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 fill valve) but you only have a cold water supply available, 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, it may not be significantly longer and 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)

What if you just leave the hot hose unconnected?

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 because some wash cycles only fill with hot water and will fail or produce an error without a water supply to the hot valve. However, some washing machines may work OK with only the cold fill hose connected. You could always try it and see. The worse that will happen is the washer could either stick on the odd wash programme or may abort with an error on some. It’s better to use a y-piece if possible so that water is supplied to both valves as designed. The washer will not know the difference between hot and cold water and will just heat up the cold water to the correct temperature.

The washing machine may now 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 because they use relatively very little water on wash. On 40 degree washes, manufacturers actually argue it’s more efficient to fill with cold water only and slowly heat up the water to 40 degrees as described in detail in my article here – pros and cons of cold fill washing machines.

Related article

If you have a cold fill washing machine and have both hot and cold taps at the plumbing abnd want to know what to do with the unused hot tap check here – what to do with the old hot tap when connecting a cold fill washing machine

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  1. avatarDaveG says

    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. avatar says

    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. avatarSteve 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. avatarWasherhelp 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. avatarSteve 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. avatar says

    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. avatarSteve 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. avatar says

    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. avatarDave says

    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. avatar says

    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. avatarJames says

    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?

  12. avatar says

    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.

  13. avatarAndrew says

    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?

  14. avatarJoseph 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.

  15. avatarJosh says

    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

  16. avatarsu says

    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?

  17. avatarAstrid says

    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

  18. avatar says

    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.

  19. avatarDave says

    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…

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