An image of various washing machine gauges, hoses and valves with the text "Can you turn off a washing machine's hot water" to the right

Doing laundry with hot water has its benefits. It activates the enzymes in washing detergents, kills germs, and cleans well; the flipside being it leaves you with high energy bills. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to cut your energy bills, including washing with cold water. 

In this article, we’ll discuss in which instances you should turn off the washing machine’s hot water supply and how to do it. So, let’s get started!

Can You Turn Off a Washing Machine’s Hot Water Supply?

You can turn off a washing machine’s hot water supply by closing the hot water valve or pulling down the lever. A washer will still work with cold water. Washing machines with a heating element will heat the water to the set temperature. However, it will take longer for the water to get hot. 

How To Turn Off a Washing Machine’s Hot Water Supply 

The plumbing system for the washing machine is designed to ensure the water getting into the tub is at the right temperature. There are two water lines, one cold and one hot. The separate lines feed into one hose in the washing machine through a solenoid valve. 

One way to prevent hot water from flowing into the washer is by setting your machine for a cold water cycle. The solenoid valve automatically prevents the hot water valve from allowing water into the washer. 

Alternatively, you can turn off the hot water at the main hot water line:

  1. Check the back of the device and identify the two lines feeding water to the solenoid valve. The hot water valve is red, while the cold one is blue. Additionally, most plumbing systems have the hot water valve on the left and the cold water on the right.
  2. When both valves are open, they’re aligned with the hose. To turn the hot water valve off, turn the valve clockwise. 

Some washers have levers instead of valves. If yours has levers, pull down the hot water lever to stop hot water from flowing into the washer. 

This video shows how to turn off the hot water valve on your washing machine:

Screenshot from a video showing how to turn off the hot water valve on your washing machine
Courtesy of DIY Pinto

Will the Washer Work if Hot Water Is Turned Off?

Washing clothes with hot or warm water cycles is ordinary in many households unless you’re washing delicate fabrics. You’ll need to use the cold wash cycle when dealing with fabric like lace and wool. 

The washer will work if the hot water is turned off, but only if the cold water valve is on. Otherwise, you’ll have no water coming into the washer. Likewise, when you turn the hot water off, you will only have a cold cycle unless the washer has a built-in heating element for warm or hot cycles.

You can use the washer when water comes through the solenoid valve, hot or cold. However, your washer won’t work if you set the temperature for hot water when you only have cold water or if your washer has no heating element. In this case, your washer will automatically go off if it doesn’t get hot water. 

Why Hot Water Is Not Coming Into Your Washing Machine

Washing machines give several signals when hot water is not flowing into them. Some washers will stop working when the water doesn’t reach the right temperature. Others run too long as they wait for the water to come to the right temperature. You may also get an error code.

If your washer usually gets a little warm during the hot or warm cycles, it’ll remain cold to the touch. When this happens, you should find out why your washer doesn’t have hot water

There are several reasons for this:

The Hot Water Valve Is Off

The first and easiest diagnosis is that the valve bringing hot water into the washer is off. The valve is usually at the back of the washer and is part of your home’s plumbing system.

The hot water valve is usually on the left, while the right is for cold water. However, some valves are color coded—red for hot water and blue for cold water. Your washer won’t have hot water if the hot water valve or lever is off. 

Hot and cold water supply valves on the back of a box connecting to a washing machine

Clogged Solenoid Valve

The solenoid valves control the water flowing into the washer. It also adjusts the temperature depending on the selected cycle, whether hot, warm, or cold. This functionality is why when the washing machine floods, has insufficient water, or the temperature is wrong, the problem is likely a faulty solenoid valve. 

When the cycle requires hot water, the solenoid valve will open the hot water valve and allow the water to flow into the washer. Likewise, the solenoid valve only allows in cold water in a cold water cycle. Therefore, the solenoid valve opens both valves for the warm water cycle.

If you’re not getting hot water, it’s possible the valve isn’t allowing in hot water because it’s clogged or faulty. 

Faulty Heating Element

Some washing machines have a heating element for heating water before the wash cycle. Cold water flows into the washing machine, and the heating element heats it to the set temperature. A faulty heating element won’t heat the water.

The washing machine will behave the same way when hot water doesn’t flow from the water heater. The wash cycle may take too long as the washer waits for the water to reach the right temperature. Alternatively, the washer may go off when it senses the water isn’t getting hot. 

You can check if the heating element is faulty with the AstroAI Digital Multimeter to measure voltage, current resistance in the heating element, and continuity. It’s easy to read, safe, and accurate.    

Low Water Pressure

It’s also possible your washing machine isn’t receiving hot water because of low water pressure. However, the cold water inlet will likely have the same problem. Check the water pressure in other faucets in the house to confirm if there is a general water pressure problem or if the plumbing system to your washing machine has a problem. 


Turning off the hot water supply to your washing machine is a choice you must make. You can do it to lower your energy bills or protect delicate fabrics from damage. Knowing how to turn off the hot water inlet will help you manage the washing cycles effectively.


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