Most of us find it hard to imagine living without hot-and-cold running water. Well I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live without filtered instant-hot and cold water in their kitchen. And the only solution I have found that combines a cartridge filter with an instant-hot through a single fixture is the $500 InSinkErator HC1100 system.
This system is actually two separate components: a $300 faucet, and a $200 filter and heater-tank assembly that mounts under the sink. Now I’m not generally prone to spend $300 on a plumbing fixture, but this one is worth it for its peerless convenience. The faucet has two handles: the cold handle (which can lock on) delivers a full-pressure flow of filtered water; the hot handle delivers a low-pressure stream of filtered water heated up to 200 degrees F.
If you haven’t lived with an instant-hot fixture you probably can’t imagine just how useful it can be: We use ours not only for tea, but also to make cup-of-noodles and instant oatmeal — truly in an instant! We save time cooking by adding nearly-boiling (and filtered) water to pots. Bullion or corn starch dissolves much faster in the superhot water.
The cartridge filters are a cinch to change: The in-line adaptor is self-sealing, so you just twist out the old one and twist in a new one without having to shut any valves. I have been getting 10-12 months of use out of the $40 F-501R cartridges before I notice a tap water taste returning.
The system is backed by InSinkErator’s oustanding in-home-service warranty.
2010 Update: The new enhanced filters are designated F-601R; F-501R cartridges are no longer made.
Apparently the faucet is only good for a few years before the shut-off springs start to stick. InSinkErator has extended the faucet warranty for new purchase to 5 years, but after that I would expect the handles to start to stick open — as mine did a few years ago. At that point InSinkErator suggests the entire $250 faucet needs to be replaced. However, I and others have successfully restored functionality when this happens by spraying water-proof lubricants into the handle bases and working the handles back and forth to free the springs.