Most modern fabrics require cold or lukewarm water. Yet, if you want to sterilise bedsheets and garments, you might want to set your washer to a high temperature. But can you do that if the appliance is not hooked to the hot water supply?
Modern washing machines don’t generally use hot water. They must be connected to the cold water supply. Then, a heating system inside the appliance brings the water to the right temperature for the set wash cycle.
However, older appliances may not be able to heat water independently. These washers require a connection to the hot water supply.
Do New Washing Machines Use Hot Water?
In recent years, more and more manufacturers focused on creating eco-friendly and energy-efficient appliances.
Most washing machines in the UK market are now eco-friendly, and they don’t require a connection to the hot water supply. Instead, they are designed to work efficiently with a cold water supply only.
Internal heating elements can heat the water to the required temperature, based on the selected wash cycle. This practice boosts energy efficiency, as the washer won’t turn on the water heater whenever you start a load. Furthermore, washing with cold water can help preserve the longevity of certain fabrics.
However, connecting a washing machine to both hot and cold water supplies can provide more flexibility in water temperature options and may be more suitable for households with specific laundry needs or preferences.
The only problem is that most washing machines out there don’t have a hot water connector. If you’d like to connect the washer to the hot water line, you should opt for a non-energy-efficiency washer (which could be hard to come by).
Do Old Washing Machines Use Hot Water?
Older washing machines, particularly those that are not high-efficiency or energy-efficient models, generally rely on an external hot water supply and do not have the capability to heat water themselves.
These machines typically have separate hot and cold water connectors, which require connection to your home’s hot and cold water supply lines. The washing machine then mixes hot and cold water according to the chosen wash cycle and temperature settings.
While some older high-efficiency washing machines may have built-in heating elements that allow them to heat water internally, it is less common in older models.
To determine if your specific washing machine can heat water internally, refer to the user manual or contact the manufacturer for more information.
Keep in mind that if your older washing machine doesn’t have an internal heating element, it will need a hot water connection to provide hot or warm water for specific wash cycles. Without it, the machine will only be able to use cold water for all cycles, which may not be suitable for certain types of laundry or stains.
Advantages Of Using Hot Water In Washing Machine
While not all washing machines can be connected to a hot water supply, there are reasons why models with hot water connections are better.
Greater Temperature Flexibility
Connecting your washing machine to the hot water supply provides you with a wider range of temperature options for various fabric types and specific laundry needs. Some old models don’t even come with specific laundry cycles, but allow you to set the length and temperature of the cycle only.
Derived advantages include:
- Improved stain removal: Hot water can be more effective in removing tough stains, such as oil and grease, making your laundry cleaner.
- Better bacteria and allergen elimination: Hot water can help eliminate bacteria, allergens, and dust mites from your laundry, providing a more hygienic wash. This is particularly important for households with allergy sufferers or young children.
- Enhanced detergent performance: Many detergents are formulated to work optimally at higher temperatures, so connecting your washing machine to the hot water supply can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your detergent.
- Sanitisation and disinfection: Hot water can sanitise and disinfect laundry items like towels, bed linens, and undergarments more effectively, reducing the risk of illness or infection.
Faster Wash Cycles
Another advantage of connecting the washing machine directly to the hot water supply is a reduction in the hot temperature cycles’ length.
Since the washer draws hot water directly from the main supply, it doesn’t have to lose time heating up cold water. This not only accelerates the cleaning process, but it can help you save energy if you’re mostly using a hot temperature cycle (even if your washing machine is eco-friendly or high-efficiency).
Disadvantages Of Using Hot Water In Washing Machine
Despite the advantages, there are more downsides to connecting your washer to a hot water supply line – which is why most washing machines in the UK come with a cold water connector only.
Higher Energy Consumption
Connecting your washing machine to the hot water supply can lead to increased energy consumption, as heating water typically requires more energy than other aspects of the washing process.
The increased energy consumption associated with using hot water can result in higher utility bills, particularly if you frequently use hot or warm water cycles for your laundry.
Potential Fabric Damage
Hot water can cause some fabrics to shrink, fade, or become damaged, particularly delicate or temperature-sensitive materials. Connecting your washing machine to the hot water supply might increase the risk of damaging your clothes if not used carefully.
The energy required to heat water contributes to a larger carbon footprint, making the use of hot water in washing machines less environmentally friendly than using cold water.
Inefficient Water Heating
Depending on your home’s water heating system, it may be less efficient to heat water using an external water heater compared to a washing machine with a built-in heating element. This could contribute to higher energy consumption and costs.
Limited Benefits for Some Detergents
Some modern detergents and laundry additives are designed to work effectively in cold water, which means connecting your washing machine to the hot water supply might not always result in significantly improved cleaning performance.
Do Hot Supply Machines Still Exist?
Yes, washing machines that require a hot water connection still exist, although they have become less common due to the increasing popularity of energy-efficient and eco-friendly models.
As explained, these washing machines only connect to the cold water supply and use built-in heating elements to heat the water as needed, depending on the selected wash cycle.
Nevertheless, there is still a market for washers that can be connected to both hot and cold water.
If you want such a machine, you must opt for a non-energy-efficient or non-high-efficiency model. Finding one in most stores is challenging (unless you want to spend on a professional washer), but they are still available on the used market.
Modern washing machines don’t use hot water from the main supply, but heat cold water themselves. For most modern fabrics, this is the best option to prevent fabric damage. Using cold or lukewarm water can also help prevent discolouration.
However, older washing machines may use both hot and cold water.
If you don’t want to throw away your old washer yet and are not sure whether it uses hot water, look behind the appliance and see how many hoses connect to your supply lines. Washers that use hot water typically have a red hose for the hot water connection and a blue one for the cold water.