Did you just spot the code “F21” on the display panel of your Whirlpool duet washing machine?
It’s one of the many error codes that imply something’s wrong with a Whirlpool washer and that it might have affected the machine already. But hang on, don’t panic.
You can get your washer working properly again by figuring out what might have caused the error and taking steps accordingly. And that’s what we’ll be guiding you through in our article.
So, without further ado, let’s get straight to the deets.
Table of Contents
What Does The F21 Error Code Mean?
An F21 error code shown on the display of a Whirlpool washer means it’s taking more time to drain the water. Also, there might be an issue with the water pumping function in the machine.
Note that such problems might arise due to several inconsistencies in the machine, some of which are more common than others. In a nutshell, here are the probable causes leading to an F21 error code:
Some Common Causes
- The drain filter of the drain pump is clogged or blocked
- The water drain lines are bent or jammed with lint
- The pump of washer drain needs replacement
- The pump of the washer drain has a major blockage
Other Uncommon Causes
- The wiring harness of the drain pump is damaged or doesn’t have a secure connection with the main control board.
- The wall or floor drain into which the washer drains out water might be blocked.
- A faulty pressure switch has caused a loss of communication between the pump and the main control board.
Diagnosing The Issue
Keep in mind that apart from the above causes, a software problem can also cause this error to show up on the display panel. Here are the first few things you should do to be certain that a software fault isn’t causing such an issue:
Plug the washer into a power socket.
Next, press the “Cancel” or “Pause” button twice. Now, hold this button for a few seconds till the display turns blank.
If you’re still getting an F21 error on the display panel, switch the machine off and unplug it.
Finally, plug it in again and turn on the switch to see whether the issue persists.
If this procedure doesn’t solve the issue, you rule out the malfunctioning of the software as a problem. In such situations, you may call in a technician to get the issue fixed or attempt a few DIY measures suggested below.
8 Ways To Fix An F21 Error Code
Want to try fixing the F21 error in a Whirlpool washing machine by yourself? In this section, We’ll discuss how you can act on each of the issues that might have caused it:
A Clogged Pump
You may get an F21 error if there’s a clog in the washer pump or a blockage in the corrugated tube connected to the pump. Note that the pump is positioned behind the front bar and at the bottom of the washing machine.
After locating the pump, you can check its parts carefully for any foreign object and clear it using the following process:
Unplug the machine
Unscrew the panel at the bottom and detach it.
Put a container or some towels at the bottom to catch the water flowing out.
Unscrew the drain filter in the washer to check and remove any foreign objects clogging the pump.
Complete the process by cleaning out the drain filter and other washing machine parts. Then, put everything back in place.
Now, plug in the washer and check whether it’s working.
In case the pump still doesn’t seem to work, you’ll have to get a replacement pump. You can expect the price of the replacement to be between $30 and $160 based on the model and where you’re buying it from.
Clogs In The Drain Hose
The drain hose can sometimes be blocked with objects such as coins, buttons, and flash drives coming off of clothes or left in the pockets. Another possibility is that the hose has one or more kinks.
Here’s what you can do to fix this issue:
Unplug the washer and move it away from the wall so that you can get to its back.
Next, disconnect the drain hose to see whether it’s kinked, clogged up, or bent. At this point, you can blow air or run water through it to be sure about a blockage.
In case water doesn’t flow through the hose, you’ll have to push the blockage using a hook with a long handle.
Once the blockage has been cleared, and the drain hose drains water smoothly, reconnect the hose to the washer and ensure it’s not bent or kinked.
On a side note, you should make sure not to pull the sewer connection accidentally while displacing the machine. Otherwise, you’ll need to change the drain hose altogether.
A Faulty Pressure Switch
Notably, the pressure switch is the communicating link between the drain pump and the main control board. As such, a fault in this connection may cause the F21 error code to flash on your washer.
You can check the pressure switch using a multimeter if it needs to be repaired or replaced. To access this switch, you need to follow three simple steps:
Turn the washer off and unplug it.
Take off the top panel.
Unbolt the three screws on the rear panel and detach the bar.
The small disk that you see at the top right of the washer is the pressure switch. Notably, it is connected to the drain hose through a rubber tube. In case you find that it needs a replacement, know that it can cost around $70.
A Dirty Drain Filter
In some cases, the dirt accumulating in the drain filter might cause a water drainage problem leading to an F21 error. Naturally, you’ll be able to restore the drainage only by cleaning or replacing the filter.
