Can a hot and cold fill washing machine be connected to cold only?

Plumbing in washing machine

Do you have a hot and cold fill washing machine, but only have a cold water supply available to connect it to? Well, you can still connect it up and use it, but you will need a y-piece connector. If you just connect the cold water hose to the cold water tap and leave the hot water hose unconnected, then some wash cycles may not work.

The y-piece connector is a plastic connector shaped like a Y. It splits a single water supply into two. You may be able to buy this part from a DIY store like B&Q, or Amazon – y-piece connectors (affiliate link).

y-piece hose connector

This photo shows two washing machine hoses connected to a single tap using a y-piece connector. The tap shown is hot (red), but ignore that. You need to connect to the cold (blue) tap. Connect the single section of the y-piece to the cold water supply tap. Now connect the hot and cold water hose pipes to it and your washing machine will work on all wash cycles.

What if you just leave the hot fill hose unconnected?

You could just connect the cold water fill hose directly to the cold water tap, and leave the hot fill hose unconnected. But without a water supply to the hot valve, some wash programs may not work. This is because on a hot and cold fill washing machine, some wash cycles may only fill with hot water. So with no hose connected to the hot water valve, the cycle will fail, or produce an error code.

Some cycles will work without a water supply to the hot valve

Some washing machines may work OK with only the cold fill hose connected. You could always try it and see. It may be that some programs work, but others don’t. The worse that will happen is the washer could either stick on the odd wash programme or may abort with an error on some. This would happen if you select a cycle that only fills up with hot water. But if you only use one or two wash cycles, and not the 60 or 90 degree cycles, they may work OK.

The washing machine may now use slightly more electricity, but it shouldn’t be significant unless you use a lot of 60 or 90 degree washes. This is because modern washing machines use very little water on wash.

Try to use a y-piece connector

It is better to use a y-piece if possible so that water is supplied to both valves as designed. The washing machine will not know the difference between hot and cold water. It won’t know there’s no hot water coming in. But as long as water is coming in, it will just heat up the cold water to the correct temperature.

Cold fill washing is usually better

Manufacturers argue it’s more efficient to fill with cold water only, and to slowly heat up the water. Especially on the most common wash cycles at 40 and 30 degrees. You can see a detailed explanation of this in my cold v hot water article below –

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67 thoughts on “Can a hot and cold fill washing machine be connected to cold only?”

  1. Hi – we recently moved house and have the problem highlighted here ie only a cold water feed to a washing machine with hot and cold connectors. I bought a y connector as you advised and tried that and it filled with water on programmes it wouldn’t do previously, but it didn’t look like much water to me… Also, it didn’t feel hot – do I need to wait for quite a while for it to heat up? And should it now be using less water like it appears to be? Thanks in advance! Ps I was quoted £100 for some one to look at this and remedy it for me – think he thought I was a daft single woman, easily parted with her cash! I’m really hoping to prove him wrong!!

  2. Hello Sarah. The y-piece allows the washing machine to work on all programs by supplying cold water to both the hot and cold fill valves, but of course without a hot water supply all water going in will be stone cold. Your washing machine will now be a cold fill washing machine. The water will heat up inside the machine.

    It may now take longer to wash than it used to, however it may only be a small amount longer depending on your previous plumbing and the wash cycles you use. The upside is that if it does take a bit longer to wash it may actually wash more thoroughly than before and give better wash results. The only way to get hot water to your washing machine is to have a plumber to plumb it into a hot supply. This should not be necessary now you have fitted the Y piece unless by any chance you use a lot of boil washes or you find it is taking considerably longer to wash which you find inconvenient. Most washing machines are now cold fill only anyway as explained in my article cold Fill Washing Machines

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