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Washing machine is a hot and cold fill, but I only have a cold water supply

Plumbing-in-washerIf you want to connect up a washing machine that uses hot and cold water (and therefore has a hot & cold valve) but you only have a cold water supply, you can use a Y Piece connector to connect it up to a single cold water tap.

The washing machine will then work OK, but it may take longer to wash than normal. However, you may also get better wash results if it takes longer to wash. Simply screw the Y-Piece onto the tap, and then screw the hot and cold fill hoses to the Y-piece and connect the other end of the fill hoses to the washing machine. (You may also be able to buy this part from a DIY store like B&Q)

Points to watch

If you don’t connect a water supply to the hot valve (and simply connect the cold water hose to the cold valve leaving the hot valve with nothing connected to it) then some wash programs may not work as some programmes only fill with hot water. However, some washing machines will work OK with only the cold fill hose connected. You can always try it and see. The worse that will happen is the washer could either stick on the odd wash programme or may abort on some. If you do this though it’s possible for water to drip out of the hot valve on some machines during fill. It’s best to use a y-piece if possible.

The fact that you have connected cold water to the hot valve is irrelevant, the washing machine will not know any different and will just heat the water up to the correct temperature. The washing machine may use slightly more electricity but if it’s less than 10 years old it shouldn’t be significant unless you use a lot of 60 or 90 degree washes. On 40 degree washes, manufacturers argue it’s more efficient to fill with cold water only and slowly heat up the water to 40 degrees.

(related: what to do with the old hot tap when connecting a cold fill washing machine)


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Comments

  1. Is there something in reverse, as it were? So that I can take a hot and cold feed into a Y connector onto a cold-fill only machine?

  2. In theory you could connect it in reverse although I can’t see any point to doing it. It’s possible to connect a hot and cold supply to the y end of the y-piece, and then attach a single hose to the other end of the connector – and fix that to the cold valve on a cold fill only washer.

    That would result in the washing machine getting a mix of hot and cold water each time it fills. Because the cold is usually at a much higher pressure the chances are that very little hot water would get into the machine on wash. On the rinses more would get in but washing machines only need cold water to rinse so it would waste hot water.

  3. avatar Steve Goodman says:

    I have a Bosch WFB 2004 washing machine. Both hot and cold supply pipes are connected to the cold water supply via a Y connector i.e. cold water to both inlets.
    However, I want to instal a dishwasher but space at the pipes is at a premium. Does the hot water supply pipe to the washing machine need to be connected at all? If not then I could utilise that side of the Y connector for the dishwasher.

  4. avatar Washerhelp says:

    Steve: If your washing machine is a cold fill only then the hot water shouldn’t be connected to the washing machine at all. If it’s a hot and cold fill machine it should of course be connected to both supplies, but can be connected just to the cold to free up the hot supply if you wanted to. The y-piece can connect a hot and cold fill washing machine to a cold water supply by connecting the two washing machine hoses to the y bit and the other end connects to the cold water supply so both valves use cold water.

    Your hot water supply can be used for the dishwasher if the dishwasher manufacturer says it’s OK to connect it to a hot supply and the hot water temperature doesn’t exceed 60 degrees. It should be mentioned in the instruction book if it is.

  5. avatar Steve Goodman says:

    Sorry for the confusion. The washing machine is hot and cold fill, but both hoses are connected to the cold supply i.e. cold water going into both inlets on the machine. So. does the hot hose from the machine need connecting at all?

  6. A hot and cold fill washing machine can be connected like yours, with both valves supplied with cold water via a y-piece and it will still work fine. It may take slightly longer on hot washes but it could wash better especially if using biological detergent.

    If it’s a hot and cold fill machine it’s designed to have the hot valve connected to the hot supply and the cold valve to the cold supply. However, if it’s a recent machine it’s very unusual to be hot and cold fill. If they supplied a y-piece connector it could be like the Hotpoint machines that have two valves but both need connecting to the cold. The instruction book should make it clear how it should be connected.

  7. avatar Steve Goodman says:

    Managed to find the manual for the washing machine, which made things even easier. Manual says if using cold supply only, don’t even connect the hot fill hose. Might cause a problem if doing a 90 degree wash, but we don’t do that anyway.

    I disconncted the hot supply hose altogther and utilised the spare connector on the y-piece for the new dishwasher and all works great.

