Washer Woes

portrait of man view from washing machine inside

Washing your clothes in cold water is great if you have cold-water detergent, but regular detergent is designed to work best with warm or hot water. If the water temperature of your washing machine is not properly regulated your clothes may not be getting as clean as they should.

Understanding how your washing machine regulates water temperature can help you determine if your washing machine is working properly. Selecting the temperature setting for your wash cycle doesn’t guarantee the water temperature is correct.

Water enters your washer from separate hot and cold water taps in your home. Before making any unnecessary repairs, regulate the temperature of these two taps. During the summer months, your cold water will be warmer than in the winter months. This means you won’t need the temperature of the hot water tap to be as high. Adjust the temperature of the hot water tap by adjusting the temperature settings on your furnace or boiler.

Washing machineCheck the following after adjusting the temperature of the water:

  • Check that the hot and cold taps are completely open.
  • See that the temperature selector on your washer is set to the correct setting.
  • Make sure the hot and cold water hoses are correctly connected to your washer.

Check the parts inside the washer that regulate water temperature if the water temperature is still not correct. Some washers only allow hot or cold water to flow during certain cycles. Some models switch between hot and cold water, while others allow both hot and cold water to flow at the same time. (You can also look in the washer’s manual for more information on how the water entering your washing machine is regulated.) The parts responsible for regulating the temperature of the water are the temperature selector switch and water inlet valve.

The temperature selector switch allows you to choose the temperature of the wash and rinse cycles. Some washers only have a few choices of water temperatures, and some washers have many choices. The temperature selector switch consists of electrical circuits and contacts that open and close depending on the water temperature selected.

Tensed young man looking at laundry basket at home

The water inlet valve is located at the back of your washer. This is connected to the cold and hot water taps in your home. The water inlet valve contains two solenoids sometimes referred to as coils. One solenoid is for the hot water and one is for the cold water. The temperature selector switch regulates the opening and closing of the solenoids to control the flow of water through the valve. After the water passes through the solenoids, it leaves the valve through one common hose and fills your washer.

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