Our office suite has an electronic hot pot as a way to get hot water. The neighboring building (also used by our company) has a hot water line attached to the coffee maker, but ours wasn’t set up that way, so they purchased an electronic hot pot as a way to provide hot water for things like tea, oatmeal, and other foods that require water hotter than the tap can provide.
The hot pot operation is pretty simple. It has a base that plugs into the wall, and the pot sets on top of that. There’s a button on the base that you press which then heats up a heating element in the pot, providing up to a pot of boiling water within five minutes. The button, when pressed, lights up an orange light indicating that heating is taking place. Once it hits a boil, the pot turns off automatically and the light goes out.
A couple of weeks ago, though, saw the (at first glance) end of our hot pot. Pressing the button yielded nothing. No orange light. No heating.
The facilities guy said that the company wouldn’t pay for a new one because they’re planning some building renovations this spring that would most likely include a hot water line at the coffee maker, so they didn’t want to shell out the money.
A fellow co-worker put up a sign letting people know that the hot pot wasn’t working and asking for a collection to purchase a new one, since a few months without hot water is a pretty long time to wait (and using the microwave to heat up water sucks).
I decided to take a closer look and see if I could maybe fix it. I wasn’t planning on taking anything apart, but I figured cleaning everything up might yield some results.
Sure enough, when I looked at the base and the bottom of the pot, it looked like there was build-up around some of the contact points that likely provide the energy to the heating element in the pot from the base. After unplugging the unit I scraped off the contact points on both ends. I plugged it back in, pushed the button, and…..
Hot water was back. I went to the guy that had been collecting the money and told him that I’d (for now) fixed the hot pot, and he could give his money back to those who had contributed. He did and there were many a happy office worker that once again gets to enjoy hot tea, oatmeal, and other assorted warm stuff.
Now we know what to try if it stops working again. Hopefully we can get through the next few months until the renovations are complete! Still, I was happy to extend the life of a perfectly good appliance and save some money for my co-workers!