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Washing machine thermostats are vital to ensuring the right balance of hot and cold water is added to the wash cycle at the right time. In modern washers cold water only is fed into the machine and the element heats the water to the desired temperature, 30 or 40 degrees in most cases. The thermostat tells the washing machine when the correct temperature is attained. It also helps maintain the correct temperature too. Thermostats work by measuring current through a bimetalic or electronic strip which changes with temperature. The sensor can then send a signal to the relay to turn off or on the heating element. To prevent the thermostat constantly turning the washing machine element on and off a hysteresis is set to within a few degrees as a tolerance.