F21 error code Whirlpool washer

If the Whirlpool washing machine shows the F21 error code, it indicates the water drain issue, which requires attention. Despite working correctly in other modes, the washing machine still cannot complete the cycle, leaving the laundry wet. Why does it happen?

F21 error code Whirlpool washer

F21: Description

The F21 error code signifies that the front-load washer is not draining correctly: drain times are longer than expected. It manifests the problems related to water pumping. Therefore, here is a list of the parts that can lead to the F21error code:

  • filters;
  • hoses;
  • pump;
  • motor;
  • nozzle;
  • sewage.

However, there is a wide array of other factors that cause the F21error code, comprising the faulty pressure switch, damaged or lose contact, broken pump wiring, or the lost connection between the pump and the control board.

Diagnosing the Problem

First, make sure that it is not a software failure and try to reset the error.

  1. Plug the washer into a wall outlet.
  2. Press the PAUSE / CANCEL button twice.
  3. Hold the button for a couple of seconds until the display goes blank.

If the F21 error is still flashing on display, reboot the appliance. Did it help? If not, then it is high time to take drastic actions to solve this problem.

DIY Repair

As said before, the Whirlpool duet washer keeps giving you the F21 error code in case of a faulty drain system, which includes several components. Moreover, you can eliminate the F21 error code by yourself. Of course, it is not as funny as a barrel of monkeys, but it will save you pretty much money since, in most cases, you need to get stuck clothes or remove clogs.

Clogged Drain Hose

Most likely, the drain hose is clogged with all sorts of things like coins, handkerchiefs, scarves, buttons, flash drives, keys, and other items. Also, it can be kinked or bent. Follow these steps to clean the drain hose:

  • disconnect the washer from the mains by pulling the plug from the wall outlet;
  • move it away from the wall and turn it around to access the back;
  • disconnect the hose and inspect it for clogs.

An easy way to check that the drain hose is clear is to blow air or run water through it. If the water does not flow, push the stuck piece of clothes or hook it up with a long-handled hook. When you reconnect the drain hose to the washing machine, straighten it out because bends and kinks in the hose can also cause a drain issue. Bends and kinks are eliminated by straightening with a rigid plastic frame.

But when moving the washer, please, be careful: do not pull the sewer connection. Otherwise, you have to change the entire drain hose (it costs around $19-35). In the end, perform a test run. If the F21 error persists even after you have performed troubleshooting steps with the clogged drain hose, check the filter.

Dirty Filter

Undo the screws on the front bottom panel and remove it to get access to the pump, wiring, and to the mesh hair catcher. Remove and gently brush it, then rinse under running water.

Clogged Pump

The F21 error also appears when the pump itself is clogged, or the clog is in the corrugated tube that leads to the pump. So it would be best if you examined them to find items obstructing the pump mechanism. The pump is located at the bottom of the washing machine, behind the front bar. These are the must-do steps:

  • disconnect the washer from the power source by pulling the plug from the wall outlet;
  • undo the screws holding the bottom panel and remove it;
  • put towels or any low-side container as there will be a good amount of water coming out;
  • unscrew the drain filter;
  • remove foreign objects that impede or restrict the water flow;
  • clean the filter and other parts thoroughly;
  • place all parts back;
  • test the machine.

If your water pump has failed, you need to replace it. A new pump costs $30-157 depending on the store and the model.

Damaged Cable Loop

Make sure it has neither breaks nor loose contacts. If defects are apparent to the naked eye, solder or twist the ends, as well as fit the plug into the groove. Otherwise, a faulty wiring harness will not deliver power to the pump causing the F21 error code since the device is not able to pump water. If the damage cannot be detected visually, use a multimeter to check each wire.

Broken Pump Motor

Is your Whirlpool washer still displaying the F21 error? If you are entirely sure that the filter and the drain hose are not clogged, and the wires are not damaged, then it may indicate the failure of the pump motor. Inspect it with a multimeter: the reading should not exceed or be less than 120V, as the pump needs exactly 120V to run correctly. If the reading is lower, the only remedy to this is to replace the pump. Like other parts of the drainage system, the pump is located at the bottom of the washer, behind the front panel.

Faulty Pressure Switch

The pressure switch maintains communication between the drain pump and the main control board. No prize-winning, its failure provokes the F21 error code. Check the pressure switch with a multimeter to understand whether it needs fixing or replacing. Getting access to the pressure switch is rather easy so that homeowners can do this themselves:

  • turn the washer off;
  • remove the top panel;
  • undo three screws holding the rear panel;
  • remove the bar.

The pressure switch is located at the top right of the washing machine. It looks like a small disk with a rubber tube that runs to the hose. Its average cost is about $70.

Faulty Control Board

The faulty control board of the Whirlpool washer also may cause the F21 error code. The reason is the absence of a signal to start the drain cycle. As a result, the drain times are longer than expected, which leads to the F21 error flashing on display. Short circuits and desoldered wires cause serious damage to the control board. The burned board should be replaced (the price of the original part is $200-450); if not, it should be fixed with soldering.

Sewer Blockage

In case water is pumping out of the machine but then is spilling out of the drain tube, the problem is likely a sewer blockage. Indeed, pile, scraps of paper, small coins, socks, etc. can clog the plumbing pipes into which the washer drains. The solution is to disconnect the nozzle and clean the pipe from debris that prevents the water from flowing out and causes the F21 error code. If the dust and dirt from outcoming water narrow the clearance of the adapter, it should be replaced.

Author: David Hoover