in the water heater. When hard water is heated, mineral deposits of calcium and magnesium will form. Water heaters with built-up sediment are less efficient, and they hold less water.

Cold Temperatures

If you live in an area that hits freezing temperatures, your water heater will have to work harder to reach the right temperature (120° F to 140° F). Additionally, the water temperature will lower on the way to the sink while it travels through cold pipes.

The Width and Thickness of Your Pipes

The wider your pipes are, the longer it will take the water to reach its destination. The thickness of the pipe is also a factor in the delivery of hot water. Thicker lines will pull more heat from the water, increasing the time it takes to get hot. Galvanized pipes may be cheaper than copper, but they are also thicker and less durable.

How to Get Instant Hot Water at Kitchen Sink?

Tankless Water Heater - Instant Hot Water

It shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds, but even that isn’t instant. If you want faster hot water, you might want to upgrade your system. Especially if you are having problems with the water heater’s distance or you are dealing with freezing temperatures.

2 Ways to Get Piping Hot Water Faster

1) Upgrade to a Hot Water Recirculation System

These are also called on-demand water systems. Traditional tank water heaters will already have hot water ready to go, but it won’t instantly reach the faucet. You can eliminate this problem with a hot water recirculation system. These systems also save gallons of water every day.

It uses one or more recirculation pumps to move hot water to fixtures rapidly. The pumps run on a thermostat and can be set with a timer. There are two types:

  • Active – a hot water line with one pump that runs throughout the entire house.
  • Passive – a series of small circulation pumps that are installed close to fixtures.

2) Get a Point of Service Water Heater

If your sink is far away from the water heater, you can use a point of service water heater for your kitchen sink. These are smaller versions of full-sized water heaters installed under the kitchen sink.

Just like their counterparts, they can be tankless or electric. This is a good option if your sink is far away from the water heater or your home doesn’t have the plumbing for a water recirculation system.