Do Washing Machines Need Hot Water?

washing machine with hot water fill tap

Are you unsure if your washing machine needs hot water? Well, we’re going to be going through the reasons modern washing machines typically only need cold water.

If you are thinking of purchasing a new washing machine, then you’ll probably find that it only comes with one fill pipe. This is because most modern washing machines do not need hot water.

Old washing machines

You might remember years ago that washing machines typically had two fill pipes. This was because they needed to be supplied with hot and cold water.

washing machine with hot and cold fill valve

As manufacturing has progressed in the appliance industry, you’ll actually have a hard time finding a hot and cold fill washing machine.

If you’re looking to buy a washing machine with a hot water supply, you will most likely have to buy an old second-hand machine.

If you’re not sure if your old washing machine has a hot water supply, you can pull it out and take a look at the back. If you see a red pipe or more than one fill pipe, it probably uses hot water.

Modern washing machines

Modern washing machines are equipped with heating elements that heat up the water during a wash cycle.

modern washing machine in home

This removes the need for a hot water supply and opens up the opportunity for more people to have a washing machine in their homes.

When a washing machine cycle needs hot water, such as a 60-degree wash, the control board will send power down to the heating element which is located in the drum.

Of course, this does increase the number of things that can go wrong with a washer but makes the machine more efficient in its washing capabilities.

Instead of relying on an external heating system to bring the water to the correct temperature, washing machines are now capable of accurately heating water to the best temperature for the type of wash cycle you have chosen.

Why not use both?

Well, that’s because cold fill washing machines are both cheaper to manufacture and more efficient at washing.

Having only one fill pipe means that the water inlet valve can be smaller, which is cheaper to make.

The water solenoid valve on cold fill washing machines is typically much smaller than what you would find on an old washing machine.

As mentioned earlier, cold fill washing machines are actually better at cleaning your clothes because of the accuracy they can have at heating up the water.

Problems with cold water washing machines

The advancement of washing machines has not come at a price though. Because cold fill washing machines rely on heating elements, thermostats, and a more advanced control board they break down more often.

Heating elements are susceptible to electrical insulation breakdown and open circuits.

If you find that your washing machine is not heating the water, the usual suspect is the heating element.

The heating element in a washing machine is located in the base of the drum and is usually rated at a wattage between 1400w and 2200w.

water being heated up in  a washing machine drum

Because the heating element has a high wattage in terms of what you would typically find in your home, it also uses much more electricity than a hot water fill machine.

Some washing machines are actually quite efficient in how they use the heating element, which is why they get a good energy rating.

Can you still get a hot water supply washing machine

Hot fill washing machines are very rare to find from a manufacturer and only very few are still producing them.

A British manufacturer called Ebac is currently supplying hot fill washing machines and they are very popular.

You won’t find one of the big manufacturers like Hotpoint or Hoover manufacturing hot fill washing machines as they are typically a budget appliance manufacturer that prefer to produce machines with single inlet solenoid valves and heating elements.

Can I connect a cold fill washing machine to a hot water supply?

You can actually fit the pipes from a cold water supply washing machine to a hot water supply tap, but it’s not recommended.

Because a cold fill washing machine is designed to deal with cold water coming in, you could damage the machine by connecting it to a hot water supply.

When manufacturers design an appliance, they consider typical use and then advise users on how the machine is supposed to be used. This means the valves might not be rated for high temperatures.

Another consideration is that if you choose a cold water cycle or a quick wash, the machine may be taking water in that is much hotter than needed for the cycle.

This means you’re limiting the capabilities of your washing machine by only having hot water cycles.


Cold water inlet washing machines are typically much more eco-friendly and cheaper to buy than hot fill washing machines.

If you are someone who rarely uses a cycle that goes above 40°C, then there’s not much point in shopping for a hot supply washer.

If you like to consider the environment, then you’re going to want to stick to a cold fill washer because it’s very hard to find a washer rated over B which isn’t a cold fill machine.

This means that cold fill washing machines will typically use less energy than machines that rely on hot water.

If you are thinking of buying an older machine that has a dual water supply, then you should also consider the repairability of the machine.

old washing machine ready to be scrapped

You’re going to struggle to source spare parts and repairers that would help in making sure your machine gets fixed in case of a breakdown. If a machine goes over 15 years old, then the choice and availability of spare parts decreases which means that a lot of old washing machines get scrapped.