    May not work for all washing machines though.

    Main advice is, hang on to the manuals. You never know when they might be handy!

  8. Steve: Normally a hot and cold fill washing machine needs water to both valves even if both are fed cold water using a y-piece. Otherwise some programmes such as whites may not work. If the instruction book said you can just connect to the cold valve, and leave the hot valve unconnected without mentioning that then I would assume it will work OK on all programmes.

  9. Quite a few modern machines (at least on Australian one I have read about on a board on this site lately and my own new LG) are hot and cold fill but can happily be connected to cold only on just the cold valve. HOwever, beware! The LG and teh Australian one I have read about warn you to cap off the hot valve (the LG don’t supply the cap but you can buy them at any plumbers’ merchant on DIY chain – it’s a 3/4 inch iron threaded blank plug that you buy). On certain cycles that take in both ot and cold water together it is apparently possible for cold water to leak out of the open hot valve if there is no hose and no blank plug.

  10. Thanks Dave: It’s a new thing being able to just leave the hot fill hose disconnected and have no problems. In the past it would cause problems as some machines filled with hot water only on some programmes and specifically on whites. With no hot supply the washer just used to sit there humming for ever.

  11. excellent guys, hi ho, its off to B&Q we go
    cheers

  12. Yes thanks for this info. Mine is an old ( -ish) hot and cold fill Bosch washing machine and doesn’t run on any programme over 30 deg if I merely disconnect the hot supply (I tried it).

    I want it to run on just cold supply now (otherwise it uses up 59 litres of my hot water from my tank). Problem is I already have a Y-piece connector on the cold supply for a dishwasher so I’m not sure if I can fit a 2nd one there….any suggestions?

  13. James: You could fit a second y-piece on the end of the cold hose to the washing machine and fit another 2 cold hoses onto that to supply both valves of the washer. It’s not ideal because it means the plastic y-piece is going to lay on the floor behind the washer somewhere. It also introduces another potential source of leaks. However, it will work OK as long as the dishwasher isn’t running at the same time.

    Even if the dishwasher was running at the same time the only issue would be if there was enough water pressure to supply water to 3 valves from one tap.

  14. Have a hotpoint washer 9yrs old have recently moved it to outhouse with cold supply only.Manual says cold spply fine using y-piece but water not heating up-any ideas?

  15. Hello Andrew: Not heating the water isn’t related to the water supply apart from it potentially making the wash take a bit longer. It sounds like you have a fault –
    Washing machine isn’t heating up the water

  16. avatar Joseph O'Brien says:

    I have a very efficient new combi boiler right next to the washing machine, which has hot and cold supply. Unfortunately, I have a problem with my Hotpoint WM74 washing machine and its such as shame but I think the old (circa 98) dear will have to go as I cant get it fixed at reasonable price (Hotpoint want £120 min, which is reasonable I guess but I can get a new 520P for £215!) Thought it was the door interlock as the info bubble kept saying (close door). It happened one day and it made the power trip. I changed the interlock but still says same message. PCB problem perhaps. And they’re £100. Anyway. All these new washing machines are all cold fill only so my combi wont be used. Is this sensible? My combi boiler can provide 40 degrees C water a lot more efficiently than a washing machine, cant it? Could I not connect my combi boiler hot water to cold water fill? It would use a lot less electricity to heat it up then.

  17. Hello Joseph: Answers to your questions can be found here -
    Don’t connect the hot water supply to the cold valve on a cold-fill washing machine

  18. The problem I’m having is cold and hot water problem. The hot pours out cold the cold pours out hot. I’ve done switched the hoses but it’s still doing it . I contacted the furniture store where I bought it they said that it has some kind legal code where if the water gets to hot it pours out code and the other way cold for hot your help I would gladly appreciate it

  19. Sorry Josh, I just don’t understand your problem the way you’ve written it.

  20. Excellent advice, Thank you.

  21. I have hot & cold fill but want to buy a cold fill only washing machine. Do i have to do anything as we are not very good at these diy things?

  22. Hello su: You just connect the new cold-fill washing machine up to your existing cold tap, and blank off the hot tap – What should I do with the old hot water tap when connecting a cold fill washing machine?

