Introduction: Quick Fix for Sunbeam Hot Shot


The Sunbeam Hot Shot heats up a cup or two of water for making tea, oatmeal, soup, or similar. The most recent version of this device commonly fails because the water dispenser quickly breaks. (Read the user reviews at Amazon to see how common this problem is.)

My problem was that a) my wife really likes this device, b) after running through two of them in a year, I got tired of buying new ones, c) it only costs $20 so d) I could not find a fix for this anywhere on the internet.

So here's my fix: Add a stainless steel rod below the water valve, and squeeze that upward to open the valve. Once you have the parts in hand, this should take you about 5 minutes.

The key part is a piece of quarter-inch threaded stainless steel rod ("1/4 20"). You can buy this at your local big box hardware store. A 12" long piece will be more than adequate, you can probably get by with a 6" long piece. You'll also need a) a few nuts/washers to thread onto the rod, a drill and a 1/4" or slightly larger twist bit, and maybe a hacksaw for cutting the rod.

Basically, you drill a hole in the hollow body of the appliance and attach the rod. Not much more to it than that.

Step 1: Unplug the Hot Shot and Move the Cord Out of the Way

Unplug it, turn it upside down, look down into the hollow body of the appliance, and move the electrical cord out of the way of where you are going to drill a hole. You are going to drill a hole roughly 3/4" below where the hollow part of the appliance body ends. Just look back at the picture to see where the rod will go.

Step 2: Drill a Sloppy Hole

Using a drill bit slightly larger than 1/4" (or a 1/4" bit and then ream the hole out), drill a hole through the hollow body of the appliance, trying to line it up with the bottom of the water valve. So this will be along the center line of the appliance, 3/4" (three-quarters of an inch) below the seam at the top of the hollow body. The acorn nut in this picture shows where the hole will go. You need to drill through both sides of the hollow body, and the hole needs to line up with the bottom of the water valve.

You want the holes to be somewhat sloppy, so that you can adjust the location of the threaded rod at the next step.

Step 3: Wash the Threaded Rod and Attach It to the Hot Shot

Wash the threaded rod, because it is going to touch the water that you will be drinking.

Then, basically, stick the threaded rod through the holes you just drilled, threading on some nuts and washers to hold it in place.

That's it, you're done.

I ended up using a 7" long piece of 1/4" 20 threaded stainless rod. You could probably get by with 6". I used some acorn nuts and other "fancy" fittings, because I had those lying around and I thought it would look a little nicer. But really, you could just wrap the end of the rod with a bit of duct tape once it's in place.

Only the rod itself needs to be stainless, because it will routinely get wet. The rest of the hardware can be standard zinc-plated hardware.

Step 4: Squeeze the Rod Up to Dispense Water

If you have this all lined up right, all you need to do is squeeze the rod upward to release the hot water from the Hot Shot. Basically, you squeeze the front of the Hot Shot between thumb (on top of the lid) and forefinger (below the threaded rod). And it dispenses the hot water.

Step 5: Got a Dull Steak Knife and 60 Seconds? Here's an Even Quicker Fix

Did I mention I had two broken Hot Shots?

After using this for a day, it occurred to me that the stainless rod was overkill. If you have an old, dull steak knife and a hammer, you can have your Hot Shot back in working order in about 60 seconds.

Take a dull steak knife, place it where you would have placed the stainless steel rod (just below the valve), gently hammer it a fraction of an inch into the plastic, and you're done.

Squeeze the knife handle up to release the water.

Use a DULL knife or dull the edge of the knife first.

If somebody complains about the look, just say that Redneck Chic is the hot trend in kitchen decor.

The third and fourth pictures show an alternative, setting the knife blade just shy of horizontal. This allows you to use taller cups, but it empties the water more slowly. It also shows that with a white knife handle, this need not look quite so bad, and that there is no need to align the knife with the center of the machine. All that is required is that you line up the knife blade with the valve. So if the original hole (where you hammered the knife blade in) wears out, just move the knife over half an inch and hammer it in again.

This quick fix functions best when set up with the knife blade vertical, but it looks better with the knife blade horizontal. Either way, this empties the water faster than using the (now broken) original plastic tab.

So at this point, I would say that if you are merely tired of how long it takes for your Sunbeam Hot Shot to empty, you might want to try this. And if you've already broken the plastic tab, this is a quick way to get your appliance working again.