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Old 01-28-2010, 10:37 AM   #1
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Hot Water Turning Cold - Could it be the washer/dryer?


We recently moved into the top two floors of a brownstone building and have a problem with the hot water turning cold rather quickly. Turning on the hot tap (bath or sink on either floor) results in a steady stream of hot water for up to a minute, but then it turns warm pretty quickly. The problem is worse on the top floor.

We had a plumber take a look and he thinks the problem may stem from cross flow coming from the washer/dryer?

He tested the h/w heater which is in the basement and separate to the boiler, by feeling the pipe whilst having us run the hot water from upstairs. When the latter went cold, the h/w heater pipes were still hot. So, he thinks the h/w heater is not the problem.

One other thing, when the hot water runs cold, if we turn the tap/faucet down to a slow stream, the hot water remains pretty hot.

We finally managed to diagnose this by turning off the MAIN cold water line for all of the apartments and running the cold water faucet in the bathroom...bizarrely cold water was still coming through.
Thought this was odd, even though the cold water line had been turned off in the basement. So looking in the basement, we then noticed a seperate 3/4 inch pipe that we discovered fed our washer/dryer unit only.
The plumber told us that the hot water running cold problem was most likely due to faulty check valves on the washer.

Unfortunately, we can't turn of the 3/4 feed pipe in the basement as the valve is thread bare.

Now, if we want to get the valve on the washer fixed, do we need to get the 3/4 pipe fixed so it can be turned off? Or is that not necessary?

Does this diagnosis sound correct? Any help much appreciated for a newbie home owner.



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Old 01-28-2010, 11:38 AM   #2
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You should have working shutoffs at the washing machine hoses, and keep these turned off when the washing machine is not in use. Burst hoses make up a very large proportion of flooding insurance claims.

Only one of them needs to be turned off (or one hose unhooked and a garden hose cap put on) to prove whether backfeeding through the washing machine is the reason for your cold shower problem.

With these shutoffs, you don't have to bother about fixing anything in the washing machine, unless there are problems washing clothes.


The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-28-2010 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:42 AM   #3
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Allan, thanks for the reply. The problem in our apt is the w/d unit is wedged very tightly into a closet sort of space which makes it very difficult to get access to the rear of the machine. It involves removing the closet door and pulling the machine all of the way out.

I will try pulling it out tonight to see what is on the back of the washer. Is that where I will find the working shut offs? Is there any sort of tool I need to turn them off or anything I need to be careful of? Pretty much a newbie here when it comes to plumbing.

Thanks v. much.
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:47 PM   #4
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No special tools needed to turn the shut offs they are just like a tap.If the machine is difficult to move then maybe pick up some new washing machine supply hoses at your favourite hardware and change them out.Easy job, they are just like garden hoses.
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