  23. Hi – just got a Servis M6312X second hand – has both hot&cold pipes, but I only have a cold tap to connect to. Doesn’t seem to be working if I just leave the hot inlet completely unconnected (no error on display, just doesn’t do anything at all)

    I assume I need to do the Y-valve method as described above. Has anyone else tried this with this particular model? Does it work? Any faults (ie water not heating on certain programmes)?

    Thanks in advance

  24. Yes Astrid. It works for every washing machine, you need to connect a water supply to the hot valve even if it’s only cold water. Use a y-piece and everything will work as described in the article.

  25. Hot and cold washing machine but only cold inlet. It’s proving v difficult to attach the y-piece to the inlet. It’s screwed on (very) hand tight but water still gushes out when the water’s switched on. Is it just a matter of getting the mole grips out and tightening up or is it something I’m missing. The rubber washer looks intact. To be honest I’m not keen on the y-piece as it seems an obvious risk of leaks but needs must…

  26. As long as it has a good seal in then it shouldn’t leak. I would use mole grips or pipe pliers to nip it up but only very carefully, and only so it’s a little bit tighter than you can do by hand. If you over-tighten you cut into the rubber seal and make it leak.I normally tighten up as much as I can by hand and then nip it up with pipe pliers only so that it turns maybe 2 or 3 more millimetres or so.

    Make sure it’s not got a hairline crack in it that could account for the leak and try swapping one of the rubber seals from one of the hoses to see if that one seals.

  27. I have a hot and cold fill washing machine but my hot feed is being used by the dishwasher. The cold feed is fine and can be connected to the WM. Can I T piece the hot water feed so the washing machine has both hot and cold feeds, or is it best to T piece the cold water feed and just supply the WM with cold water?

  28. Hello Neil: I would just connect the cold feed because you couldn’t control how much hot water went into the machine. You could end up wasting a lot of hot water for little if any benefit or hardly any hot water would go in because of the power of the cold supply overwhelming it.

  29. I have a cold fill washing machine but have since found out the water pipe in my garage is a hot water pipe will this hurt the washing machine in anyway?

  30. Anonymous: This article should answer your question about connecting a washing machine to a hot water supply – Don’t connect the hot water supply to the cold valve on a cold-fill washing machine

  31. This seems to be a common theme! I did as you suggested and bought a ‘Y’ fitting, fitted it all together, started the machine and the pipes were making the most awful noise. I isolated the hot water feed and all sounds ok now. I have a gravity feed (renting so cant make any changes) does this mean that I can only wash in cold if only the cold supply is being fed?

  32. Alison: Connecting both valves to one cold supply can’t cause any problems with a washing machine. I can only assume presumably you have low water pressure? Maybe splitting the water between two valves was too much for it to supply them both.

  33. avatar Anonymous says:

    got a new indesit washing machine with just cold feed our old one run of hot & cold i have capped the hot feed but since i did it makes a clunking noise can you help me please

  34. Anonymous: If the noise occurs during filling or just when the washer stops filling it could be air in the cold water supply or too high water pressure. I would remove the cold fill hose and run it into a bucket or the sink a little to ensure it’s running smoothly. Then reconnect it and turn the tap on a little at a time until you get a good flow of water into the machine rather than turn it on full straight away. If you have low water pressure though it may need to be on full anyway.

    Make sure you watch out for leaks though over the next few days if you disturb the fill hose and don’t over-tighten the hose which can cut into the rubber seal and damage it. (Tips for installing a washing machine: How tight should I tighten the fill hose?)

  35. avatar Jasonthomas says:

    I have a washing machine that has 2 feeds hot and cold im moving shortly and the new home only has one supply supply can this work what should i do thanks

  36. Jasonthomas: You just need to read this article, it describes exactly your issue.

  37. Got 2 blue taps but one is delivering hot water! Need one cold for bosch wm + one cold for bosch dishwash. Can we use a y thingy to run both appliances off same pipe?

  38. Yes jen: I would just make sure you don’t run them at the same time. Another alternative could be to connect the dishwasher to the hot tap if it says you can in the instruction book and you think it might be a good idea – Can you connect a dishwasher to the hot water supply?