Accessing the filtration system is easy as you’ll only need to detach the panel at the bottom. Follow this by removing the main filter, mesh wiring, and hair catcher and rinsing them under running water. Also, you may have to use a brush to remove any gunk on the filter.
Damaged Cable Loops
If the washer has a damaged cable loop, that is, one with breaks or loose contacts, it might cause a connection problem. This, in turn, will cause a failure of the water pumping action, resulting in an F21 error. Note that you can repair such a loop by twisting it or getting its ends soldered.
However, if no external damage is visible in the loop, it’s best to use a multimeter to examine each wire individually.
Faulty Control Board
Although rare, a defect in the main control board is another probable cause of the F12 error in Whirlpool washers.
In such situations, the machine might not transmit any signal to start a drain cycle. This means the time it takes to drain water is longer than usual and might even trigger a flashing F21 code.
Speaking of the probable source of the problem, it might be a short circuit or a de-soldered wire. Keep in mind that such faulty parts signify that the main control board has been damaged severely.
Thus, you should replace the burned board as soon as possible. On a side note, this will involve an expense of around $200-450. But if the damage isn’t too severe, you should be able to fix it by soldering.
Have you noticed water spilling from the drain tube of the machine even though the water pumping parts are intact? Perhaps, you’re faced with a sewer blockage.
Items such as socks, paper bits, and coins can often cause clogs in these plumbing pipes. In such a situation, the best way out is to detach the nozzle and remove the foreign debris stuck in the pipe. Note that if dust or dirt in the out-flowing water narrows down the adaptor clearance, you should get it replaced.
A Failed Pump Motor
If you find the wires in good condition and the filter and drain hose devoid of any clogs, it’s likely that the pump motor of the machine has failed.
Again, you can utilize a multimeter for ascertaining this issue. Remember that the pump should have a voltage of exactly 120V to run properly — no more and no less. If you get a lower reading, you must replace the pump at the earliest.
Maintaining Whirlpool Washing Machines
To avoid major functional errors, such as the “F21 code on washer”, you’ll need to keep all its parts in proper order. And for that, we recommend cleaning it at least once a month to prevent the build-up of rough detergents or dirt that may block or clog its drainage apparatus.
So, let’s look at some straightforward ways to effectively maintain the basic parts of a Whirlpool washing machine, viz. the tub, the dispenser, and drainage system :
Here’s what you can do to keep the tub in good shape:
Clear anything that might be left in the tub when it’s not in use.
You can put a cleaner tablet under the tub to ease out the debris. Note that you may have to use bleaches in some machines, but make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer carefully.
Next, close the machine door and begin a normal machine cycle as a test wash. Remember that you must not use cold water.
Now, run a secondary drain cycle so that the loader can wash away the cleaners left after the end of this cycle.
Finally, allow the tub to dry by leaving the door open.
Dispenser Drawer And Drainage System
These tips can help you keep the dispenser and drainage functioning efficiently:
- Wash a removable dispenser drawer every 30 days.
- Pull the dispenser out as much as possible and clean the surfaces with a machine wipe.
- Regularly use hot water to break up soil build-ups and detergent blocking the drainage system.
- Ensure that the detergents and soaps are not too strong for the washer.
What Does It Mean When Lights Are Flashing Together On A Whirlpool Washer?
If the lights for the spin, wash and rinse functions flash simultaneously, it indicates a blockage in the drain/waste pipe or filter.
How Does Sensing Work In A Whirlpool Washer, And How Long Do Sensing Spins Take?
Once you press the start button, the machine will first carry out a self-test on the locking mechanism of the lid. Here, you’ll hear a clicking sound, the basket might make a turn, and the lid will unlock for a little while before it locks again.
Notably, sensing spins might take around two to three minutes before the washing action starts, that is, the machine adds water to the load. Then the washer will move the load slightly, pause to let the load soak in water, and fill up with water once again.
Feeling more confident about tackling the F21 error on your washer now? Don’t leave it unattended any longer and fix it immediately.
Once you’re able to zero in on the root cause of the issue, dealing with it will be much easier. That said, if you find a clog or blockage to be too tricky to handle, it’s best to call in a licensed technician or reach out to the company for further advice.
Need professional help when it comes to washer repair? Look for the nearest appliance repair services in your neighborhood.