  39. avatar Andrew Lofthouse says:

    Hi I have had a washing machine for two or three years from new cold feed only to find that we have never had hot water working.
    The reason for this is when we discovered lots of hard lime scale stuck to the clothes & a nasty ordour we could put the machine on a 90 wash with a cup of bleach would solve the problem , so this we did but found it was not getting hot. Time to call the engineer.
    The engineer came to fix the element as this is what he thought what the problem was & then he found that the front main board had never functioned properly thus this not ever powering up the element when needed.
    My question is that as this has never got warm or hot would this effect the running or the life span of the machine. Apart for the really bad odour that we get from it & the copious amounts of scale i’m sure it would have doubled the amount from a normal working machine.
    Thank you

  40. Hi, I ordered a Y piece but it will not fit as the cold tap is too close to a wall – in rental accommodation so can’t do too much about it. Is it okay for me to just connect the cold or is there some other way that I should do it?
    Cheers

  41. You can connect a small hose to the tap first, then connect the y-piece to the small hose and two further hoses to the y-piece. You’ll need to make sure there are no leaks with so many connections and try to use small hoses otherwise there could be a mess of hoses. Also, make sure the plastic y-piece lays somewhere safe so it doesn’t get knocked.

    I would connect the bent end of the first hose to the tap so that you can connect the y-piece to the straight end of the other end which would be easier and neater (though not essential). You’ll also need a fill hose extension hose connector between the first hose and the y-piece.

  42. Hi, we used a screw on cap on hot feed when new washing machine was cold feed only. Now 4 years later, we want to use hot feed for dishwasher so have removed the cap but have no water coming through, even when tap is opened. The end of the tap is wet but water is not flowing. The nearby sink hot water tap on the same leg is functioning without issue. Any idea why the washing machine/dishwasher hot water feed is not flowing?? we get hot water from combi boiler. Thanks

  43. avatar lisa land says:

    This site has helped me so much, I was panicked last night when realised I only had cold water supply and new washer has hot or cold but now I’m off shopping for Y adaptor and feel a lot happier.thanks guys. Lisa

  44. I’ve been told by Bosch, that all new washing machines are cold feed only….because its more economical. Is this true?

  45. Hello Lee, yes they virtually all are cold fill but it’s not as simple as saying they are more economical as it depends very much on how it’s used and what the plumbing is like, read this
    http://www.washerhelp.co.uk/buying-related_2.html#cl_q1

  46. Thanks Washer help. I’ve found that now I’ve this new cold fill washer machine, it takes slightly longer to do a complete cycle on 30 degrees.

    At least this new one doesn’t dance about the kitchen as the old one did.

    :-)

  47. Yes modern washing machines take a lot longer to wash but it’s only partially down to being cold fill. You might find this interesting
    http://www.washerhelp.co.uk/forums/topic/182-wash-times-too-long/

  48. Thanks again, explains it all doesn’t it.

  49. I’m confused, my water inlets do not show me which one is which as they both do not show me what colour they are. It’s odd I think they are old that’s why. To turn on the valve I have to turn this round thing but I don’t know which one is cold. My new Hotpoint WMD962 is a cold feed only and I don’t know which valve is the cold one. Sorry if I’ve confused you.

  50. Hi Washerhelp, I’ve read all of the above but can’t find a specific answer to an issue I have. I’ve got a cold fill only hotpoint which has worked fine for 18 months but now no longer gets warm. Hotpoint want £120 – £180 to set up a service contract to sort it. I’m a bit handy so ordered a new element to try but when testing the current element with a multimeter it was fine. So to was the temperature sensor. I suspect that the error must be the temp dial, or motherboard. either way I’m out of my league. As a work around, could I use a Y hose to feed hot and cold into the machine? We never wash anything that needs to be a precise temp, if it was between 20-60 degrees I’d be happy. Is this a cheap fix or should i get it looked at properly?

    Any help welcome.

    Thanks

    John

    Just to add, I’ve since read your Don’t connect the hot water supply to the cold valve on a cold-fill washing machine page and comments. Whilst I see the reasons against, my situation is, the machine doesn’t work with cold water. We are a ground floor flat so the cold water is very cold. We also have a combi boiler within a 1.5 metres of the washing machine giving out 63 degree hot water. With the difference in water pressure from hot and cold, presumably a Y hose would favour the cold over hot? We use non-bio washing capsules so if it was too hot it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Ill wash any delicate stuff by hand. (were 3 men and don’t really do delicates!) at the moment the machine is only washing cold, this means the detergent isn’t dissolving and doesn’t get stuff clean.

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